Eleventh Hour by Catherine CoulterEleventh Hour by Catherine Coulter

Eleventh Hour

byCatherine Coulter

Mass Market Paperback | June 24, 2003

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When FBI agent Dane Carver's twin brother, Father Michael Joseph, is brutally murdered in his San Francisco church, husband-and-wife agents Lacey Sherlock and Dillon Savich take a personal interest in the investigation. Then Nicola "Nick" Jones, a homeless woman and the only witness to the shooting, is scared out of her mind because she's trying to hide from her own monsters-who are drawing closer and closer.

The chase goes from San Francisco to the Premiere Studios in Los Angeles and its new television hit, a show all about murder.

Catherine Coulter is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of the FBI Thrillers featuring husband and wife team Dillon Savich and Lacey Sherlock. She is also the author—with J. T. Ellison—of the Brit in the FBI series. She lives in Sausalito, California.
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Title:Eleventh HourFormat:Mass Market PaperbackPublished:June 24, 2003Publisher:Penguin Publishing GroupLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0515135739

ISBN - 13:9780515135732

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Reviews

Rated 1 out of 5 by from Eleventh Hour Plot of mystery good. Story telling good until the appearance of Savich & Sherlock. Once they appear, there is too much cloyingly cutesy lovey-dovey dialogue. Have read 3 of Catherine Coulters Savich & Sherlock books-- that is at least 2 too many. Will not make that mistake again.
Date published: 2015-05-01
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Terrific I love all of Catherine Coulters books and find them a must read. I don't want to put them down when I am reading one. Just wish she wrote more per year.
Date published: 2015-03-18

Read from the Book

S A N F R A N C I S C ONick sat quietly in the midnight gloom of the nave,hunched forward, her head in her arms resting on the pewin front of her. She was here because Father MichaelJoseph had begged her to come, had begged her to let himhelp her. The least she could do was talk to him, couldn’tshe? She’d wanted to come late, when everyone else wasalready home asleep, when the streets were empty, andhe’d agreed, even smiled at her. He was a fine man, kindand loving toward his fellow man and toward God.Would she wait? She sighed at the thought. She’d givenher word, he’d made her give her word, known somehowthat it would keep her here. She watched him walk over tothe confessional, watched with surprise as his step suddenlylagged, and he paused a moment, his hand reachingfor the small handle on the confessional door. He didn’twant to open that door, she thought, staring at him. He18882_ch01.qxd 4/15/03 5:19 AM Page 1didn’t want to go in. Then, at last, he seemed to straighten,opened the door and stepped inside.Again, there was utter silence in the big church. The airitself seemed to settle after Father Michael Joseph steppedinto that small confined space. The deep black shadowsweren’t content to fill the corners of the church, they evencrept down the center aisle, and soon she was swallowedup in them. There was a patch of moonlight comingthrough the tall stained-glass windows.It should have been peaceful, but it didn’t feel that way.There was something else in the church, something thatwasn’t restful, that wasn’t remotely spiritual. She fidgetedin the silence.She heard one of the outer church doors open. She turnedto see the man who was going to make his midnight confessionwalk briskly into the church. He looked quite ordinary,slender, with a long Burberry raincoat and thick dark hair.She watched him pause, look right and left, but he didn’t seeher, she was in the shadows. She watched him walk to theconfessional where Father Michael Joseph waited, watchedhim open the confessional door and slip inside.Again, silence and shadows hovered around her. Shewas part of the shadows now, looking out toward the confessionalfrom the dim, vague light. She heard nothing.How long did a confession take? Being a Protestant, shehad no idea. There must be, she thought, some correlationbetween the number and severity of the sins and the lengthof the confession. She started to smile at that, but it quicklyfell away.She felt a rush of cold air over her, covering her for along moment before it moved on. How very odd, shethought, and pulled her sweater tighter around her.She looked again at the altar, perhaps seeking inspiration,some sort of sign, and felt ridiculous.After Father Michael Joseph had finished, what was shesupposed to do? Let him take her hand in his big warmones, and tell him everything? Sure, like she’d ever let thathappen. She continued to look up at the altar, its flowingshape blurred in the dim light, the shadows creeping aboutits edges, soft and otherworldly.Maybe Father Michael Joseph wanted her to sit herequietly with nothing and no one around her. She thought inthat moment that even though he wanted her to talk to him,he wanted her to speak to God more. But there were noprayers inside her. Perhaps there were, deep in her heart,but she really didn’t want to look there.So much had happened, and yet so little. Women shedidn’t know were dead. She wasn’t. At least not yet. Hehad so many resources, so many eyes and ears, but for nowshe was safe. She realized sitting there in the quiet churchthat she was no longer simply terrified as she’d been twoand a half weeks before. Instead she’d become watchful.She was always studying the faces that passed her on thestreet. Some made her draw back, others just flowed overher, making no impact at all, just as she made no impact onthem.She waited. She looked up at the crucified Christ, felt astrange mingling of pain and hope fill her, and waited. Theair seemed to shift, to flatten, but the silence remained absolute,without even a whisper coming from the confessional.Inside the confessional, Father Michael Joseph drew aslow, deep breath to steady himself. He didn’t want to seethis man again, not ever again, for as long as he lived.When the man had called Father Binney and told him hecould only come this late—he was terribly sorry, but itwasn’t safe for him, and he had to confess, he just hadto—of course Father Binney had said yes. The man toldFather Binney he had to see Father Michael Joseph, no oneelse, and of course Father Binney had again said yes.Father Michael Joseph was very afraid he knew why theman had come again. He’d confessed before, acted contrite—a man in pain, a man trying to stop killing, a manseeking spiritual help. The second time he’d come, he’dconfessed yet again to another murder, gone through theritual as if he’d rehearsed it, saying all the right words, butFather Michael Joseph knew he wasn’t contrite, that—thatwhat? That for some reason Father Michael Josephcouldn’t fathom, the man wanted to gloat, because the manbelieved there was nothing the priest could do to stop him.Of course Father Michael Joseph couldn’t tell Father Binneywhy he didn’t want to see this evil man. He’d never reallybelieved in human evil, not until the unimaginedhorror of September 11th, and now, when this man hadcome to him for the first time a week and a half ago, thenlast Thursday, and now again tonight, at nearly midnight.Father Michael Joseph knew in his soul that the man wasevil, without remorse, with no ability to feel his own, oranother’s, humanity. He wondered if the man had ever felttruly sorry. He doubted it. Father Michael Joseph heard theman breathing in the confessional across from him, andthen the man spoke, his voice a soft, low monotone, “Forgiveme, Father, for I have sinned.”He’d recognize that voice anywhere, had heard it in hisdreams. He didn’t know if he could bear it. He said finally,his voice thin as the thread hanging off his shirt cuff,“What have you done?” He prayed to God that he wouldn’thear words that meant another human being was dead.The man actually laughed, and Father Michael Josephheard madness in that laugh. “Hello to you, too, Father.Yes, I know what you’re thinking. You’re right, I killed thepathetic little prick; this time I used a garrote. Do youknow what a garrote is, Father?”“Yes, I know.”“He tried to get his hands beneath it, you know, to try toloosen it, to relieve the pressure, but it was nice strongwire. You can’t do anything against wire. But I eased upjust a bit, to give him some hope.”“I hear no contrition in your voice, no remorse, only satisfactionthat you committed this evil. You have done thisbecause it pleased you to do it—”The man said in a rich, deep, sober voice, “But youhaven’t heard the rest of my tale, Father.”“I don’t want to hear anything more out of your mouth.”The man laughed, a deep, belly-rolling laugh. FatherMichael Joseph didn’t say a word. It was cold and stuffy inthe confessional, hard to breathe, but his frock stuck to hisskin. He smelled himself in that sweat, smelled his dread,his fear, his distaste for this monster. Dear Lord, let thisfoul creature leave now, leave and never come back.