A rich man and a poor man are found dead of gunshot wounds outside a seedy bar on Barrington Street. The police declare it a murder-suicide, but bluesman/lawyer Monty Collins suspects it's a double murder. Helped by his friend, Father Brennan Burke, and hindered by his femme fatale law partner, Felicia Morgan, Monty explores the dark side of Halifax society: hookers, drug addicts, boozers, gamblers and people desperate to cover up a series of parties that got way out of hand. A threat of blackmail, and turmoil with his estranged wife Maura, have Monty singing the blues, lashing out at his closest friends, and spending far too much time in the bars of Halifax.
©2008 Anne Emery (P)2012 Audible, Inc.
I ignore genre labels. Some of my favorite books are outside my genre comfort zone. Listening to audiobooks is still reading. Not theater.
Another strong entry into the Collins-Burke series. Like the earlier entries, if you are looking for fast paced police procedural mysteries, this isn't it. Instead you tend to wander through the mystery at a leisurely pace and along the way, meet some very interesting characters. The Halifax location also adds to the experience for me and Emery always takes us on a tour. This entry does have one bombshell in it that throws another monkey wrench into Monty Collins quest to reunite with his estranged wife.
The serious flaw? Emery has managed to create the world's most annoying child character in any book I've ever read. Collins daughter Normie sounds about 2 years old speaking in whiney baby-talk most of the time. She is supposed to be 8 or 9 and very bright, but she sounds like a caricature, not a real child. Emery's other characters sound real to me. Part of the problem lies with Normie's voice as read by Christian Rummel, the otherwise excellent narrator on this series. But the fault lays largely with the author. I cannot figure out why she felt the need to make the world's most annoying child a fairly major character in this series. She doesn't add to the plot. Normie needs to fade to the background quickly. I don't think she does fade though and that could keep me from reading future books in the series.
I read the first in this series and loved it. Loved the characters...could not wait to follow them further. Second book was kind of a let down (attributed it to the subject matter and it getting in the way). Then I downloaded 'Barrington Street Blues,' the third one in the series...and I could not even finish it!!!
The "great characters" that showed up in the first novel do not change...at all! I remember saying in my review of that first novel that I could not wait to see how the characters evolved. Well, they don't. Their petty fights and doubts and conversations (which were endearing in that first novel) get ANNOYING. You find yourself saying: "SERIOUSLY? You are thinking that AGAIN?!!!" or "You are making that mistake in your relationship AGAIN?" or "We are having THAT conversation AGAIN?"
The flaw in character development COULD be overlooked IF the mystery was better...but it's not (granted, I did not finish this book -- maybe the conclusion is brilliant). The clues and leads seem to "drop" into our "A-Team Investigators" (a philandering priest and an attorney who's been making the same exact mistakes in his attempts to reconcile his differences with his ex-wife for three books now) as if by magic....And if you thought the parenthesis in that last sentence got in the way of the "sentence"....well, that's a preview of what happens in this novel (the personality "dramas -- and they ARE dramas -- become an annoying distraction)...I will certainly NOT download another Burke & what's-his-name mystery again. I wish them well.
I'd say it ranks above average, considering this is the third in this series for me in a short time span.
I enjoyed the setting and the fact that the characters were human with both good traits and flaws too--even Father Burke.
He is a wonderful narrator which definitely adds dimention.
I did get wrapped up in the story.
I'd definitely recommend this series by Anne Emery and suggest beginning with "Sign of the Cross" first.
"The low down and dirty for poor ol' Monty"
Monty's world seems to be sliding into skid row in this outing for Collins and Burke, in more ways than one! His latest case takes him to the seedier side of Halifax life and his personal life is going from bad to worse. He even manages to put the friendship he values the most on the line with his descent into a troubled and troubling time in his life, that with Fr Brennan Burke. Two deaths which initially seem like a murder-suicide present Monty with more questions than answers and some circumstances which his nose for the truth just will not let go. When he gets to the bottom of the murky pond, the outcome is one which even he could not have predicted, both personally and professionally. This is the darkest of the Collins-Burke series, but for all that it is still a cracking story. 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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