This series had gotten excellent reviews, so i stuck with this book, but it was very heavy slogging, and ultimately, quite disappointing. The plot is ordinary, nothing in the way of surprises. Many characters are so broadly painted as to approach caricatures. What is most annoying, however, is that this is one of those mysteries where a central character repeatedly behaves with unbelievable recklessness and stupidity; this is how the author drives the plot, by getting her priest character into outrageously silly situations, all of which would be resolved by simple phone calls. There is also an apparent massive ignoring of or ignorance of basic police procedure.
As far as the reading goes, the reader consistently overacts, not understanding that the best book narrators under-do rather than over-do. Every character, every line reading, gets pushed, so that listening becomes exhausting. The reader confuses the most acting with the best acting.
I enjoyed the book -- good whodunit. But hated the narrator -- really want to listen to the remaining books in the series, but noticed they all have the same narrator, so will pass and read instead.
All Julia Spencer-Fleming's books follow the same format. The Reverend gets involved in a situation, goes out on her own to answer questions, gets into trouble and is rescued by the sherriff. However, they are all good reads in that she develops her characters well and the inner turmoil of Claire Ferguson is believeable. The novel moves right along. I really enjoy this author.
I enjoy Suzanne Toren as a general narrator and think she does a good job of female voices, however, her rendition of male voices is harsh and jarring to the ear. I'm having a hard time finishing the book for this reason.