Saint's Gate (Sharpe & Donovan Series #1)

Saint's Gate (Sharpe & Donovan Series #1)

by Carla Neggers

Paperback(Mass Market Paperback - Original)

$7.99 View All Available Formats & Editions
Use Standard Shipping. For guaranteed delivery by December 24, use Express or Expedited Shipping.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780778313687
Publisher: MIRA Books
Publication date: 07/31/2012
Series: Sharpe & Donovan Series , #1
Edition description: Original
Pages: 368
Sales rank: 148,459
Product dimensions: 4.30(w) x 6.46(h) x 0.98(d)

About the Author

Carla Neggers is the New York Times bestselling author of the Sharpe and Donovan series featuring Boston-based FBI agents Emma Sharpe and Colin Donovan and the Swift River Valley series set in small-town New England. With many bestsellers to her credit, Carla and her husband divide their time between their hilltop home in Vermont, their kids' places in Boston and various inns, hotels and hideaways on their travels, frequently to Ireland. Learn more at CarlaNeggers.com.

Read an Excerpt

Emma Sharpe steeled herself against the sights and sounds of her past and kept up with the nervous woman rushing ahead of her in the dense southern Maine fog. They came to a tall iron fence, a folk-art granite statue of Saint Francis of Assisi glistening with drizzle among purple coneflowers and cheerful golden daylilies by the gate.

The little bird perched on Saint Francis's shoulder still had a couple of missing tail feathers.

Sister Joan Mary Fabriani stopped at the gate. On the other side was the "tower," the private work space where the Sisters of the Joyful Heart performed their restoration and conservation work. In violation of convent protocol, Sister Joan had escorted Emma onto the convent grounds without having her first stop at the motherhouse to register as a visitor.

And a visitor she was, in boot-cut jeans, a brown leather jacket, Frye boots and a Smith & Wesson 442 strapped to her left calf.

"The gate's locked," Sister Joan said, turning to Emma. "I have to get the key."

"I'll go with you."

"No. Wait here, please." The older woman, who'd spent the past thirty years as a member of her order, frowned slightly at the gate, which crossed the meandering stone walk two hundred yards from the main gate at the convent's entrance. "I thought I left it unlocked. It doesn't matter. I'll only be a few minutes."

"You're preoccupied, Sister," Emma said. "I should go with you."

"The shortest route to the tower is through an area restricted to members of our community here."

"The meditation garden. I remember."

"Yes. Of course you do."

"No one will be there at this hour. The sisters are busy with their daily work."

"I'm in no danger, Emma." Sister Joan smiled, her doe-brown eyes and wide, round face helping to soften her sometimes too-frank demeanor. "It's all right if I call you Emma, isn't it? Or should I call you Agent Sharpe?"

Emma noted an almost imperceptible bite in Sister Joan's voice. "Emma's fine."

With a broad hand, Sister Joan brushed a mosquito off the wide, stretchy black headband holding back her graying dark hair. Instead of the traditional nun's habit, the Sisters of the Joyful Heart wore plain clothes; in Sister Joan's case a dark gray hand-knitted sweater and calf-length skirt, black tights and sturdy black leather walking shoes. The simple silver profession cross hanging from her neck and the gold band on her left ring finger were the only external indications that she was a Roman Catholic nun.

She looked pained. "I've already broken enough rules by having you here without telling anyone."

Sister Joan hadn't given any details when she'd called Emma in Boston early that morning and asked her to make the two-hour drive north to the convent, located on a small peninsula on a beautiful, quiet stretch of rock-bound Maine coast.

"At least give me an idea of what you want to talk to me about," Emma said.

Sister Joan hesitated. "I'd like to get your opinion on a painting."

As if there could be any other reason. "Do you suspect it's stolen?"

"Let me get the key and show you. It'll be easier than trying to explain." Sister Joan stepped off the walk onto the lush, wet grass, still very green late in the season, and looked back at Emma. "I want to thank you for not bringing a weapon onto the grounds."

Emma made no comment about the .38 tucked under the hem of her jeans. She'd left her nine-millimeter Sig Sauer locked in its case in her car outside the convent's main gate but had never considered going completely unarmed.

Without waiting for a response, Sister Joan followed the fence into a half dozen mature evergreens. The evergreens would open into a beautiful garden Mother Superior Sarah Jane Linden, the foundress of the Sisters of the Joyful Heart, had started herself more than sixty years ago in a clearing on a rocky ledge above a horseshoe-shaped cove. The sisters had added to it over the years— Emma herself had planted a pear tree—but the design remained essentially the one Mother Linden, who'd died almost twenty years ago, had envisioned.

As she lost sight of Sister Joan in the fog and trees, Emma stayed close to the tall gate. Even the breeze drifting through the evergreens and the taste of the salt in the damp air called up the longings of the woman she'd been—the possibilities of the woman she'd never become.

She pushed them aside and concentrated on the present. The morning fog, rain and wind would have attracted passing boats into the protected cove, one of the well-known "hurricane holes" on the Maine coast.

Watching guys on the boats when she was supposed to be in deep reflection and contemplation had been an early clue she wasn't cut out to be a nun.

Sister Joan, honest and straightforward to a fault, had always known. "You're an art detective, Emma. You're a Sharpe. Be who you are."

Emma touched a fingertip to a raindrop on Saint Francis's shoulder. The statue was the work of Mother Linden, an accomplished artist who'd have considered the absent tail feathers part of its charm as it aged.

The Sisters of the Joyful Heart was a tiny religious order, independently funded and self-sufficient. The twenty or so sisters grew their own fruits and vegetables and baked their own bread, but they also ran a shop and studio in the nearby village of Heron's Cove—Emma's hometown—and were skilled in art restoration, conservation and education. During the summer and early fall, the convent held retreats for art educators and conservators, as well as people who just wanted to learn how to protect family treasures. Various sisters were dispatched to Catholic schools throughout the region as art teachers. Hope, joy and love were central to their work and to their identity as women and religious sisters.

All well and good, Emma thought, but hope, joy and love hadn't prompted Sister Joan's call early that morning. Fear had.

"It's a personal favor," she had told Emma. "It's not FBI business. Please come alone."

Emma felt the cold mist gather on her hair, which she wore long now, and sighed at Saint Francis, the beloved early-thirteenth-century friar who had given up his wealth to follow a life of poverty. "What do you think, my friend?" She peered through the gate and made out a corner of the stone tower in the gray. "I know."

Sister Joan was afraid, and she was in trouble.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See All Customer Reviews

Saint's Gate 3.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 65 reviews.
LMGardiner More than 1 year ago
A wonderful thrill ride of a story for mystery readers looking for adventure between the covers of a good book. The plot will keep you guessing and you'll fall in love with Emma and Colin and fear for them while they unravel this intricate mystery. I particularly enjoyed Emma's past and its connection with the mystery. WELL DONE!
LASR_Reviews More than 1 year ago
While "Trust your faith. Let it guide you to act with strength, courage, and compassion" is good advice; it is not always easy to follow with a killer invades one's life, whether one is a nun, an FBI agent, or a priest. Emma Sharpe is an FBI agent and highly valued for her expertise in the field of art crime. For three years she'd been a part of the Sisters of the Joyful Heart convent, but left before taking final vows. The international, multimillion dollar art crime operations are often linked with gun trafficking, drug trafficking, money laundering, kidnapping, fraud, extortion, and even terrorism. Emma is analytical and brings a unique perception to her work. While she can shoot straight and fight when needed, she is by nature thoughtful, reflective, contemplative, and prayerful. She needs her space at times to function at her best. When her friend Sister Joan asks for help on a matter at the convent, Emma goes and finds herself entangled in murder and theft. Events that happened long ago that may involve Emma's family as well as the convent and artists, long-dead, may be the cause of the upheaval at the convent. Colin Donovan, trying to recharge after a long undercover assignment as a FBI ghost agent, is a "Lone Ranger" type who likes his space. But, at the request of his friend, Father Finian Bracken, Colin gets involved with the convent case. It is on his "old stomping ground", just a short distance from his hometown. From his marine patrol days along the Maine coast, he is well acquainted with Heron's Cove and the convent. He and Emma square off at each other for a short time, but soon work together with a little encouragement from Emma's boss Matt Yankowski, who goes a long way back with Colin. The tangle of events from Dublin, Ireland to Maine keeps the adrenaline pumping. The many secondary characters and sub-plots help keep tensions high and emotions on full alert. Emma's grandfather and brother become a part of the tangled web as do the nuns. The flighty young artist Ainsley deAuberville, her deceased father, and her fiancé Gabe Campbell add to the tangled web with their connection to Emma's family and the convent. Carla Neggers' skill in foreshadowing and subtle clue-giving make suspense crackle like distant lightning that announces danger. Her characters come alive with their hang-ups, fears, past histories, and present needs. Father Finian Bracken is a character that intrigues with his connections and wealth in Ireland. The wide variety of characters make Saint's Gate throb with life, mystery, and suspense with humor wrinkled in that makes one smile. Ms. Neggers weaves bits of Viking lore, religious history, and art crimes into the immediate story of Emma and Colin as they ferret out a murderer and thief from the many possible suspects while they make a life-changing love connection that sizzles. The happy-ever-after is tenuous-not the usual and more a "happy for now", but who knows what the future holds? Saint's Gate is one for the bookshelf to be enjoyed again. Originally posted at the Long and Short of It Romance Reviews
RtBBlog More than 1 year ago
Review by Shyla: It's been a long time since I enjoyed a mystery novel as much as I did Saint's Gate. Chocked full of well fleshed out characters, action and an interesting plot, this tale had me intrigued from the very first page. Ms Neggers did a bang up job of creating a setting that took on a life of its own. I was immersed in the small Maine town, its inhabitants and their secrets. Her usage of art and religion was a refreshing choice! The two interlaced, and mingled to create a unique journey I thoroughly enjoyed. The heroine Emma is a smart, intelligent, and independent FBI agent with a surprising past. She was once on a path to become a nun. Her connection to Sisters of the Joyful heart is what brings her back to the convent via Sister Joan who suspects something strange is afoot. When Sister Joan is murdered right under her nose many things are brought into question; including Emma's loyalty to her job. Our hero Colin is in town for rest, and relaxation. But as we know, there's no rest for the wicked. With his rugged good looks, love for the outdoor, and mysterious career Colin is an irresistible package, that's dangerous to the heart. When he's placed on to the case and asked to look after Emma they both discover an attraction that refused to be denied. Not used to letting anyone in, they struggle to fight the bond forming as they chase down leads. I'd recommend this to anyone who loves a good, thriller, or mystery. But if you're looking for heat this one may not be the one for you. The attraction between Emma and Colin is obvious, but the sexual encounters are closed door.
songbirdsue More than 1 year ago
I really enjoyed this mystery romance. It has a great mystery that develops as the story progresses and delivers until the end. The characters were well developed and realistic. The romance is not overdone and progresses gradually and naturally throughout the story. It was a great read.
jef71 More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed the book. It was will written. You did not know what was going to happen next.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is my first Carla Nager's novel, and I like it. The main characters are multifaceted, and even the supporting ones are well-rounded. I like the mystery. I like the location. I like the people. Looking forward to #2.
harstan More than 1 year ago
At the Sisters of the Joyful Heart, Sister Joan Mary Fabriani asks FBI special agent Emma Sharpe to visit her. An art expert and former novice at the monastery, Emma agrees to see her art conservationist mentor. The Fed drops what she was doing in Jersey and heads to Maine to learn what troubled Sister Joan who wonders if Mother Linden hid an original Rembrandt for forty years. However just after she arrives with a cold greeting by her host, someone kills Sister Joan and the potential masterpiece is stolen. Emma teams up with undercover agent Colin Donovan who was asked by Father Finian Bracken to learn why a Fed was seeing Sister Joan. They soon follow clues involving art theft to Ireland where her grandfather started Sharpe Fine Art Recovery, but an unknown adversary seems to be one step ahead of them. This is a fast-paced romantic suspense starring two intriguing Feds falling in love at a time neither can afford the distraction as they work the case. Although the past seems over the top of Mt. Katahdin, sub-genre readers will enjoy the investigation as the bantering pair fuss, fight and fall in love. Reader will enjoy Saint's gate and helpfully have further Sharpe romantic mysteries in Maine and Ireland. Harriet Klausner
Conkie on LibraryThing 17 days ago
Good plot. Was really easy to get all the "sisters" mixed-up. The relationship development between H/H is appropriate due to character's background.
BookDivasReads on LibraryThing 19 days ago
A missing painting, a Viking Saint, lost treasure, a murdered nun and a former novice turned FBI agent investigating the painting and murder with the help of an undercover FBI agent. Strange combination but these are the basics at the center of Saint's Gate by Carla Neggers.Emma Sharpe is a former novitiate with the Sisters of the Joyful Heart. She realized that she was not suited to life as a nun prior to taking her final vows and was ultimately recruited into the FBI working as an investigator in art theft and fraud. She is called by Sister Cecilia to return to the convent to provide an opinion on a painting. Unfortunately when she arrives to inspect the painting it disappears and Sister Cecilia is brutally murdered on the convent grounds. When her FBI boss turns up and an undercover FBI agent she begins to suspect that there is more going on than she may realize. Her investigation takes her to Ireland and back and she still is having difficulty grasping the connection, if any, between her life and that of Colin Donovan, undercover FBI agent. I wish I could say I enjoyed reading Saint's Gate but regrettably I can't. The action and dialogue were literally all over the place. At times it felt as if I was dropped into the middle of the story without knowing much about the plot or characters. As a romantic suspense story the romance was expected yet appeared forced and there was little suspense to be found. Although I generally enjoy reading Ms. Neggers' books, this one seemed to miss on so many levels (plot, characters, and dialogue).
thornton37814 on LibraryThing 19 days ago
Agent Emma Sharpe has been called back to the convent where she was once a novice by Sister Joan to comment on a painting. Emma's family had been involved in art restoration for years and now Emma investigates art crimes for the FBI. Sister Joan goes to the tower where the painting is located, surprising a thief. When Sister Joan doesn't return as expected, Emma sets off to find her. She encounters a novice named Cecelia along the way. She finds Sister Joan dead, it becomes a matter for local law enforcement, but naturally, she gets involved. Another FBI agent, Colin Donovan is in the area. Her boss Matt Yankowski comes up from Boston. Colin's friend Father Finian Bracken also plays an important role. All the crimes seem to be related to a period shortly after Sister Linden made the convent known for its art. I found this an enjoyable read. I liked the Maine setting. I enjoyed the characters. The plot was different from a lot of mysteries. While there is a touch of romance, I wouldn't necessarily classify this as a romantic suspense because the lead female character is law enforcement official instead of a governess, secretary, or other household servant. This review is based on an electronic galley provided by the publisher through NetGalley for review.
julie.billing on LibraryThing 19 days ago
Neggers does it again. Saints Gate had a good mix of good characters and an interesting story line. Usually I don't necessarily know who did it, though in this case I picked it up relatively early. A good read - only took me awhile because I've been so tired I just can't keep going!!
rhonda1111 on LibraryThing 19 days ago
4 STARS Emma Sharpe is a different Heroin. She is a FBI Agent with a special unit. Her family is known as art detectives, finding stolen art and returning it to right owners. Em ma worked for her family in the Irish office with her grandfather. Before that she was getting ready to be a Nun. I like Emma she is smart, cares about others and determined to find out who killed the nun and why did the nun really call Emma to come to the Convent and look at a picture.Colin Donovan is on vaction from his undercover job for the FBI. When his friend Father Bracken asks him to look into the murder of Sister Joan. Who's body was found by FBI agent Emma.The mystery is who killed the Sister Joan and why did she call Emma? Why did she not tell any of the other sisters especially Mother Lindon. Is a painting missing? I was involved in the story waiting to see who the killer was. What was missing. I am glad their is going to be another book with Emma and Colin. I want to read it too.Their seems to be a lot of connections to the Maine coast small towns and Ireland. Father Bracken is on a exchange for a year to Maine while the Father he replaced is over to Ireland for a year. Sharpes has an office in Ireland and main office in Maine. Colin has been on a case to Ireland. Few others had been their too.I was given this ebook to read in exchange of honest review from Netgalley.
RtB on LibraryThing 19 days ago
Reviewed by Shylareview copy provided by Nancy Berland Public RelationsIt¿s been a long time since I enjoyed a mystery novel as much as I did Saint¿s Gate. Chocked full of well fleshed out characters, action and an interesting plot, this tale had me intrigued from the very first page. Ms Neggers did a bang up job of creating a setting that took on a life of its own. I was immersed in the small Maine town, its inhabitants and their secrets. Her usage of art and religion was a refreshing choice! The two interlaced, and mingled to create a unique journey I thoroughly enjoyed. The heroine Emma is a smart, intelligent, and independent FBI agent with a surprising past. She was once on a path to become a nun. Her connection to Sisters of the Joyful heart is what brings her back to the convent via Sister Joan who suspects something strange is afoot. When Sister Joan is murdered right under her nose many things are brought into question; including Emma¿s loyalty to her job. Our hero Colin is in town for rest, and relaxation. But as we know, there¿s no rest for the wicked. With his rugged good looks, love for the outdoor, and mysterious career Colin is an irresistible package, that¿s dangerous to the heart. When he¿s placed on to the case and asked to look after Emma they both discover an attraction that refused to be denied. Not used to letting anyone in, they struggle to fight the bond forming as they chase down leads. I¿d recommend this to anyone who loves a good, thriller, or mystery. But if you¿re looking for heat this one may not be the one for you. The attraction between Emma and Colin is obvious, but the sexual encounters are closed door.
Anonymous 3 months ago
This book was very well written, it keeps ur attention also very intriguing
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anaisbelieve More than 1 year ago
Saint's Gate is a fast paced page turner. I adored the heroine, who had an unconventional past. The hero was perfect for her. The backdrop of Maine and Ireland fascinated me, as I've never been to either place. There were several likely candidates for the killer, and I had fun trying to figure out who did it before the final reveal. I am looking forward to reading the next books in the series. Carla Neggers never disappoints!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Attention grabber and holder!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is a good read. This is one to read outside of a book club for a great mystery and suspenseful time between the pages. I enjoy Carla Neggers and I'm always excited when I see she has a new book for her readers.
Susan60625 More than 1 year ago
I waited for the paper back release and it was well worth the wait!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago