In this international bestseller, rookie FBI Agent Brandon Fisher takes on his first case with the Behavioral Analysis Unit, but will he survive long enough to catch the killer? Eleven is a fast-paced, spine-tingling thriller that will have you gasping for breath at every twist...
When Brandon Fisher joined the FBI Behavioral Analysis Unit, he knew he'd come up against psychopaths, sociopaths, pathological liars, and more. But when his first case takes him and the team to Salt Lick, Kentucky, to hunt down a ritualistic serial killer, he learns what nightmares are truly made of.
Beneath a residential property, local law enforcement discovered an underground bunker with circular graves that house the remains of ten victims. But that's not all: there's an empty eleventh grave, just waiting for a corpse. The killing clearly hasn't come to an end yet, and with the property owner already behind bars, Brandon is certain there's an apprentice who roams free.
As the FBI follows the evidence across the United States, Brandon starts to struggle with the deranged nature of his job description. And if the case itself isn't going to be enough to push Brandon over the edge, he's working in the shadow of Supervisory Special Agent Jack Harper, who expects nothing short of perfection from his team. To make matters even worse, it seems Brandon has become the target of a psychotic serial killer who wants to make him--or his wife--victim number eleven.
CAROLYN ARNOLD is an international bestselling and award-winning author, as well as a speaker, teacher, and inspirational mentor. She has several continuing fiction series and has nearly thirty published books. Her genre diversity offers her readers everything from cozy to hard-boiled mysteries, and thrillers to action adventures. Her crime fiction series have been praised by those in law enforcement as being accurate and entertaining. This led to her adopting the trademark: POLICE PROCEDURALS RESPECTED BY LAW ENFORCEMENT™.
Carolyn was born in a small town and enjoys spending time outdoors, but she also loves the lights of a big city. Grounded by her roots and lifted by her dreams, her overactive imagination insists that she tell her stories. Her intention is to touch the hearts of millions with her books, to entertain, inspire, and empower.
She currently lives near London, Ontario, Canada with her husband and two beagles.
I was really looking forward to reading this based on the description, but I was disappointed. I did not like the main character at all and all of the other characters to me were very two dimensional. The plot and the character interactions kept reminding me of an episode of Criminal Minds and I really like the show, but not this story.
Even after I finished this book I have difficulty putting in to words how I feel about it.
The story seems to be a direct copy of the Criminal Minds bible. I found myself often visualizing the scenes in just such a way. However, though the show itself is very good, turning it into a book appears to have been somewhat difficult. This story felt somewhat jumbled and rushed, often the characters would gather and just start telling each other about the suspect they were looking for, pulling things out of thin air as if they were fact. I could understand the concept of what the author was trying to do, but it just felt very complex and unrealistic.
These things said, it was a book I was able to read to the end, even if I still can't say if I enjoyed it or not. I certainly wouldn't call it the most memorable of things that I have read and it is highly unlikely I will be going on to any of the other books in this series.
So, I found this for free as an ebook and decided I might as well give it a go even though I'm less than fond of self-published endeavors. Overall, I was less than fond of this book as well. The grammar was mostly on point, although there were several instances where it was clearly not. Far worse was the word choice/phrasing. Sometimes it seemed like the author was trying too hard to fulfill the writing class motto "unique description is better than the same tired old description." No it's not, if you aren't great at imagining new and different ways to describe things or actions, which Carolyn Arnold was really not. The phrasing, "served for his country" or something along those lines. That's not a typo, that's just not knowing how to put a sentence together, which is odd since most of the writing wasn't too bad overall. The glaring missteps were completely annoying and make me wish the author had just found someone not afraid to critique her book and edit it.
Besides the minor complaints about format, I also thought that the characters, ESPECIALLY THE SERIAL KILLERS, were badly done and flat. Serial killers are one of my interests, so you can't just spout off half-truths and sell them as facts or invent statistics and think you can get them by me.
