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Sin, Shame & Secrets Audiobook

Sin, Shame & Secrets: A True Story of the Murder of a Nun, the Conviction of a Priest, and the Cover-up in the Catholic Church

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Publisher's Summary

In this unique and compelling true-crime story, journalist and author David Yonke presents and analyzes the only case in US history in which a Roman Catholic priest was arrested for the murder of a nun. Father Gerald Robinson of Toledo, whom friends and associates described as a timid and mild-mannered man, was arrested by cold-case detectives in April, 2004, and charged in the brutal slaying of Sister Margaret Ann Pahl 24 years earlier. The 71-year-old nun had been choked to the edge of death, covered with an altar cloth, and stabbed 31 times in the face, neck, and chest. Her body was found in the sacristy of a Catholic hospital, her habit pulled up to her chest and her undergarments around her ankles. It was Holy Saturday morning, 1980, the day before Easter and the day before the victim's 72nd birthday. Cold-case investigators said the first nine stab wounds, made over the nun's heart, were in the shape of an upside down cross, one of many signs that Sister Margaret Ann was the victim of a ritual killing. "Sin, Shame & Secrets" unveils how cold-case investigators decided to reopen the case in 2003 after a Toledo nun testified that Father Robinson abused her in satanic rituals when she was a child. The nun's testimony before the Toledo Catholic Diocese's Review Board also alleged that a number of children had been killed by the cult. A lengthy police investigation followed, resulting in Robinson's arrest at age 66 on April 23, 2004. After a three-week trial, covered gavel-to-gavel by Court TV (now truTV), the priest was convicted of murder on May 11, 2006, and sentenced to 15 years to life in prison. Yonke, the award-winning former Religion Editor and reporter at The Toledo Blade, reviewed hundreds of police files, interviewed dozens of principles, and covered every minute of the trial to give listeners a thorough and examined look at events as they unfolded, as well as providing background information for the story and the people

©2015 David Yonke (P)2015 David Yonke

What Members Say

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  • Kathy J. Garrett
    Saint Charles, IL
    28/07/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Very disturbing but an excellent read."
    What did you love best about Sin, Shame & Secrets?

    I am a Practicing Catholic and was mortified by the perversions that were being covered up by the Church, but this story was simply horrific I thought. Priests are just men and should be treated like the rest of us when they've committed a crime. Very enlightening, though disturbing. I couldn't put it down. Narrator was very good.


    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Bmac
    14/07/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Comprehensive True Crime"
    Would you consider the audio edition of Sin, Shame & Secrets to be better than the print version?

    I would consider it as such despite never having read the print version simply because the inclusion of a narrator whose vocal style goes right along with the true crime nature increased my interest in the story.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    I didn't really have a favorite character simply because they went through so many and there were so many different problems that arose during the investigation and the second investigation that I got more familiarized with the crime than the characters.


    Which character – as performed by Dave Clark – was your favorite?

    Again as I mentioned in the previous question it wasn't really a portrayal of characters as much as a portrayal of a story in a first 48 story kind of way and if I make the connection to the crime as being similar as being the people then it's the non-character parts I enjoyed the most.


    If you could give Sin, Shame & Secrets a new subtitle, what would it be?

    I wouldn't because the subtitle it currently has does a pretty good job of wrapping everything all up already.


    Any additional comments?

    I received the code for this story for free in exchange for an honest review. I found it an interesting tale of conspiracy and murder, but when I mention the thoroughness of the narrative I started losing steam as it got closer to the end. Of course a real true crime fan would probably enjoy that scholarly nature so it might be more attractive to other people than unattractive to myself personally. Still recommend highly.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Mary
    Centerville, OH, United States
    27/08/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Way too long and tangential"
    Would you try another book from David Yonke and/or Dave Clark?

    David Clark did a fine job with the narration and I would give him another listen.

    I would be reluctant to use my time on another book by David Yonke. There were a lot of good interesting parts in this book, however there was a lot of repetition and loosely associated content.


    What could David Yonke have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

    First off this book should of been two books. One book for the true crime murder and another to address pervert priests and cover ups.


    Which character – as performed by Dave Clark – was your favorite?

    At the end when the prosecutor was giving his jury summery. I said to myself, "At least the prosecutor agrees with my take on the crime."


    You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

    It had a lot of redeeming qualities if it had been more concise and stayed on topic about the actual murder.


    Any additional comments?

    This book had potential to be good and it had a lot of good interesting parts. The problem was that a lot of loosely associated crap was in the book distracting from the story.

    For example the book went on and one about Satanism. Implying that the murder was a Satanistic ritual. I believe the prosecutor's summery that the murder was done in anger by a man who detested a strong outspoken woman was more accurate.

    The author threw in another bogus Satanistic investigation which was in no way connected with this murder case and keep retelling another person's allegations regarding her repressed memories of childhood Satanistic abuse by her priest, parents, grandparents and every one else one could think of from teachers, to handymen and dentists and so forth. These allegations were not proven and highly suspect. However since the alleged victim also named Father Gerald Robinson as being one of her childhood Satanistic abusers, the author keep telling her accusations and story over and over again.

