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Extended Audio Sample One Was a Soldier Audiobook, by Julia Spencer-Fleming Click for printable size audiobook cover
4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 4.00 (1,786 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Julia Spencer-Fleming Narrator: Suzanne Toren Publisher: Blackstone Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Related: The Clare Fergusson / Russ Van Alstyne Mysteries Release Date: April 2011 ISBN: 9781482980479
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At the Millers Kill community center, five veterans gather to work on adjusting to life after war. Reverend Clare Fergusson has returned from Iraq with a head full of bad memories she’s using alcohol to wipe out. And down-on-her-luck Tally McNabb has brought home a secret—a fatal one. Police Chief Russ Van Alstyne just wants Clare to settle down and get married—to him. But when he rules Tally McNabb’s death a suicide, Clare sides with the other vets against him. Russ and Clare’s unorthodox investigation will uncover a trail of deceit that runs from their tiny Adirondack town to the upper ranks of the Army, and from the waters of the Millers Kill to the unforgiving streets of Baghdad.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Julia Spencer-Fleming is a rarity in this business, a risk-taker and a writer of deep feeling. Few others could deliver a high-concept thriller that so perfectly captures the subtle sufferings of soldiers home from combat. A story of greed, betrayal, and wounded love, One Was a Soldier left me entertained, satisfied, and a shade wiser about the cost of war.”

    John Hart, New York Times bestselling author

  • “An absolute tour de force! Both a superb murder mystery and a gripping examination of the suffering of returning soldiers.”

    Louise Penny, New York Times bestselling author

  • “Spencer-Fleming knows her craft…But it’s character that really counts here, and nothing becomes Clare’s character more than her deepening sensitivity to the suffering of her fellow soldiers.”

    New York Times

  • “This is a surefire winner…Spencer-Fleming’s fans who have been waiting eagerly for her latest won’t be disappointed; this series, as intelligent as it is enthralling, just keeps getting better.”

    Booklist (starred review)

  • “Suzanne Toren performs with her usual great strengths…Her passion and pacing are marvelous.”

    AudioFile

  • “In the hands of a lesser writer, this novel would not fly, but Spencer-Fleming carries it off and concludes with a believable resolution.”

    Library Journal

  • “Explor[es] the inescapable legacies of soldiers come home, including a crushing burden of imagined, and unimaginable, guilt.”

    Kirkus Reviews

  • A 2012 Anthony Award Nominee for Best Novel
  • A New York Times Bestseller

Listener Opinions

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Nancy Mitchell | 2/19/2014

    " Great! I can hardly wait for the next happening in their lives, "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Kim | 2/18/2014

    " really good entry into this series, and shows Clare finally facing some issues. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Tammy | 2/8/2014

    " Gave it 4 stars because I wasn't entirely happy with the ending -- the whole story Clare is dealing with the aftermath of her tour of duty and then it's completely wrapped up in about 3 pages at the end. It felt rushed and while the resolution was within what I would expect from the characters, it just seemed like there should have been a lot 'more' to it. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Snap | 2/1/2014

    " This is the seventh book in the Clare Fergusson/Russ Van Alstyne mystery series by Julia Spencer-Fleming and if you haven't read any of the others in the series, this is probably not the place to start. Some knowledge about the characters is needed to really enjoy the book. Clare is back from her tour of duty in Afghanistan and along with several others, joins a group for returning veterans. It is a wonderful, fascinating, heart breaking look at what our veterans go through in Iraq/Afghanistan and upon their return home. Clare and Russ continue their relationship (thank goodness -- don't think I could have handled a breakup again!. There is a suicide (or is it murder), deceit -- that have Clare and Russ at times at odds, but they are their best when they work together. It was nice to *see* all the characters again. So, what's going to happen in #8????!!!! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Susana Galvez | 1/30/2014

    " This book was most definitely worth the wait. I absolutely loved it but that's not really surprising since i've loved all the other books in the series. Millers Kill feels like home and i was so happy to "run into" so many people that i've gotten to know so well through the years. I loved how the book deals with real life issues and how it gives us such a clear picture of what it's like for soldiers coming home after having served in war and what they have to go through with their families and friends. I feel as if i know all of them so well now; sometimes i'm able to tell what a character is going to say before they say it. Like the other books in the series, it had extremely sad, extremely funny and extremely happy moments. It's suspenful and funny and so much more. It also definitely felt too short! I wanted to just keep turning pages so i could find out what would happen next. Another thing i loved is that Russ and Clare's relationship is as strong as it's always been. A year and a half of being separated didn't change that and that made me happy. They do have their struggles, which just make them stronger. I am so excited and impatient for the next book to be released; all these characters seem like they're my own friends and family and of course i just want them all to be ok. I'm not only looking forward to see how Russ and Clare's life moves forward but i'm also dying to know what's going to happen next with Hadley, Kevin, Eric, Will, and so many others. I very strongly recommend not only this book, but the whole series. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Moakaday | 1/29/2014