My favorite thing to complain about...the ROMANCE. Ugh, was that romance? I mean, I think it was supposed to be, but there was about as much chemistry as a pile of sand. No, that probably has more chemistry going on than the "couple." Not to mention the misogyny that made me think this was written by a man. Loads and loads of demeaning women and making them seem petty and manipulative. Yay.
So, do I regret reading this? Not so much, because I had a plane ride with time to kill, but otherwise I definitely would have regretted wasting my time with this.
In this instance, 'eleven' is not a number .... it is the number of underground graves found ..but only ten bodies.
This book introduces us to Brandon Fisher, a brand new Special Agent with the FBI on his first field outing. He's accompanied by his boss, who Brandon sorely wants to impress, and feels that he is failing.
There are all kinds of complications that shadow him. First of all, he is severely claustrophobic which is a big deal considering he must be climbing underground. Along on this case is also a young woman with whom he has a personal history .. although married, Brandon had carried on a short-term affair with her.
Upon investigating the man responsible for these horrendous murders, their prime subject is already in a state prison on unrelated charges. And things turn really ugly when Brandon himself is targeted as the next kill.
It's a terrific introduction to a new series. The characters are entertaining in their own ways. Brandon is young and unsure and that comes across as so believable. The secondary characters play a huge part in this first book. The boss is a bit on the sarcastic side, and though he tosses some zingers in Brandon's direction, he seems to want Brandon to succeed in his newly chosen career.
There were a couple of times when the activity seemed to slow down, but is totally acceptable when introducing a new series. It's all those little nuances that will follow in subsequent books.
The plot was well-written with a few twists and turns to keep the reader engaged. I look forward to following this series ... I think it will be quite interesting to see how Brandon grows into his new life.
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.
First, I would grab this book because it was written by Carolyn Arnold. Second, I have been reading her work for a while now, and I now she won’t disappoint my, but she may blow my mind. Third, SHE DID!
Carolyn Arnold’s novels read like Criminal Minds episodes. I love how she breaks down the crimes and the criminals, taking us through the process, step by step, clue by clue. And this is one mystery that keeps on giving. I was super creeped out early and it never stopped. I wonder where Carolyn came up with the idea for Eleven. Is she smoking something?
Salt Lick. Kentucky. Underground. Creepaliciously gruesome and I feel chills running up and down my spine just writing this.
Eleven, the symbol of purity, but I sure don’t see it here.
Focus, analyze, and be objective is what is required and Brandon is thankful for the training that allowed him to do exactly that, especially in the current circumstances. This is Brandon’s first case with the Behavioral Analysis Unit of the FBI. His coworkers ride him, calling him Kid, Pending and Slingshot.
We watch Brandon grow and learn as he works under Jack, a Supervisory Special Agent. Danger strikes too close for comfort, but he slowly learns to keep control of his emotions, or he would be useless to the investigation. His first case, and it is a horrific one.
WOW…I am only at 28% and the story is so intense, I wonder how I will make it to the end. Do I cheat and peak? NO! Don’t do it. It would ruin everything. It is the anticipation, the awful, sickening journey that makes it all worthwhile. I will savor the threats and danger. I will crawl around underground with them…there go those shivers again.
There is so much more of the story to come, I can’t imagine what surprises are in store for me, but Carolyn’s ability to write with suspense and make her characters seem so real that at times I forget this isn’t a true story, is one journey I know I won’t regret..
The killer they are looking for is just out of reach. They will get there, but will it be in time? There is more than one life at stake.
Stories and scenes that happen underground really freak me out. I shivered and cringed my way to the end and loved every minute of it! If you love mystery, thrills and suspense of the highest caliber, this is a must read and Carolyn Arnold is an author you want to follow. I anticipate many more horrific stories to come. Bring it on, Carolyn!
“You have one great weakness.”
“You’re too positive.”
