Sign of the Cross: A Collins-Burke Mystery, Book 1 : Collins-Burke

  • by Anne Emery
  • Narrated by Christian Rummel
  • Series: Collins-Burke
  • 11 hrs and 58 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

Monty Collins is a sharp-tongued public defender who just wants to represent an upstanding character for a change. A priest with something to hide isn't quite what he had hoped for, but when the literate, arrogant, and tight-lipped Father Brennan Burke is implicated in the strange murder of a young woman, Monty doesn't just take the case - the case takes him. When Burke won't come clean, Monty is forced to play private detective, traveling into his client's past.
Things look good for the case until another body is found, marked with the same telltale sign as the first. Burke keeps mum, alternate suspects are ruled out, and the trial looks like it might be lost before deliberation. As if it couldn't get any worse, Monty's wisecracking ex-wife enters the picture, and she seems to know more about Burke than Monty does. Evidence and coincidence pile up, leading to a revelation neither Monty nor the listener see coming.

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What the Critics Say

"Halifax writer Emery will keep your already hot blood boiling thanks to this compelling legal drama." (Hour)
"A smart, elegantly written courtroom drama that will, I hope, be the first of many." (Calgary Herald)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Hybrid Mystery

First, what this is not: The title does not signal any kind of Dan Brown clone--no holy grail stuff. Also, when this novel was written (and where) a priest involved in scandal did not immediately mean a sex abuse story line - so don't pass on this for that reason. Also, this is not a faith-based novel; the series (though not this instalment) draws a little on the tradition of priest sleuth, but no affection for Catholic faith is necessary to like the priest character. Neither is this edge-of-seat stuff: There is no graphic violence and no explicit sex - any violence or sex necessary for the plot are obliquely described.

This is a combination mystery-legal-detective procedural with elements of a traditional village cozy transplanted to an identifiable Canadian city, Halifax. The novel starts slowly but picks up after first quarter. It is somewhat predictable - but the mystery is secondary to character and setting (and establishment of story lines feeding the series).

The narration is good but does not have good regional infections; however, generalized accents are much better than bad regional ones. Two quibbles with the narration: There are more priests with thick Irish brogues in the novel than in Halifax itself. And I hope the narrator gets a dictionary for some common theology terms mispronounced-- Other vocal feats seem very well done.

I'll never get to Edinburgh with Rebus or Baltimore with Tess Monaghan, so I was glad to download this while in Halifax. The cityscape isn't as strong as in the classic detective/ city combinations, but adds interest. The Canadian legal context is laid out to be easily comprehensible to a non Canadian.

I'll definitely be listening to the entire series.
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- connie

WOW! Quite a surprise!

I fell upon Anne Emery when searching for a good audible book. I read her latest and enjoyed it so much I started back to Book 1. I enjoyed this book even more. Apart from being enthralled by the intricacies of this modern 'whodunit' I was quite fascinated by the development of the relationship between Father Burke and Monty Collins.
This is a solid mystery situated in Halifax, NS and it relies heavily on the Nova Scotian culture. Emery creates and develops strong secondary characters which makes the book that more interesting. Christian Rummel is excellent as he portrays all the people - men, women, Irish, American, Canadian as well as young boys and girls.
Certainly worth the credit.
Now on to the next Emery book is the series.
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- Dave

Book Details

  • Release Date: 06-01-2012
  • Publisher: Audible Studios