'The Eleventh Hour'

The Bookworm

By Terri Schlichenmeyer

Whatever it was, you’re sorry. You’re sorry for the youthful indiscretion that actually did go on your “permanent record” in school. You wish you hadn’t had one for the road, hadn’t lied on an official form, hadn’t gotten involved with the wrong friend. You’d apologize for the wrong thing said, the wrong person married, the wrong path taken.

If you knew then what you know now — that your past will come back to haunt you — you would’ve taken different actions.

In the new book “The Eleventh Victim” by Nancy Grace, a successful woman tries to forget what happened years ago, until her past collides with her new life in a deadly way.

Not too long ago, Hailey Dean was happy. Her wedding dress was hanging in a closet and she was about to be married to the man of her dreams. But then, Will was murdered and Hailey plunged herself into her career to try to forget.

As a criminal prosecutor in Atlanta, Hailey was highly effective; in fact, she never lost a case. But when Clint Burrell Cruise was charged with murder — a case for which Hailey successfully argued for the death penalty — Hailey had had enough. She left her family and her horrible memories behind in Georgia and moved to New York City to work as a therapist.

Judge Clarence E. “C.C.” Carter had his eyes set on the Governor’s Mansion. He knew it would take every good ol’ boy favor he could pull in, and he might have to make some promises he wouldn’t like. But imagine how good the bourbon would taste in the office of the Governor of the State of Georgia. Imagine what the girls at the Pink Fuzzy would say. C.C. sure liked that kind of thinking.

So when the payback for a “good word” meant letting a killer go free, C.C. was only too happy to comply. The Governor’s position was his legacy. He was willing to allow Clint Burrell Cruise to walk out of jail.

Clint Cruise remembered what it was like to kill a woman. He recalled how a feminine neck felt beneath his fingers. He remembered the rush of stabbing a woman. He could still feel that final struggle.

And Hailey Dean would pay for taking that all away from him.

Filled with tired clichés and several improbable scenarios, “The Eleventh Victim” also contains — inexplicably — a separate plot line that had very little to do with the main story. Hailey Dean was a rather unexciting heroine and I was likewise disappointed to see several “stock characters” straight out of an old stereotypical B-movie. Even the killer was pretty ho-hum, maybe because the tease-chase-attack was too brief and not very scary.

That’s the bad news.

The good news is that author and HLN show host Nancy Grace still has her day job.

If you’re a hard-core Nancy Grace fan and you’re curious, go ahead and give “The Eleventh Victim” a try. But if you like fast-paced thrillers with realistic characters, read this and you’ll be sorry.

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