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Cross-Examining Nancy Grace on The Eleventh Victim

August 12, 2009

Before I begin the questioning, I should confess that I have not read Nancy Grace’s novel The Eleventh Victim, out this week from Hyperion. However, I have read the excerpt that MSNBC recently posted. Inspired by Grace’s careless handling and prosecutorial twisting of facts, I will treat this excerpt as sufficient evidence for the argument that The Eleventh Victim is a truly terrible book that no sentient being should ever read.

I’ve also been inspired by the complete lack of decorum and the utter disrespect for human dignity that Nancy Grace displays on her television show. So I’d like to ask the author a few questions about her book, in a manner befitting her TV interviewing style. I will hurl a barrage of loaded, accusatory, mean-spirited “questions,” and I will leave no time whatsoever for the interviewee (i.e., punching bag) to respond.

Question 1: Ms. Grace, how do you justify the overwritten and arguably mixed metaphor “The piercing eruption of a telephone…” as the very first phrase of Chapter 1? If you must load your prose with adjectives, why not just write “the piercing ring,” instead of asking the reader to accept that the blunt force of an eruption could pierce anything?

Question 2: Why do you force the otherwise omniscient narrator to guess that “it was probably Fincher” on the other end of the phone call? Don’t you really mean to say that Hailey Dean, your protagonist, assumes that Fincher is calling her?

And whom did you frighten into giving you a book deal?

Question 3: You refer to criminals as “devils” and informants as “rats.” Even as you’re supposedly sympathizing with the serial killer’s victims, all prostitutes, you refer to them as “streetwalkers” and “junkies chasing johns for a hit of crack.” At what point in your life did you lose the ability to grasp the real world’s nuances and complexities? Can you describe for us what your black-and-white fantasy world looks like?

Seriously, did you kidnap an associate editor at Hyperion and demand a contract as ransom?

Question 4: In introducing the character Leola Williams, why do you write wistfully about the South in the 1950s? I’m sure you’ll claim to be referring only to the lost era’s more refined etiquette—from which you could learn a thing or two for your show, by the way. But shouldn’t you be more wary about celebrating an era when some serial killers wore police badges by day and white robes by night? Do you really want to go down that road?

Shouldn’t you, of all people, know it’s a crime to abduct a mid-level publishing house employee and demand payment for her safe return?

Question 5: You portray Judge Albert Grimes as a defendant-loving, Ivy League pantywaist who conspires with defense attorneys to cook up lenient deals for even the worst of criminals. Here’s my question: Do you have several different soapboxes that allow you to color-coordinate with your outfits, or do you stick with one or two neutral colors? Also, how is it that someone who so clearly hates the American justice system ends up pursuing a career in the American justice system?

Did you force your Hyperion hostage to do some ghost writing on The Eleventh Victim before letting her go in exchange for the book deal? If so, it’s probably good she has a day job.

No further questions. Closing statement: Reading even a brief excerpt of Nancy Grace’s The Eleventh Victim is cruel and unusual punishment.      

2 Comments
  1. michellefrommadison permalink
    April 8, 2010 2:29 am

    Her book is a good testament to the struggles of an alcoholic drug user. Course, I haven’t read it or will read it, but it is symbolic of how she deals with her addiction issues.

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