Wednesday, 30 June 2010

Book Review: I Shall Not Want

I shall not want I Shall Not Want by Julia Spencer-Fleming

Category: Crime Fiction

Synopsis: When a Mexican farmhand at Chief of Police Russ Van Alstyne’s sisters dairy farm finds a dead Latino man in the woods surrounding the farm, Russ and Clare get dragged into solving the murder. All whilst dealing with the fallout from events in All Mortal Flesh.

My Thoughts: The only reason this book took me three days to read was because I had to work full time. Otherwise I would have read the book in one go. As a matter of fact the largest chunk got read the day I worked the evening shift and I spent the morning laying in the garden reading. I really loved this book!

This book was the perfect balance between mystery, social issues and relationship. This is the best book in a very good series.

This books primary social issue is the treatment of illegal immigrants. Spencer-Fleming manages to take a difficult political and social issue and make it easily understandable, both from the point of view of those who bring in the illegal immigrants and those illegal immigrants themselves. The one view point in the discussion that perhaps gets a bit short changed is that of those who have a problem with illegal immigration, but considering the treatment of social issues in previous books this is perhaps not so strange. She has a definite liberal slant to her writing, something I agree with so not a problem for me, but it might be for others.

Through the migrant labour storyline, Spencer-Fleming is also able to show how we often only see what we want to see and not what is actually going on. Clare, although she had lived in Millers Kill for over two years at the point when the story starts, had not realised that there was such a large population of migrant workers. I love how the characters in the books are able to admit to their faults, that they had not seen the problem. Often, I find, people are supremely unwilling to admit to this.

The book also deals with moving on after a tragedy and how we sometimes hurt the people we love, simply through actions we don’t realise. The relationship between Clare and Russ has definitely taken a turn for the worse when the book starts, and throughout the book they have to deal with the actions they took in the previous book (don’t want to say to much so not to spoil that book). But I think that it was dealt with beautifully and definitely real. Their feelings are raw and (to my mind) accurate. It is one of the definite strengths of the book.

I also really liked how a new character was both introduced and portrayed. Hadley Knox is the newest recruit to MKPD and she is a single mom. She never wanted to be a police officer but circumstances force her to take the job. As I have mentioned in previous reviews in this series I really like how life in a small rural town is portrayed. It isn’t a white picket fence, Our Town life. It is difficult, and sometimes you have to take jobs you might not have dreamed off. And sometimes those jobs are hard and it is frustrating. But often, as is the case in I Shall Not Want, those you work with rally around you and help out, because you have to lean on each other, and sometimes, taking that help is hard.

Despite the many heavy subjects covered in the book it also manages to be laugh out loud funny at some points. There is a paricularly dry line I found hilarious:

Sister Lucia’s eyes lit up. ‘Ah. You have bishop troubles.’

I’m sure the bishop would say he has Clare Fergusson troubles’”  (25).

This is just one of many funny exchanges, especially between Clare and Sister Lucia, who is not an ordinary nun :D.

I cannot wait for the next book in the series which is, according to information I’ve been able to glean due on April 11th, 2011, but which I have heard through the grapevine might be out sooner than that. YAY!

Purchase I Shall Not Want from

Previous books in the Series:

In The Bleak Midwinter

A Fountain Filled With Blood

Out of the Deep I Cry

To Darkness and To Death

All Mortal Flesh



Copyright ©2010 Zee from Notes from the North. This post was originally posted by Zee from Notes from the North. It should not be reproduced without express written permission.


Greg Zimmerman said...

Sounds like a very timely book - great review! How many books are part of this series prior to this one? I'm always up for a new, good crime fiction series!

Zee said...

This is book six in the series and I can't recommend it more highly.