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"A fountain filled with blood" book jacketWhat a startling image: a fountain filled with blood. Spencer-Fleming takes the title of her second novel from a William Cowper hymn that begins: “There is a fountain filled with blood drawn from Emmanuel’s veins;/And sinners plunged beneath that flood lose all their guilty stains.”

This is in keeping with Spencer-Fleming’s theme for her series: novels of faith, murder, and suspense. Quite a combination.

I’m not persuaded to continue reading after this second entry, however. The premise was an interesting one: someone is targeting gay men for vicious attacks. It allows Rev. Clare Ferguson, one of the two main characters, to get all sanctimonious and suspicious. But the plot dragged, and I spotted the murderer before Clare and her pal, Chief Van Alstyne, did: an oversight that allowed them to jump into a helicopter, which crashed (sabotaged by the murderer), which set the stage for a dramatic rescue (of Russ, by Clare) before the helicopter burst into flames.

The scene where Clare ransacks a man’s room to find “evidence” was ridiculous. Could anyone with a past as an Army pilot and a current gig as an Episcopalian priest really be that silly, even after a few drinks? It’s as if she became Miss Marple for a few minutes, then reverted back to her own character (so she could boldly jump out a window, which Miss Marple never would do).

Well, I thought I had a nice series ahead of me, but apparently it’s not meant to be.