    " I love this series. It's mystery and a little bit of hard-won romance. I've read them all. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Curryanne | 1/23/2014

    " Super book. I just love this series "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Holly | 1/14/2014

    " good stpry. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Julia Denholm | 1/8/2014

    " My favourite so far in this series. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jackie | 12/30/2013

    " This book was well worth the wait...which I did anxiously for a long time. And to think I thought that this would be the last in the series. Not with that ending! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Nina | 8/21/2013

    " Love this series! This one was just as good as the rest. Can't wait for the next one. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Donnajo | 8/19/2013

    " NL's book group read. another russ/claire book. Can't wait for the next one to come out. all caught up at this time. yeah. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Alice Shands | 8/18/2013

    " This was actually the best one in the series...Clare back from a tour of duty in Iraq, Russ over the initial grief of being a widower, and more mysteries to solve. Good writing, good character development, good plot for light reading. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Annie Haynes | 8/14/2013

    " Maybe the best of the series so far! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jenne | 7/15/2013

    " Ouch, these poor people. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Joanne | 4/26/2013

    " Love this series! Characters keep developing and each book deals with a current social issue. This one involved PTSD with several of the characters. Would give it a 3.5. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 MaryAnn | 2/19/2013

    " Another fun read in this series--plenty of religious, philosophical and mysterious events, all wrapped up in another neat package. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Scott | 11/9/2012

    " Best in the series. This one's got soul. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Nancy Peacock-boutell | 4/3/2012

    " This lady just gets better and betters. I couldn't put this one down. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 John Davenport | 1/6/2012

    " A hard look at the problems facing our service men and women who come back from war zones. This important topic combined with a superb mystery and the ever deepening relationship between Russ and Clare. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Marylyn Bowman | 1/3/2012

    " Painful to read of the anguish of war. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Cupoftea | 7/28/2011

    " Julia Spencer Fleming's One Was a Soldier was good. Having read all the others I still can't wait for the next. It is of course a mystery. BUT it looks into the lives and difficulties of returning vets. I won't reveal the end, it was just so hopeful and great "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Mathilde | 5/27/2011

    " This is book #7 in the Clare Fergusson/Russ Van Alstyne series. It was long-awaited on my part and it was wonderful, just like the other books in this series. Both Clare and Russ are complicated, good, and flawed characters and the mysteries are believable and well-written. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Curryanne | 5/17/2011

    " Super book. I just love this series "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 rinabeana | 5/14/2011

    " JSF is evil for creating such compelling characters (but I love her for it). One Was a Soldier was definitely worth waiting for, but I can't even conceive of waiting 2 years for the next book. More Clare! More Russ! I'm a Fergusson/Van Alstyne addict, and I don't care who knows it! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Frances | 5/11/2011

    " I've enjoyed all the books in this series, and would recommend it to readers who enjoy mystery. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Monica | 5/10/2011

    " you know who gets hitched "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Kay | 5/9/2011

    " This is book 5 of a series I thought would be best ended with the huge drama of book 3. Book 4 was terrible, but the series must be read in the order written to keep up with the characters. This was a dynamic read and like all the others ends with a cliff-hanger. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Mary | 5/9/2011

    " I have enjoyed the whole series and they just keep getting better! The theme is a timely topic and focuses on members of a therapy group of returned service people. Can't wait for the next one. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Klacey | 5/3/2011

    " I may have found a new series to get addicted to.Really like the characters of Russ and Claire. This is the last one in the series so far so may have to go back and start reading from the begining "

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About the Author
Author Julia Spencer-Fleming

Julia Spencer-Fleming is an Agatha, Anthony, Barry, Dilys, Gumshoe, and Macavity award winner. She studied acting and history at Ithaca College and received her JD at the University of Maine School of Law. Her books have been short-listed for the Edgar and Romantic Times Reviewers’ Choice awards. She lives in a 190-year-old farmhouse in Buxton, Maine, with her husband and three children.

About the Narrator

Suzanne Toren has recorded over nine hundred audiobooks. She has performed on Broadway and in regional theaters in works penned by Shakespeare, Molière, and Arthur Miller. She has also appeared on Law & Order and in various soap operas. She was awarded the Narrator of the Year Award for her audiobook recordings for the Library of Congress and has earned more than two dozen Earphones Awards from AudioFile magazine.