ELEVEN DAYS is the fourth novel by Stav Sherez and continues the Carrigan and Miller detective partnership which the author set up so effectively in A DARK REDEMPTION. The prologue, written in the distinctive voice of a female character, is particularly enjoyable to read (and partly because of the deliberately long sentences). Then we move to a poignant scene with Carrigan and his sick mother, and are reminded that he is still grieving for his dead wife, Louise. For me, these two personal situations, whilst not related to the crime, provide context and depth to the detective’s behaviour: the personal and professional interlink in us all. The mystery at the start of the novel involves a suspicious fire at a West London convent and the death of eleven nuns. The beginning chapters involve DI Jack Carrigan going off in one direction and DS Geneva Miller in another. Sections are devoted to their thoughts and investigative activities, and these result in them having different theories about who might have caused the fire and why. The developing professional relationship, trust and friendship between the two main characters are all conveyed with restraint and sensitivity, which I liked. Having read previous novels by this author, I have noticed that he has an innate gift for language and is able to express the subtleties of mood, feeling, atmosphere, thought and behaviour in remarkable ways and with imagery which is fresh and unique. I find that this slows down my brain and makes me savour and ponder what I am reading, which I appreciate. In terms of the crime itself, financial, religious, and personal explanations are investigated by Carrigan and Miller. When you read this novel you realise that you are in the hands of an author who is widely read, and very well informed on religion and theology. In addition, descriptions of ‘place’ are stunningly expressed … but I expected no less from a man whose tweets about the weather, music and coffee are often pure poetry. I am fascinated to know what challenges face Carrigan and Miller in subsequent Stav Sherez novels. If you want a thought provoking read, which is beautifully written, I highly recommend ELEVEN DAYS.
Vicky Newham © 2013