Book Review: SAINT’S GATE by Carla Neggers



Series: Sharpe & Donovan, #1
Publisher: Mira
Released: August 23, 2011
Source: Borrowed from the library

When Emma Sharpe is summoned to a convent on the Maine coast, it’s partly for her art crimes work with the FBI, partly because of her past with the religious order. At issue is a mysterious painting depicting scenes of Irish lore and Viking legends, and her family’s connection to the work. But when the nun who contacted her is murdered, it seems legend is becoming deadly reality.

Colin Donovan is one of the FBI’s most valuable assets—a deep-cover agent who prefers to go it alone. He’s back home in Maine after wrapping up his latest mission, but his friend Father Bracken presents him with an intrigue of murder, international art heists and a convent’s long-held secrets that is too tempting to resist. As the danger spirals ever closer, Colin is certain of only one thing— – the very intriguing Emma Sharp is at the center of it all.

A ruthless killer has Emma and Colin in the crosshairs, plunging them into a race against time and drawing them deeper into a twisted legacy of betrayal and deceit.


I’ve wanted to read a book by Carla Neggers for a long time, and the setting of SAINT’S GATE drew me in. Most of the story takes place in and around Heron’s Cove located in southern Maine, and specifically the crime occurs in a secluded-ish convent overlooking the sea. The author’s descriptions of this area were rich and detailed, which an armchair traveler like me appreciates.

I enjoyed the information the author presented on modern-day convent life, Catholic saints and their presence in art throughout history, and the Vikings’ influence in early Ireland. It was a very interesting lesson, and it’s clear this book was well-researched.

On the downside, as a romantic suspense novel, I didn’t think the story was that suspenseful or romantic. The mystery itself was good. I enjoyed putting all the pieces together to figure out the killer, but the plot wasn’t all that gripping. While I liked Emma’s character, I didn’t care for the hero at all. For most of the book, Colin was a wooden character who lacked emotion, and was kind of rude to Emma after he found out her connection with the convent. Grow up, Colin! I just didn’t understand his reaction. I’m hoping that he grows as a character and their relationship develops more in the next book.

Rating: 3 Stars