Book Review: Eleven Days by Stav Sherez

17829284Title: Eleven Days

Author: Stav Sherez

Genre: Thriller, Mystery and Suspense

Age Group: Adult (18+)

Rating: 4,5 stars

Purchase: Amazon, Goodreads, B&N

A fire rages through a sleepy West London square, engulfing a small convent hidden away among the residential houses. When DI Jack Carrigan and DS Geneva Miller arrive at the scene they discover eleven bodies, yet there were only supposed to be ten nuns in residence.

It’s eleven days before Christmas, and despite their superiors wanting the case solved before the holidays, Carrigan and Miller start to suspect that the nuns were not who they were made out to be. Why did they make no move to escape the fire? Who is the eleventh victim, whose body was found separate to the others? And where is the convent’s priest, the one man who can answer their questions?

Fighting both internal politics and the church hierarchy, Carrigan and Miller unravel the threads of a case which reaches back to the early 1970s, and the upsurge of radical Liberation Theology in South America – with echoes of the Shining Path, and contemporary battles over oil, land and welfare. Meanwhile, closer to home, there’s a new threat in the air, one the police are entirely unprepared for…Spanning four decades and two continents, Eleven Days finds Carrigan and Miller up against time as they face a new kind of criminal future.

Eleven Days is the second book in the Carrigan and Miller series, but it can just as easily be read as a standalone. I hadn’t read the first book, and I got caught up with this story right away. Protagonist Carrigan has lost his wife a few years ago, and ever since he’s had a bitter, grim look on life. Christmas is the worst, so part of him is secretly relieved when he’s called to work on a case during the holiday season. Miller is his partner and fellow police officer, a rookie on the murder case team since she’s only worked there for about a year.

The case they’re working on is a strange one, and it was that synopsis that convinced me to read the book. Carrigan and Miller are called onto the scene of fire, and when they reach the scene they realize the house ablaze is not just a regular house but a convent. A fireman discovers the bodies of ten nuns upstairs. Instead of fleeing like anyone would do when panicking, the nuns’ bodies lie in peculiar positions, like they didn’t stir at all.

They discover an old chapel downstairs in which they find another body. The problem? There should only have been ten nuns in the house. So who is the eleventh victim? And why was she here? The more Carrigan and Miller get buried in the case, the more complicated it becomes. They figure out that the eleventh victim is Emily Maxted, a human rights activist of the extreme variety who had been charged with drugs possession several years ago. Now it’s up to the team of detectives to find the connection between pink-haired Emily and the nuns, and to solve the case, which will bring them from the Albanian mob to secret hideouts in the middle of Peru to miner strikers in the 1970s.

Carrigan and Miller are a strong team, and I love the dynamics between them. All too often when the two main characters are a man and a woman there’s mention of a romantic relationship, but that’s not the case here. Carrigan is still very much grieving over his wife who passed away and Miller is occupied with her impending divorce and ex-husband threatening to take away all her money. So their relationship is friendship based on a lot of trust, and I liked that. It put a great perspective on things, and they always had each other’s backs without being snarky about it. While they certainly played a large role in the book, the plot was the main focus point here. The book is very plot-driven and entertwines some intriguing, gruesome pieces of history in a contemporary story.

I liked how complicated everything was, and how the piece wouldn’t add up. Eleven Days is heavy on the suspense, but in a good way. I was literally biting my nails halfway through the book because I wanted to know what would come next. There are so many dead ends, so many clever plots combined that it left me going down a million different trails. I never guessed the real story behind what happened, and that’s always a bonus. The ending came as a big shock, but it explained things well and wrapped everything up nicely.

The author definitely knows what he’s talking about. He doesn’t just throw random made-up snippets our way. The story he’s build the book on is mostly true, as in, the history behind the drugs cartels, the torture described in some scenes, etcetera. It adds to the book’s credibility that even though it’s fiction, it’s well-researched. Stav Sherez also knows his way around words, and he has an easy writing style that gets straight to the point.

I’m looking forward to reading the next book in the Carrigan and Miller series, and I’ll keep an eye out for the first book so I can add it to my collection.

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