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Enquiring Mind

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What a surprise!

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
4 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 03-04-15

This is not my usual kind of book - I am more a horror, crime and sci-fi fan. I bought this because of the length (I had a long train journey coming up) and wanting something easy on the ear. And what a surprise! I got hooked and drawn into the story very quickly, and absorbed in the lives of the characters. I've bought the next two in the series and can't wait to hear them. Only one tiny weeny little thing, the narrator is excellent, but her delivery gets a little high-pitched and nasal when speaking the parts of the "posh folk", but it's not enough to spoil anything or put me off buying the rest of the series.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

A bit disappointed

Overall
3 out of 5 stars
Performance
1 out of 5 stars
Story
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 03-04-15

I have had a couple of the Bryant and May stories on my wish list for some time and finally got around to buying one. Sorry to say, I won't be buying any more while they are narrated by Mr Goodman. For me, the narration was at best mediocre and at worst, downright annoying. The voice for the main characters Bryant and May was the worse part, just so jarring and because of that, intrusive on the story. I found myself listening to the voice instead of listening to the story. I am sad...I thought I would enjoy these stories. I will try to read them in hardback instead.

Beautifully written, beautifully narrated.

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 13-07-14

I loved the first Matthew Corbett novel and wondered if there was any way to match the quality of that stunning book. I was so pleased to find that this is every bit as good. I love the characters, the way the author immerses the reader (listener) into the life of New York in the early 18thC, the twists and turns and red herrings of the plot. The icing on the cake is Edoardo Ballerini. His characterisations are spot-on and he brings Matthew totally to life. I read somewhere that there will be 10 in the Matthew Corbett series. I shall be downloading every one of them.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Mixed Bag

Overall
4 out of 5 stars
Performance
3 out of 5 stars
Story
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 22-04-14

This was a real mixed bag. Where it was good, it was very good. But in the places where it lacked, it was poor. First of all, the ideas are intriguing and some of them original, but the story lacked depth. The thing about fantasy is that the story needs to be strong enough to allow the reader to suspend their roots in the normal world and believe in another world where the points of reference are different. Too much happened in this story where the reader was expected to take unusual magical events for granted without the author having the confidence to provide a structure to make it seem real. There also needed to be more of a back story for some of the central protagonists such as Nightingale and some of the magical characters. The humour was a plus for anyone who knows London well, but might fly over the head of someone not familiar with a Londoner's mindset. But, I carried onto the end because there was enough there to hold my interest and at times, it was a real "page turner". I will give the other books a try if only to see if the author fleshes out his London and his unusual characters. One word about the narration. I don't know if it was the narrator himself or just a bad recording of his voice, but I could hear him loudly drawing in breath in between most sentences as in.....talk, pause, gasp, pause, talk, pause, gasp etc etc. This became really very distracting in the action passages where the story got fast and furious. If it was the narrator rather than a poor recording, then he needs lessons in public speaking to help him discipline his breathing.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

The adventure begins!

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 17-03-14

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.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

Superb storytelling and compelling characters.

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 17-03-14

What a treat this book was, from cover to cover. Ms Emery has story-telling down to a fine art. Ostensibly this is a murder mystery, but it is so much more. Woven around the main who-dunnit is a wonderful cast of interesting characters, Irish history, solid dialogue, just enough mystery to keep you guessing, a TRULY explosive and heart-breaking finale, and incongruous as it may sound, also some good chuckles along the way. These days it seems that mystery or who-dunnit writers are encouraged to push the plot along at break-neck speed, whisking the reader along with barely a moment to catch breath. Ms Emery has both the talent and the confidence as a writer not to have to do this. She takes her time and because her story-telling is so good, she can afford to. The story is so tightly woven that she can comfortably take us on journeys which do not detract from the murder mystery but add something to make a richer reading experience. Do yourselves a favour folks, if you like a good story (not just events strung together to fill pages) then give this series a go. 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.

Another excellent helping of Collins and Burke!

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 17-03-14

Monty and Brennan have their hands full in this one. Brennan sees the dream of his life, his music school, at risk from a gruesome murder and Monty has to struggle against a pile of clues that make (at least at first) no sense. It seems everyone has a secret and something to hide, but no-one seems to have motive enough to kill an old priest. That is until Monty starts digging! The trail of clues takes Monty and Brennan to Italy where Monty gets to see a whole different side to his closest friend. All of the Collins-Burke mysteries centre around a Catholic community, but this one is steeped in it. Now I thoroughly enjoyed that, but those who might not, need to be aware that it is the raison d'être of the plot and it is on every page. But having said that, what a plot it is. This book and Murder at Christie Burke's are the two best Collins-Burke mysteries, more detailed and more meat in the plot. Monty and Brennan are at their best and the seemingly senseless crime has a really sharp ending.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.

Kept me guessing right to the end!

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 17-03-14

This second novel in the Collins-Burke journey deals with the history of Fr Brennan Burke's family, the shadowy Irish Republican past, the hurried flight from the old country to New York, and the past catching up for Brennan's father in a dramatic and almost fatal way. The plot twists are many, the red herrings almost as many, but I never felt lost or that I was being taken on an illogical journey. Anne Emery builds the story of a family with secrets, many of which are still too dangerous to let see the light of day. The real backbone of the story is once again the friendship between Brennan and Monty, though it is strained at times as Monty delves into sensitive family history. As usual with all the Collins-Burke books there is a fair share of humour and I laughed out loud at Leo Killeen's accidental faux pas. Or was it deliberate? As we get to know Leo, that's a distinct possibility! With this second book the reader gets to realise that there is going to be a series of Collins-Burke mysteries, Anne Emery is in no hurry to cram everything between the pages for fear she may start a story she cannot finish. We are being taken on a long journey, some of the threads of which only pick up again in the 6th book, Death at Christie Burke's. There are now 7 books in the series, and each may be read on it's own. Anne Emery is very good at filling in just enough history without rehashing huge chunks from the previous books. But do yourself a favour, to get the best out of the characters, start with the first book Sign of the Cross and work your way through. The books deserve it because they are that good. An author as competent, educated and assured as Anne Emery is hard to find these days. 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.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

The low down and dirty for poor ol' Monty

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 17-03-14

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.

Well worth a listen

Overall
4 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 17-03-14

Having read and enjoyed so much the other Collins-Burke mysteries, I finally bit the bullet and read this one. I put off reading it because somehow I felt the aspect of a child narrating the story would jar me. And I was right, it did. But on the plus side, she does not narrate all of it. The problem for me was that a child supposed to be Normie's age would never use the kind of sentence construction and vocabulary in the narration. For that I made it 4 stars instead of 5. But enough of the downside. The up-side was that it was a good solid story with some nice twists and turns, what I have come to expect from Anne Emery. Also, and as I have come to expect from the author, the occasional funny scenes. I laughed out loud at the one with Fr Burke and the Harley. Just priceless. I wonder if anyone will think of putting these books into a TV series or films. I think they would work very well with the right cast. I don't know if authors ever read their Amazon reviews, but if they do and if you are reading this Anne, I am sitting here very patiently waiting for you to sharpen your pen and give us another tale for Collins and Burke. The icing on the cake for all these Collins-Burke 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.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful