Eleven Days - Donald Harstad

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Eleven Days - Donald Harstad

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Review of "Eleven Days - Donald Harstad"

published 09/11/2010 | Martinscholes
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"Eleven Days and at least four dead"

I think I would like Deputy Sheriff Carl Houseman, with the Maitland, Iowa, Sheriff's Department.

Why? Because Carl's been a police officer for much of his working life, all of it spent in the tiny police department of Maitland. There's never enough funding, so he just gets on with the job, best he can. He seems to have a good word for everyone and is popular and well-liked by just about everyone, in return.

Nothing much happens in Maitland. That is, until very late one night, something really, really horrible happens. There is a desperate phone call from an unknown female. They can't identify the number. The woman said: "My, god, my, God. Help us here, help us here, please... They are killing everybody! Help!" But... exactly why did she make the call?

She gives the location and Carl was one of the officers who took the call and when he arrives, he, the police department and the whole town of Maitland and the area beyond is thrown into a sickening nightmare world, where nothing is quite what it seems and nobody, but nobody, can be trusted.

The house is a scene of utter carnage. Four people are dead, horribly, horribly mutilated and an Alsatian dog, mortally wounded, has to be put down by the officers attending the scene.

But what, exactly, has happened and is continuing to happen? Is it a case of a psychopathic rage? A revenge killing? Or is it something far, far worse? Something the likes of which have never before been seen in Maitland, or, perhaps for that matter, the entire state of Iowa?

As Carl, Sheriff Lamar and their colleagues progress the investigation, they discover some things about their apparently placid and peaceful community that they would rather not have known. In just Eleven Days all they thought they knew about family, friends and colleagues may never be the same again. And some of them might not survive the grisly and shocking events that unfold.

Just what HAD been happening at the out of town farm and in other locations? Were whispers of Satanic rites involving some of the great and the good of Maitland not far from the truth? Or were they the truth? Had there been human sacrifices? Had a child been born specifically to be sacrificed? If so, had it been sacrificed? If it hadn't, where was it, now? If not, could it be saved? And by whom?

But... was there an even more insidious evil? With tentacles that reached into the very heart of the police department of Maitland, itself? Were the officers and staff also in danger of being 'sacrificed'? If so, by whom? And for what reason?

This was Donald Harstad's first novel. It is a truly stunning work. His amiable, laconic style takes you into world where nothing is as it seems and death and horror abound.

The reason he called the book Eleven Days was because his Sheriff (at Clayton County, Iowa) told him that if he didn't take his eleven days holiday owed to him, he would lose them! What, thought Donald, did a fellow do with eleven days holiday? Why, he would write a novel! And so he did. In Eleven days, flat.

The characterisations in Eleven Days are perfect, they are all believable and Donald actually makes you care about them, even the more minor characters.

The paperback version (Fourth Estate) costs £9.99, though will cost less via retailers like Amazon.

The book bears the words: "Inspired by Actual Events." Really? This made the book even more remarkable when I first read it.

Can I recommend it? I cannot possibly recommend this book strongly enough. Seriously. It is THAT good. I have read it at least three times and am now on my fourth reading, and enjoying it just as much.


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Comments on this review

  • koshkha published 09/11/2010
    Impressive - I have reviews that take longer than that to write!
  • FORCE6 published 09/11/2010
    EXCEPTIONAL - This is just proof that you don't need a ream of paper to write a flawless review! =D
  • watkins11 published 09/11/2010
    Sounds intriguing! Nice review
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Product Information : Eleven Days - Donald Harstad

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Product Details

Author: Donald Harstad

EAN: 9781857028164

ISBN: 1857028163

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Listed on Ciao since: 08/11/2010