Eleven by Carolyn Arnold

This is another book where I am going to start by saying “I wanted to like this book but…”

Let’s start with the positive aspects before I dive into my reasons for not giving this book anything but 1 ½ to 2 stars. The story had an interesting premise. A serial killer was on the loose and one of his signatures was the coinherence symbol.

The coinherence symbol was never adequately explained to the reader in a way that tied into the actual story. In fact, I went outside the book to get some information on it in order to fill in a gap. I will also say that the story dove into what seemed to be the middle of a chapter and it took me about three chapters in before I could even begin to start to untangle what had happened. The FBI characters were literally underground, in a serial killers burial chamber talking about the crimes in the opening chapters. No set up, no introductions…it was utterly confusing.

A second weakness was the the lack of clarity about any of the characters and how one, Brandon, spoke in the first person, while everyone else spoke in the third person. It was bizarre. Brandon, a younger agent, was alternately called “Kid”, “Pending” and “Slingshot” by different people, some using more than one nickname. That was ridiculous because again, for three chapters, I had no idea they were all one and the same person. Additionally, Brandon, although he had been an agent for a minute, had already had an affair with one of his senior agents. When? How? Was this before they were both agents? Was it in high school? Who knows!

The agent named Zachery was superfluous to the whole story. He served no purpose but to make the team an even four and to irritate Brandon. I think he was supposed to be some kind of analyst but whenever real analysis was needed, they called an agent named Nadia. An agent who despite her expertise, they consistently hung up on before she could ever impart what they needed to know. That got old real fast!

Paige, the senior agent/love interest, routinely showed up to find Brandon in his boxer shorts and intimated that she was sleeping with the Supervising agent – a very irritating chain smoker named Jack. I spent chapters trying to figure out why she would sleep with such an unappealing character, as did Brandon. To his surprise and the readers, it was all a ruse! What??????

The chain smoking Jack was horrible. Ill drawn, unhelpful, irascible, unable and unwilling to work with his own agents much less local law enforcement. By the end, I was wondering if Jack would be done in by a serial killer or lung cancer and Brandon complained repeatedly about the effects of second hand smoking on his health. Additionally, his marriage fell apart in what amounted to about four pages- wife introduced, wife in peril, wife hates job, wife calls him from his office(?), disconnects her cell phone and he receives papers letting him know that the marriage is over.

I’m a masochist. I finished the book. But I didn’t like it and I wouldn’t recommend it.

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