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Eleven Days Mass Market Paperback – May 4, 1999


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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Bantam (May 4, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0553581481
  • ISBN-13: 978-0553581485
  • Product Dimensions: 0.9 x 4.1 x 6.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (73 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,172,424 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Reflecting 26 years as a deputy sheriff in northeastern Iowa, Donald Harstad's first book, a topnotch thriller about an Iowa deputy sheriff named Carl Houseman, is full of convincing details of everyday police work and is told in such a droll, natural voice that you'll swear you've met both author and hero. "When I got home, Sue was a little angry," Houseman says about his wife. "I'd neglected to leave her a note about the meeting. Consequently, supper had turned out to be a problem. She'd taken care of it by making a taco-type soup, so it was still warm when I got there. She'd eaten." In other hands, the story (a series of ritual murders, a Satanic cult, the possible involvement of a local clergyman) might seem over the top. But Harstad's dead-on, no-nonsense manner makes it all very convincing--and extremely readable. --Dick Adler --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

The first half of Harstad's good-natured debut may read like Fargo meets Dragnet, but this police procedural turns downright explosive once deputy sheriff Carl Houseman gets to the heart of the strange murders that are tearing apart his small Iowa farming town. The action begins when a 911 call leads Houseman to the site of a ritual murder with multiple victims and no witnesses left in sight; further evidence reveals that an infant may have been sacrificed and that other victims will follow. The first round of police work leads Houseman and his colleagues to the members of a devilish cult, but the serial killer remains at large until Houseman comes to suspect the town pastor and his wife. What follows is an intriguing, suspenseful showdown at a local church. Harstad's deceptively sparse style is full of hard-boiled drollery, even when mundane details threaten to crowd the plot. If the labyrinthine network of Satanic cult members gets a bit too involved, the descriptions of the police work rival Wambaugh's best, and the action scenes maintain a precision that keeps the tension high. After 26 years' police work in northeastern Iowa, Harstad seems poised for a successful second career.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

The characters are wonderful and realistic.
Will Readanything
I wasn't really too thrilled with the ending, but it didn't really detract from my enjoyment of the novel either.
Stefan Yates
This is a great who done it that keeps you guessing till the end.
M.V.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 31, 1999
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I found this book to be one of the most intriguing novels I have read in a long time. As one who loves mysteries, I feel that Harstad has put Iowa on the map. I am a resident of the area of which he writes, and I found myself trying to figure just who was who in this book of all the people I know in the area. Thank goodness all of the people in this book are fictitious--at least I hope they are. Harstad's methodology in leading the reader to the real murderer is one of interest because nothing that exciting ever happens around here. I am looking forward to the movie.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By booknblueslady on January 1, 2001
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Something creepy is happening in America's heartland. 911 operators in Maitland, Iowa receive a call about a mass murder at an outlying farmhouse. when arriving there Deputy Sheriff Carl Houseman finds a grisly murder scene. One day later they uncover a mass murder at another farm. Both of these scenes have Satanic overtones. Definitely something you wouldn't expect to find in the heart of America.
Donald Harstad in his novel Eleven Days creates an every man character with Carl Houseman, with his understated ways and tongue in cheek humor. The environment of the station house and the various people who populate the story are both interesting and ordinary. Many of us know a Sally who wants more from life and Hester who constantly has to prove herself to the guy's club.
The mystery itself is riveting and grisly. It leads the reader along at a fast pace until the final conclusion. For those who appreciate the genre it is an easy sell. Others may feel the gory details are excessive. Some readers may disprove of the "ordinary" characters and style of the author. To me this is part of the appeal of the book . I first read Known Dead by the author and wanted to read other books by Mr. Harstad and am glad that I did.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By sweetmolly on February 12, 2003
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This roller coaster of a book builds tension into an appallingly great climax. If this is Mr. Harstad's debut book, I can't wait to get the next one.
Carl Houseman is the laid back, politically aware sheriff of a small midwestern town. A ritualistic murder takes place with overtones of Satanism. Then another farm family is similarly attacked. The danger escalates, the list of suspects grows, and the undermanned Sheriff's department is stretched to the breaking point.
Carl is a likeable guy with a not too happy marriage that you sense is mainly due to himself. He's a great friend, but his detachment is tough on close emotional bonds. The author obviously has insider knowledge of police departments, the politics, mechanics, and organization. I would have liked a glossary for all the 10-11's, 10-61's that peppers the dialogue.
"Eleven Days" has a high gruesome level, which may put off some readers. However, most will be so totally absorbed in the accelerating frenzy of events, they will accept the violence. Great read!
-sweetmolly-Amazon[.com] Reviewer
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Jason Birkby on January 15, 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Don Harstad's "Eleven Days" is the by far the best book I read in 1999. The chilling detail and terrific narrative that Harstad brings makes him one of the best police procedure novelist. This and it is only his first novel. Harstad being an ex-cop gives you the gritty real cop of the world. I'm tired of most novels were the cops are perfect and do nothing wrong. Harstad's characters are more human.
Harstad also has the ability to let the reader know that something bad is going to happen when his characters cannot. The whole time reading the book I found myself saying "turn around" or "go back and double check". It truly made the book a chilling read.
There are parts in this book that are quite grusome, so this novel may not be for the squimish. Remember this is based on true facts which also makes it pretty scary in the more violent scenes. I strongly recommend!
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 22, 1998
Format: Hardcover
As a big fan of "Fargo" but not too big a fan of mysteries, I read Eleven Days seeking some momentary diversion. Moments turned into hours when I found myself wrapped up in the search for a killer in a small town, where life is placid on the surface but exciting in the depths. The "real time" narration of the small town deputy provided fast-paced momentum as the story raced along with enough twists and turns to satisfy the most avid roller-coaster rider. Thank goodness there were also moments where the reader could catch his breath with a chuckle or out-right laugh at the more practical and mundane events in police work. It was a fun ride!
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on February 16, 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I had read that this "thriller" was above-average and well written. After devouring it in a few short days, I must say I was very impressed. The novel doesn't fall into the usual cliche holes of many in the genre and the distinct and well-formed voice of the narrator gives the story tons of extra impact. Instead of a hard-boiled detective or a supercop, we get a real person along with small glimpses into his life, even if they are glimpses into typical Midwestern life.
There's nothing better than a good read that's well-written. That's what you'll get with Eleven Days.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Allan on March 6, 2001
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Donald Harstad has spent time behind a police cruiser's wheel. An ex-Deputy Sheriff, he knows what he's writing about - and he writes very well, indeed.
This is a police procedure book that stacks up against the best of Ed McBain. Told in the first person, the story rattles along at a good pace, never dull, and always giving the reader that delicious thrill of another twist being just over the next page.
The reader will warm to the hero immediately: he's all too real. A heavy smoker, a heavy eater, a man who's definitely not cast in the Hollywood hero role. He's a little more than Mr Average - he's very bright, very quick - but not a man of great ambition. In short - a hero we can all relate to. It's not until we get two-thirds through the book that we also realise he's middle-aged, with a daughter on college. His home life is chaotic, as he's a night-shift worker, and the very suburban dialogue he shares with his wife is witness, again, to his reality, and to the fact that his feet are planted firmly in the rich Iowan loam.
The murders are, at first glance, Satanic in origin. I was, at first, sceptical that this storyline could be maintained: Fox Mulder aside, there are very few satanic murders anywhere in the world. However, the story is not only sustained, but made believable by the developments.
If you like a good cop book, then try this out. The chances are excellent that you'll enjoy it.
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