On a warm September evening in the Millers Kill community center, five veterans sit down in rickety chairs to try to make sense of their experiences in Iraq. What they will find is murder, conspiracy, and the unbreakable ties that bind them to one another and their small Adirondack town.
The Rev. Clare Fergusson wants to forget the things she saw as a combat helicopter pilot and concentrate on her relationship with Chief of Police Russ Van Alstyne. MP Eric McCrea needs to control the explosive anger threatening his job as a police officer. Will Ellis, high school track star, faces the reality of life as a double amputee. Orthopedist Trip Stillman is denying the extent of his traumatic brain injury. And bookkeeper Tally McNabb wrestles with guilt over the in-country affair that may derail her marriage.
But coming home is harder than it looks. One vet will struggle with drugs and alcohol. One will lose his family and friends. One will die.
Since their first meeting, Russ and Clare's bond has been tried, torn, and forged by adversity. But when he rules the veteran's death a suicide, she violently rejects his verdict, drawing the surviving vets into an unorthodox investigation that threatens jobs, relationships, and her own future with Russ.
As the days cool and the nights grow longer, they will uncover a trail of deceit that runs from their tiny town to the upper ranks of the U.S. Army, and from the waters of the Millers Kill to the unforgiving streets of Baghdad.
One Was a Soldier is "a surefire winner" (Booklist) and "Outstanding" (Library Journal)--Julia Spencer-Fleming at her best.
Adjusting to civilian life after a tour in Iraq proves difficult for Rev. Clare Fergusson in Spencer-Fleming's resonant and timely seventh mystery featuring Clare and her not-so-secret lover, police chief Russ Van Alstyne (after 2008's I Shall Not Want). On returning to Millers Kill, N.Y., Clare jumps right back into her duties as priest of St. Alban's Episcopalian Church. But her 18 months flying helicopters in Iraq aren't entirely in the past: she's drinking more and relying on a mix of leftover pills from her Army medical kit. Along with several other returning service members, Clare joins a community support group for veterans. When a member of the group, Tally McNab, apparently shoots herself in the mouth and falls dead into her swimming pool, Clare spearheads an investigation, hounding Russ to consider homicide. Clare and Russ's relationship deepens, while the focus on the struggles of veterans supplies another strong emotional thread. Author tour; 75,000 first printing.
Customer ReviewsSee All
One was a soldier
Books fall on a spectrum with best sellers on one end and literary masterpieces at the other. I'm giving this four stars instead of five only because of the time it takes Julia to bring all the characters into focus. The cast is worthy of a masterpiece, but by any rights it ought to be a best seller.
What a Great Book!
How I enjoyed re-reading this great book in one of my favorite series! I love being taken away to the Miller's Kill world of Reverend Clare Fergusson and Russ Van Alstyne. This book had so much going on. The regular great cast of characters was present and part of a compelling storyline. The veterans in the support group, the mystery with its players, and the important events going on with Clare and Russ all add up to a fantastic story!
Clare Fergusson is back from deployment, but her experiences have taken a heavy toll, which she doesn't want to admit to herself or anyone else. She's not the only veteran in Miller's Kill who has been wounded emotionally or physically. Clare finds herself attending a veteran support group with an interesting cast of soldiers who are having their own issues adjusting back to their normal lives. Soon, Clare is wondering why one of the veterans in her group apparently killed herself, and she finds herself once again involved in an investigation with Russ and the Miller's Kill Police Department, this time over a large financial scandal. Meanwhile, she and Russ are figuring out what they want for their future.
This was a wonderful book! I love Clare and Russ, and this one has some great moments between them. There were some sad parts revolving around some of the other characters. The ending of this one is quite thrilling!
The plot revolves around Iraq veterans who return to their small town in upstate New York. Russ, the local chief of police, greets the returning chopper pilot, Clare. Clare is a minister. Clare and Russ solve the mystery with the help of the other vets in her support group and Russ's officers. Each vet in the support group had different experiences and painful memories to cope with. Their contributions to the plot made the book a good read.