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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.
©2006 Anne Emery (P)2012 Audible, Inc.
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Critic Reviews

"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

By connie on 07-31-12

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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36 of 37 people found this review helpful


By Dave on 01-08-14

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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10 of 10 people found this review helpful

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Customer Reviews

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By susanna on 04-08-13

A very current issue

This was my first Emery mystery. I'm a vicar and I enjoy books set in the church. This did not disappoint. I love the detective and grew to appreciate the priest. The characters were engaging and well developed through the story. The plot focused on the current church controversy over paedophilia and the issues around celibacy and was handled very well by the author, I thought. The ending was held in suspense to the end which kept me wanting to stop everything to listen awhile longer than I had! Christian Rummel is an excellent narrator.....clear and engaging. I'm looking forward to listening to the rest of the series.

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6 of 6 people found this review helpful


By Enquiring Mind on 03-17-14

The adventure begins!

This series of books (7 of them as I write this review) are just good old-fashioned, well-written entertainment. Monty is a well-rounded and thought-out character who has depth and humour. Brennan is just about the most honest description of a Catholic priest I have read in fiction books. Human, flawed, honest, funny, deep and caring, Brennan is the counter-point to Monty's questing mind which longs to see justice done, no matter how long it takes him. If you like a good yarn with good characters and a decent plot, give these books a go. One thing I would say is that all of the books centre around a Catholic community whether it is in Canada, Ireland or Italy, so be aware of that going in. It is best to start off with this book as the first in the series. Although Anne Emery does an excellent job of making sure she gives enough information for those readers who have not read the series in order, it is more satisfying especially in regard to the relationship between Monty and Brennan, to start at the beginning. The icing on the cake for all these books is the narration by Christian Rummel. He does a superb job. It's no wonder there are literally dozens of books out there narrated by him, he is awesome.

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3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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