Book Review: One Was A Soldier by Julia Spencer-Fleming

One Was A Soldier
Julia Spencer-Fleming
St. Martin’s Minotaur, April 2011
ISBN 978-0-312-33489-5

Fans of Julia Spencer-Fleming will be delighted with the new entry in her series, One Was A Soldier.  Clare is back from Iraq.  She and Russ are trying to pick up where they left off, not an easy thing to do, all things considered.   There are the conflicts inherent in their respective jobs, which have come between them before.  Clare has some problems with her tour in Iraq, problems she can’t (or won’t) talk to Russ about.  These two sets of problems overlap when Clare knows things about a case that she can’t tell Russ, things she found out about in a confidential setting.

One Was  A Soldier is multi-layered.  There are several sub-plots.  There is more than one romance.  Spencer-Fleming gives an honest representation of the aftermath of war.  She doesn’t make everything work out perfectly; perhaps her outcomes are better overall than in the real world, but she doesn’t skirt the very real problems facing vets and their families.

If this is the first Spencer-Fleming to cross your path, please go back and start at the beginning.  While Spencer-Fleming is quite capable of making sure this book can stand on its own, there are back-stories and relationships that will make so much more sense if you’ve read at least the book before this.  Starting at the beginning is best, in no small part because it’s so much fun to read a writer as she grows.

Reviewed by P.J. Coldren, January 2011.

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