The complex third installment of Spencer-Fleming's series featuring ex-Army helicopter pilot Reverend Clare Fergusson and Millers' Kill police chief Russ Van Alstyne further showcases the author's deft hand at balancing emotion and intrigue.

When the town clinic's sole doctor disappears amid threats from a desperate mother and decreased funding for his clinic, Clare and Russ investigate. The case leads in unexpected directions. Suddenly a cold case from 50 years ago is unexpectedly hot again—as is the delicate but intense attraction between Clare and the married Russ.

Spencer-Fleming skillfully blends several plotlines, sensitively portraying how even small-town clinics can come under fire from activists (though the topic here is vaccines, not abortions, thankfully), delving into the harsh realities of the Prohibition era and exploring the forbidden passion between her leads. When it comes to amateur sleuth series, this is one of the best. (Apr., 304 pp., $24.95)
Reviewed by: 
Tara Gelsomino