“You think we catch all the bad guys, that we can stop the evil in the world.”
I'm not a fan of first person. Especially when the person is a selfish, whiny douche. I'm definitely not a fan of characters that cheat on their wives and reading the mindless attempts to excuse it. The inclusion of a tacky affair adds nothing to the story. I'm not even sure why the author felt the need to give him a wife, because his personal life adds absolutely nothing to the story other than providing pages of pathetic whining about 'how he loves her'. Which seems implausible, given his infidelity!
Certain phrases heavily repeated throughout the book and become grating, every time Jack 'perched a cigarette' or Brandon the douche felt his 'earlobes heat with rage' or someone's "stomach tossed', I wanted to punch the book...
Some parts are just nonsensical, like I'm pretty sure the FBI academy famously teaches about all kinds of DNA.
Random use of commas - everywhere except where they should be. Weird italicizing of words.
I got this for free, if I'd paid for it, I'd want my money back. How the author can blatantly claim to be the only author of police procedural novels respected by law enforcement is frankly laughable because her knowledge based on this rubbish book is around the levels of a three year old who watches paw patrol.
I was very excited to have finally started reading this book. The succinct title was mysterious enough to create interest, and when the blurb mentioned 'FBI' and 'serial killer', I was sold.
The amount of research Carolyn would have done in order to write this book is visible from the attention to detail prevalent in the story. The overall plot is interesting, but the way it concludes is disappointing. You just do not end a mystery thriller the way it happens in this one. The climax is unfair, and does not do justice to the readers. (You'll have to either read the book or look for reviews that contain spoilers to understand my outrage as I am not in the habit of putting up spoilers in my reviews).
The fictional character Brandon Fisher appears to be incomplete. The story fails to throw enough light on his character as a whole, and the readers are left with a vague sense of understanding even after the book is over. I'd never hire Brandon if it were up to me!
Will I read the next book in the Brandon Fisher series? I have no plans to do so right now. The character has clearly failed to impress me.
Verdict: Not a bad read; not an excellent one either.
Gave in and deleted this only 2% in. It's way too confusing and irritating. THREE times by this point she'd used this expression-"I pulled out on the collar of my shirt" which is just awful English...then I wondered if it had a humorous side when we read a guy's in prison for killing 2 cows and assaulting a neighbour.....for real ?? Then the narrator suddenly starts telling us about another team member apropos of what you think is nothing till you realise he joined them in the room but nobody thought to mention this, we're then informed that number 11 relates to purity but then so does number 1 apparently....just rambling and all over the place. A cop starts relating all this stuff about coinherence symbols (a word the in-house dictionary didn't know either) and I began to glaze over. One cop incessantly flicks his lighter, the other pulls out on the neck of his shirt again (!!) and I'd seen enough. I didn't spot any spelling mistakes this far in which was good but I would've liked to understand what on earth was being talked about as well.
There were several problems with this book. One of them is just bad writing and editing. There are wrong verb tenses used. Wrong words. Unexplained jumps in plot and logic. Lots of things that should not be problems in a published book. In addition, the main character, an FBI agent, is totally unconvincing. The author is a woman, and the FBI guy reads as if he is a she. The emotions, reactions, and thoughts are all female. I had to keep reminding myself that this was supposed to be a male character. The author would have done much better to make the character a female. A male FBI agent simply wouldn't want to have to talk interpersonal issues out, wouldn't be concerned with what his boss means by saying "Hmmm" all the time, wouldn't obsess and pout about being called 'kid'. It was just silly. Men don't think like that. Oh, and the plot.....a serial killer who kills eleven people in a series. Then they've found 10 more bodies and one empty grave waiting for the next victim. Well, it sounds better than it played out. I won't be looking for any more books by this author.
