Eleven Days: A Novel of the Heartland

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9780385488945: Eleven Days: A Novel of the Heartland

With James Patterson's feel for narrative drive combined with Joseph Wambaugh's ability to cut to the quick of police procedure, Donald Harstad is a fresh new voice in crime fiction.  And with twenty-six years of experience as a deputy sheriff in a rural Iowa town, Harstad knows whereof he speaks.  Inspired by actual events, Eleven Days takes readers on a gripping and unforgettable journey inside a heartland community and unveils its darkest secrets.

Iowa highway patrolman and deputy sheriff Carl Houseman is comfortable with his night-shift routine of speeding tickets and slow crawls through Nation County's two-stoplight towns.  This is not to say that Nation County's Sheriff's Department--fueled by doughnuts, countless pots of coffee, and down-home disregard for the bizarre--hasn't had its trials and tribulations.  But Houseman is in for the time of his life when a quiet weekend evening turns into eleven sleepless days after a 911 call from a terrified woman hits his dispatcher's office.

Upon arrival at the crime scene--a deserted farmhouse that even Hitchcock wouldn't be able to duplicate--Houseman finds the woman gone and the owner slaughtered and mutilated.  Down the lane, another farmhouse contains the bodies of four more victims, tortured before their deaths and all bearing the markings of a Satanic sacrifice.  As the investigation gathers momentum, the dirty little secrets underneath the placid surface of the quaint Iowa community are revealed, and Houseman ends up fighting for his life against a force of unimaginable horror.

Houseman's first-person narrative--terse, drawling, and unexpectedly funny--provides an irresistible invitation to a wild ride in the passenger seat of his patrol car.  Buckle up.

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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

From the Publisher:

In Nation County, Iowa, eleven days can slip away in a heartbeat.

"Eleven Days is a hell of a first novel. Donald Harstad has created a gripping and unsettling work that underscores the simple truth that the threat of evil and its violence is everywhere in America--even the farmlands of Iowa. Harstad seasons the book with a wonderful cast of characters and his insider's knowledge. His is a welcome new voice in crime fiction."
--Michael Connelly, bestselling author of Blood Work and Trunk Music

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Harstad, Donald
Published by Doubleday (1998)
ISBN 10: 0385488947 ISBN 13: 9780385488945
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Harstad, Donald
Published by Doubleday
ISBN 10: 0385488947 ISBN 13: 9780385488945
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