    They book also swayed to other cover ups of sexual abuse by priests, which were not really part of this true crime story.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Frode
    09/07/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Not a Sin, Shame or a Secret"

    Ah, true crime books. Love it or hate it. I do a bit of both, but Sin, Shame & Secrets: A True Story of the Murder of a Nun, the Conviction of a Priest, and the Cover-up in the Catholic Church was a good one. I was surprised a lot about this book. In a possessive way. David Yonke have found a story that not only is compelling in it self, but the way he does it is maybe one of the most interesting ways. He lets the story talk for it self, and lets the story BE the story.

    What i mean about that the story is the story? Well, lets take a book like Helter Skelter: The True Story of the Manson Murders that i like a lot. That tells the story a way that you are far from the story, but this book makes you feel like you are there when it happens. I am not saying i like one way better then the other, but i like how we are in middle of what happens!

    Dave Clark is good, maybe a BIT monotone, but it fits this book in a way. I can almost not blame him, since the book itself is about a murder in the Catholic environment. Dave Clark is just on the tip of being fantastic, and he would be there if he was a bit more engaged in the book, but i am not really complaining. I think he reads in the right pase, and i feel like he likes what he is reading, and that is important when you narrate!

    I was provided this audiobook at no charge by the author, publisher and/or narrator in exchange for an unbiased review via AudiobookBlast dot com

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Trixie
    28/06/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Sin, shame ,secret"
    What was one of the most memorable moments of Sin, Shame & Secrets?



    This audiobook is very fascinatiing and wildly exciting It's thrilling and packed with info about the crime,the Church, the judicial system, the police and journalism.


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Troy J.
    09/08/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Wandering, off topic, unbelievable, manipulative"
    Any additional comments?

    A good portion of the book has nothing to do with the murder but goes on and on about sexual depravity of priests and completely unbelievable stories of "repressed memories" of satanic mass murder and ritualistic sex abuse by family, priests and just about everyone else. The author took advantage of an obviously mentally disturbed woman to go off on a tangent that had nothing to do with the murder.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Misty
    25/06/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Wow, just bad."

    There are just no words to describe how bad this book is. It's all taken from the court and newspaper article however too much emphasis was put on recalled memories of satanic rituals done to a nun as young as two years old. Such claims of recovered memories have been proven false and implanted by psychologists to people who struggle with mental illness. No speculation was provided about the priest innocence nor were other suspects investigated. Overall, extremely disappointing book and barely kept my attention.

    5 of 9 people found this review helpful
  • Mark
    20/07/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Perhaps best in print"
    What did you like best about Sin, Shame & Secrets? What did you like least?

    I received this audiobook free, in exchange for an honest review


    Any additional comments?

    I really thought I would enjoy this audiobook. Sadly it just couldn't hold my attention

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Angela
    01/07/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Catholic Cover-up"
    Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

    As a true crime fan and a Catholic, I'm glad I spent time listening to this book. I can't believe that I did not know about this murder or this trial. For that, it was certainly educational.


    What could David Yonke have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

    Many reviewers commented on the author's one-sided approach--or failure to explore other suspects until the last chapter. I don't see this as a failing since the priest was ultimately convicted. I think that some background about why the priest would have/could have/may have been involved in devil worship would have been welcome. That, perhaps, would have introduced even more unfounded conjecture, though. Surely there is an expert somewhere who would have offered an opinion on the possibility of an epidemic of Satan-seeking clergy.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    The description of the murder at the beginning of the book certainly hooked me into reading the rest. Even with the occasional eye-rolling, I wouldn't have put the book aside. After a beginning like that, I had to read to the very end.


    If this book were a movie would you go see it?

    Absolutely! This story was made for a visual retelling. Maybe a Lifetime Movie Network kind of thing; this wouldn't work well in Hollywood. This is no "Last Temptation of Christ" but the fallout would be similar.


    Any additional comments?

    The inclusion of the nun's claims of ritualized abuse at the hands of Satanist certainly strained my belief. At the very basic level (assuming it was all true), why would anyone become a nun and devote herself to a Church whose leaders began raping her before she was out of diapers? So I think the author should have either provided some sort of corroboration OR included some sort of disclaimer. The author approached this by including some expert opinions on recovered memories, but I still felt there was a failure to commit. If you include it in your book, don't disown it by refusing to make a statement about its veracity.

    The narration was good, unobtrusive, and lacking the over-dramatization that is sometimes present in true crime. I think that, given the nature of the book (so much that is so incredible), it would have been easy for a narrator to give in to the temptation to add a commentary with his tone--a little sarcasm or incredulity. But Dave Clark let the book speak for itself. There were some consistently mispronounced words (diocesan, for example) that almost drove me over the edge, but that's a picky personal thing. Tomato/tomahto.

    In general, this was a good pick, and I would happily have purchased it or used a credit. It's a bonus that it was a gift from the narrator.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • leelee8888
    Las Vegas
    30/06/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Very interesting."

    I thought this story was unique and enjoyed the authors writing style. I was hooked from start to finish. True crime lovers need to read this one.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful

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