I read it. I didn't particularly like it. While the plot involving a pretty nasty serial killer with a liking for the number eleven was good it didn't make up for the generally unlikeable cast of characters. Authors generally set out to make you like the principal character, especially in a first person narrative. But not this one. Brandon is about as useless and unlikeable a character as you're likely to find. As an FBI agent (special agent no less) he comes across as totally whimpy. And unfortunately, he doesn't get any more likeable or relatable as the story progresses. It is also unfortunate that the rest of the team is drawn in similar ways, Jack the stinking chain smoker, Zachary a 'genius' pain in the butt, Paige the female and love interest of Brandon who doesn't add much to the story and Nadia the office computer whiz.
Read it if you want but be prepared to be bored and annoyed.
I found this book to be very readable. I very often read later into the night than planned, just to find out what happens next. A good plot that keeps the reader guessing as different turn of events sends the FBI chasing leads. The characters are realistic, with all their troubles in life while trying to keep up with a major murder hunt. I will definitely look out for more of Ms Arnold's books.
Eleven is an FBI thriller that has great character development, a unique writing style that dares to "break the rules", and an excellent overall story.
I think this is where I enjoyed Eleven the most. The characters in Eleven were very well-written. They each had their own unique personalities and it is evident that Carolyn Arnold put a lot of time and care into developing them. They were created in a way that didn't overwhelm you with a lengthy back story or flashbacks, but instead you get to know a little more about them as the story progressed. It's kind of like in real life. The longer you spend with someone, the more you get to know them. Arnold did a very good job in executing this.
When I read a book, it's also important for me to get to know the characters enough to where I really care about the fate of each characters for me to really enjoy the story. If I don't care about the characters, you've lost me in the story. In Eleven I really cared about the characters. In fact I found myself feeling sorry for one of them and wanted him to stick up for himself. There was even on character that I really disliked, but after getting to know him better, I found I understood why he acted the way he did. Again, this is attributed to Carolyn Arnold's excellent character development.
The Writing Style
Carolyn Arnold "breaks the rules" when it came to her writing style in Eleven. It starts off with the reader following the story from the main character's perspective. Later, however, as the story begins to unfold and we begin to reach the climax of the story, Arnold suddenly shifts perspectives to tell the story in a different way, but also continues to use the first-person perspective of the main character.
I enjoyed following the FBI team's investigation from the main character's perspective and seeing how he reacted to certain situations. When the writing started switching perspectives from first to third and back to first, it was initially slightly distracting. I wasn't certain if this was going to work well at first, because I had never read a novel that switched perspectives. I am pleased to say that it did indeed work very well. This was a very unique writing style that I thoroughly enjoyed.
The Overall Story
I love thrillers and therefore can be very picky with the end result of the roller-coaster ride that is expected from them. Arnold did a very good job of keeping me guessing during the investigation in Eleven. Just when you think the team is on the right track, something throws them off. I had my suspicions of who the killer was (I was wrong of course!), but I was pleasantly surprised when the killer was finally revealed.
If you like thrillers, you'll enjoy Carolyn Arnold's Eleven.
Excellent story! I look forward to reading the Madison Knight series.
When I read TIES THAT BIND by Carolyn Arnold a few months ago, I was very impressed with many aspects of the book. Now I've read her latest mystery, ELEVEN, and I have to say she has outdone herself. This is one tremendous book.
ELEVEN is an FBI procedural novel about a serial killer. The man's crimes are so gruesome, even the CSI and FBI professionals are feeling queasy. What is fascinating about ELEVEN from a structural viewpoint is that the killer is already in prison and his identity is already known to the investigators, or at least strongly suspected right from the beginning. Don't worry, I'm not giving anything away, here. Their challenge is not to find out who the killer is, but to gather evidence strong enough to stand up in court, and to discover his motive. And to prevent any more killings, by the way, too.