“Just when he thought he had pulled it loose enough sohe could breathe, I jerked it tight, really fast, you know,and it sliced right through his fingers all the way to thebone. He died with his damned fingers against his ownneck. Grant me absolution, Father. Did you read the papers,Father? Do you know the man’s name?”Father Michael Joseph knew, of course he knew. He’dwatched the coverage on television, read it in the Chronicle.“You murdered Thomas Gavin, an AIDS activist who’sdone nothing but good in this city.”“Did you ever sleep with him, Father?”He wasn’t shocked, hadn’t been shocked by anything forthe past twelve years, but he was surprised. The man hadnever taken this tack before. He said nothing, just waited.“No denial? Stay silent, if you wish. I know you didn’tsleep with him. You’re not gay. But the fact is, he had todie. It was his time.”“There is no absolution for you, not without true repentance.”“Why am I not surprised you feel that way? ThomasGavin was just another pathetic man who needed to leavethis world. Do you want to know something, Father? Hewasn’t really real.”“What do you mean he wasn’t really real?”“Just what I said. He didn’t really ever exist, you know?He wasn’t ever really here—he just existed in his own littleworld. I helped him out of his lousy world. Do you knowhe contracted AIDS just last year? He just found out aboutit. He was going nuts. But I saved him, I helped him out ofeverything, that’s all. It was a rather noble thing for me todo. It was sort of an assisted suicide.”“It was vicious, cold-blooded murder. It was real, andnow a man of flesh and blood is dead. Because of you.Don’t try to excuse what you did.”“Ah, but I was giving you a metaphor, Father, not an excuse.Your tone is harsh. Aren’t you going to give me mypenance? Maybe have me say a million Hail Marys? Perhapshave me score my own back with a whip? Don’t youwant me to plead with you to intercede with God on mybehalf, beg for my forgiveness?”“A million Hail Marys wouldn’t get you anywhere.” FatherMichael leaned closer, nearly touched that evil,smelled the hot breath of that man. “Listen to me now. Thisis not a sacramental confession. You believe that I ambound by silence, that anything anyone tells me can go nofarther than the confessional. That is not true. You have notmade a sacramental confession; you are not contrite, youseek no spiritual absolution, and I am not bound to silence.I will discuss this with my bishop. However, even if he disagreeswith me, I am prepared to leave the priesthood if Ihave to. Then I will tell the world what you have done. Iwon’t allow this to continue.”“You would really turn me over to the cops? That is veryimpassioned of you, Father. I see that you are seriouslypissed. I didn’t know there was a loophole in your vow ofsilence. I had wanted you to be forced to beg and plead andthreaten, but realize you’re helpless and let it eat you alive.But how can anyone predict someone’s behavior, afterall?”“They’ll throw you in an institution for the rest of yourmiserable life.”The man smothered a laugh, managed a credible sigh,and said, laughing, “You mean to imply that I’m insane,Father?”“No, not just insane. I think you’re a psychopath—ah, Ibelieve the politically correct word is sociopath, isn’t it?Doesn’t make it sound so evil, so without conscience. Itdoesn’t matter, whatever you are, it’s worse than anythingdoctors could put a tag to. You don’t give a damn aboutanybody. You need help, although I doubt anyone couldhelp the sickness in you. Will you stop this insanity?”“Would you like to shoot me, Father?”“I am not like you. But I will see that you are stopped.There will be an end to this.”“I fear I can’t let you go to the cops, Father. I’m tryingnot to be angry with you for not behaving as you should.All right. Now I’m just mildly upset that you aren’t behavingas you’re supposed to.”“What are you talking about—I’m not acting like I’msupposed to?”“It’s not important, at least it isn’t for you. Do you knowyou’ve given me something I’ve never had before in mylife?”“What?”“Fun, Father. I’ve never had so much fun in my life. Except,maybe, for this.”He waited until Father Michael Joseph looked towardhim through the wire mesh. He fired point-blank, rightthrough the priest’s forehead. There was a loud poppingsound, nothing more because he’d screwed on a silencer.He lowered the gun, thoughtful now because FatherMichael Joseph had slumped back against the wooden confessionalwall, his head up, and he could see his faceclearly. There was not even a look of surprise on thepriest’s face, just a flash of something he couldn’t reallyunderstand. Was it compassion? No, certainly not that. Thepriest despised him, but now he was shackled for all eternity,without a chance for him to go to the police, no opportunityfor him even to take the drastic step of leavingthe priesthood. He was silent forever. No loophole now.Now Father Michael Joseph didn’t have to worry abouta thing. His tender conscience couldn’t bother him. Wasthere a Heaven? If so, maybe Father Michael Joseph waslooking down on him, knowing there was still nothing hecould do. Or maybe the priest was hovering just overhead,over his own body, watching, wondering.“Good-bye, Father, wherever you are,” he said, and rose.He realized, as he eased out of the confessional andcarefully closed the narrow wooden door, that the look onthe Father’s face—he’d looked like he’d won. But thatmade no sense. Won what? The good Father had justbought the big one. He hadn’t won a damned thing.There was no one in the church, not that he expectedthere to be. It was dead silent. He would have liked it ifthere had been a Gregorian chant playing softly. But no,there was nothing, just the echo of his own footsteps on thecold stones.What did that damned priest have to look happy about?He was dead, for God’s sake.He walked quickly out of St. Bartholomew’s Church,paused a moment to breathe in the clean midnight air, andcraned his neck to look up at the brilliant star-studded sky.A very nice night, just like it was supposed to be. Notmuch of a moon, but that was all right. He would sleepvery well tonight. He saw a drunk leaning against a skinnyoak tree set in a small dirt plot in the middle of the sidewalk,just across the street, his chin resting on his chest—not the way it was supposed to be, but who cared? The guyhadn’t heard a thing.There would be nothing but questions with no answersfor now, since the cops wouldn’t have a clue. The priesthad made him do things differently, and that was too bad.But it was all close enough.But the look on the priest’s face, he didn’t like to thinkabout that, at least not now.He whistled as he walked beneath the streetlight on Fillmore,then another block to where he’d parked his car,squeezed it between two small spaces, really. This was aresidential area and there was little parking space.

Editorial Reviews

"VINTAGE COULTER: exciting, enthralling and totally mesmerizing." -BookBrowser

"Fast-paced romantic [and] suspenseful." -Booklist