Richard Laymon Same Vein


Date of Release: Oct '98

Publisher: Allen & Unwin

Review Source:

ELEVEN DAYS by Donald Harstad

Donald Harstad spent 26 years as a deputy sheriff in north-eastern Iowa. Not surprising then, that his first novel is a terrific page-turner about an Iowa deputy sheriff named Carl Houseman. This is a wonderful police-procedural full of convincing and all-too-real characters and plot. Told in first person, Houseman takes us through the gritty murder of a farmer, found dead and mutilated in a satanic style ritual. Further down the road at a neighbouring farm he discovers more corpses, victims of a cult running amok. Or are they?

As Houseman investigates, he runs across a vicious sect capable of the killings, yet he believes the murderer is a lone serial killer - not the cult. Houseman begins to suspect the murderer just might be a model citizen, not a crazy deranged psychopath or deluded cult. All that is left is for him to prove his hunch is correct and manage to find the everyday, normal citizen who is really a bloodthirsty monster.

A novel with such scope and suspense is a big ask for a first-time author, but Harstad pulls it off deftly! His no-nonsense, every-day narrative style makes you feel as if you are right there, listening as Houseman tells you the story. The narration comes with the small town trimmings of biases and stereotypes that help round out the Houseman character and proves that Harstad certainly has quite a bit of experience to draw from and a sense of humor too! There is one startling twist after another, and this grisly and sophisticated story is truly frightening as you realise the beast could be lurking in any small town, behind any civil face.

Read it in one sitting, if you dare!

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