But the fuel that really keeps this book burning is the quirky and gritty twists and turns in the relationships within the FBI team. Brandon Fisher is the young new FBI recruit who narrates the story. He is an extraordinarily complex and interesting character, struggling to fit in to this team and struggling to prove himself as an investigator. His mentoring agent, Jack Harper, won't relent in his needling and hard treatment of Fisher. The dynamic between the young hopeful agent paired with the cynical chain-smoking veteran seems a tad too familiar at first. But when Brandon's involvement with the serial killer evolves into something more personal, the dynamic between the agents takes on a new dimension of danger and suspense.
The author brings extremely convincing details on how the FBI works to crack cases like this: from the triangulation of cell phone calls to lifting of DNA or even mtDNA from skeletal remains, to the agents' skilled interpretations of body language, facial tics, eye movements and so on. Not surprisingly, they cannot shut off these skills when observing each other in the team, which causes problems. The FBI agents ultimately are human beings like any other, despite their tough exterior.
The story is set in today's world of social media, with Twitter playing an important part in the plot, yet the crimes reach back in time to the 1970s, and church teachings are equally important. This juxtaposition of modern technology and old-fashioned church beliefs makes the book come alive and seem rooted in the real world.
Silence of the Lambs, move over. ELEVEN is an absolutely stunning performance.
The writing was simple and disorganized. There's missing punctuation in quotes, the quotes aren't clear as to which character is speaking until it's no longer relevant, there's a lot of unnecessary information, a lot of missing information (actions and such i.e. Did he drop the gun and grab her hand? Did the report mention another child or is Brandon just psychic?)
The plot had seemed promising and I had actually been excited to read this as I love crime thrillers, but this was simply a task to read. It's really hard for me to understand that this author has written more than thirty books, because her writing doesn't reflect that.
I give this two stars as I appreciated the twist at the end, but overall I would not recommend this books to other readers.
I WOULD HAVE GIVEN THIS 4 ½ *stars BECAUSE OF ONE PART OF THE STORY LINE CHEATING (I hate cheaters) SO THIS GAVE ME A PROBLEM RIGHT AWAY. I DO HAVE A PERSONAL PROBLEM WITH CHEATER’S AND THREESOMES I REALLY DON’T LIKE THAT IN A RELATIONSHIP. FOR ME A RELATIONSHIP IS TWO PEOPLE IF YOU GET TIRED OF ONE ANOTHER THEN MOVE THE F*CK ON. THIS IS WHY THE TWO CHARACTERS INVOLVED I COULDN’T REALLY LIKE THEM IT WAS JUST WRONG. OTHER THAN THAT I REALLY ENJOYED THE POLICE BAU PROCEDURAL PART (was super mild sexually) I LIKED THE WRITING STYLE IT HELD MY INTEREST;D
While the story was interesting, there were a few things I could not get past in this book. There is a central plot point that never made sense and was never explained. The main characters are rather unlikable, and not in a "love to hate them" kind of way. Finally the writing was not great, which I can usually overlook if I like the story enough. While I appreciate the need to explain some jargon to us lay people, the explanations were included in rather inelegant ways that really took me out of the flow of the conversation or action.
Well, not really. This story did have elements of Silence of the Lambs, down to an obvious character comparison of Jack Harper with SOL's Jack Crawford. That said, I don't mean to imply that is anything negative. The plot is engaging,the characters are flawed yet endearing and the villian(s) are disturbing. I finished the entire book in one day, which means it kept my attention and was a great thriller. I also enjoyed the comparisons in character as well as by name to one of my favorite shows, "Criminal Minds".
If you like the show Criminal Minds on TV...this is the book for you!! The badies are really bad and the good guys are smart and sweet and tough...a great combination! This case covers at least two states 20 bodies, more than one killer, local law enforcement, FBI, BAU...And all with a newbie who's dealing with marriage problems in the middle of it all!! It is pretty graffic, but if you have a stomach of steel, and love a good who dun it...I highly recommend!!
Narcissist, psycho killer. This was the first book I read from Carolyn Arnold, will be reading the second book in this series. One thing I don't understand; how come someone smoking in the car with other non-smokers and car with ashtray.
This book has been around for almost a decade and has garnered over a thousand reviews on Amazon. Coming to it new in 2020, it's hard to measure it against the literary world as it was in 2011. We've had a hundred TV shows and films that have explored the serial killer genre with the Behavioural Analysis Unit of the FBI. I've lost count of the books I've read with a similar theme. When it was first published, it must have done well against the competition of its time (No Kindle for instance). Today it feels 'ordinary' and doesn't offer anything new. The plot is well-developed, but we expect so much more from our characters these days - because we have so many more reference points for comparison. In today's world this is a 3* OK book, but maybe in 2011 I would have wrestled between 4* and 5*. Times change.
The description held promise of a good story. The FBI BAU team is called to a site with ten dead bodies, and one unused, already prepared grave. Most of the story is told by the lead character in this series, Brandon Fisher, and this is his first assignment with the BAU. I would describe this as a very suspenseful police procedural, as the team first tries to how a man already in prison could be responsible for the 10th victim at the site. The process of determining the “who, what, where, why, and how” drew me into the story. And the fact that it was done through hard investigative work made me appreciate the outcome. But what truly raised the level of this story for me was the villain. The character, even though merely written on the page, could raise the hair on my arms. As Brandon Fisher mentions in the epilogue, he will stick with me for a long time. If you are a fan of Criminal Minds, this could be right up your alley. It might make some readers squeamish.
Carolyn Arnold has written a lot more books than I have. She seems very supportive of other authors. I follow her on Twitter and read her tweets. She seems like a nice person. All of which means I really wanted to like her book, but I didn't. The concept of finding a whole series of hidden burial chambers under a house is great, and a whole bunch of the twists and turns of the novels were pretty good too. But what lost it for me was the characters themselves. I just didn't like Brandon Fisher. There was something that was just off about the relationship and dialogue between him and his colleagues. And there was more than once I thought Jack should have flat fired him. The book is basically readable, and like I said Arnold comes up with a very creepy killer, but the execution is just off. I didn't like the ending, the whole wind up thing seemed a little forced. I didn't like when she went into the mind of the killer, I thought it would be a lot more mysterious if we were left to wonder what he was thinking. And there were a few situations that I thought lacked plausibility. In the end I didn't hate this book, but I also wouldn't be excited to recommend it to people.
As a fellow Indie author, I picked up Eleven by Carolyn Arnold for two reasons: one, to support a fellow trailblazer and two, because this is my favorite genre.
I am SO glad that I did!
This mystery/thriller was very fast paced, written as if from the hands and mind of a former FBI agent! Carolyn's ability to layer the spellbinding suspense from one chapter to the next was fantastic. I found myself awake twice at 2:00 in the morning, on work nights no less, to finish.
The interplay between the central characters was devilishly detailed and just added the last hint of spice to make this wonderful serial killer recipe perfection. And the use of Brandon, the fresh-from-the-academy newbie, damaged goods and all, as the eyes with which to tell the story through was masterful!
If you love a high suspense, plot twists and break neck speeds for your reading pleasure, then I highly recommend you pick up your copy of Eleven today!
I had wanted to read this free kindle download for quite some time now. Needing a break from my usual historical romances, I chose to dive right in. The story was a bit difficult to read starting out. Had Goodreads not told me this was the first in this series, I would have thought it was the second or third. I thought the characters had connection, but it seemed like obvious connections I'd missed. Also, the narrative was a bit choppy for me at times. Once I got used to the author's style, I was able to follow along much easier.
When it came to the story itself, I was intrigued and liked the potential this novel had. Yet, toward the middle/end I found it dragging a bit and was ready for them to say whodunit. Even though, I had pretty much discovered where the path was headed long before it was revealed.
Overall, I'm glad I took a break and read this book. I'm not sure that I'd read more from this author in the future.