- Mass Market Paperback: 352 pages
- Publisher: Dell; Reprint edition (Jan. 25 2005)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0440241367
- ISBN-13: 978-0440241362
- Product Dimensions: 10.6 x 2.4 x 17.5 cm
- Shipping Weight: 136 g
- Average Customer Review: 17 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #4,235,504 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
The 37th Hour Mass Market Paperback – Jan 25 2005
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"THE 37th HOUR is not just a masterful debut novel. It is a flat-out masterful workof wrenching suspense. Jodi Compton is a fine, fine writer who will be around for a long time to come."
--New York Times bestselling author John Lescroart
"A dazzling debut about a missing-persons cop whose husband goes missing....Watch this writer. She does it all: plots intelligently, writes elegantly, and creates characters who compel attention the old-fashioned way--by making you believe them."
--Kirkus Reviews, Starred Review
"This is first-class, serious crime fiction."
"A very impressive debut.... Jodi Compton focuses as much on human frailty as on police procedure."
--The Charlotte Observer
"THE 37TH HOUR expands beyond the standard mystery to be a complex, multilayered exploration of morality and personal responsibility.... Satisfying."
--San Jose Mercury News
From the Hardcover edition.
From the Inside Flap
In a suspense novel of astounding power and depth, Jodi Compton unleashes a haunting tale of secrets and betrayal...and of one woman's search for her missing husband that spirals into a dark journey strewn with bitter truths and damged lives. Here debut novelist Compton introduces an extraordinary character: Detective Sarah Pribek, a woman of strength, complexity, and instinct, a woman caught in an unimaginable nightmare...<br><br><b>The 37th Hour</b><br><br>On a chilly Minnesota morning, Sarah comes home to the house she shares with her husband and fellow cop, Michael Shiloh. Shiloh was supposed to be in Virginia, starting his training with the FBI. A seasoned missing-persons investigator, Sarah is used to anxious calls from wives and parents. She's used to the innocent explanations that resolve so many of her cases. But from the moment she learns that he never arrived at Quantico, she feels a terrible foreboding. Now, beneath the bed in which they make love, Sarah finds Shiloh's neatly packed bag. And in that instant the cop in her knows: Her husband has disappeared.<br><br>Suddenly Sarah finds herself at the beginning of the kind of investigation she has made so often. The kind that she and her ex-partner, Genevieve, solved routinely -- until a brutal crime stole Genevieve's daughter and ended her career. The kind that pries open family secrets and hidden lives. For Sarah this investigation will mean going back to the beginning, to Shiloh's religion-steeped childhood in Utah, the rift that separated him from his family -- and the one horrifying case that struck them both too close to home. As Sarah turns over more and more unknown ground in her husband's past, she sees her lover and friend change into a stranger before her eyes. And as she moves further down a trail of shocking surprises and bitter revelations, Sarah is about to discover that her worst fear -- that Shiloh is dead -- may be less painful than what she will learn next...<br><br>In a novel of runaway tension, Jodi Compton masterfully weaves together the quiet details of everyday life with the moments that can shatter them forever. At once a beguiling mystery and a powerful rumination on family, friendship, and loss, <b>The 37th Hour</b> is a thriller that will catch you off guard at every turn -- instantly compelling and utterly impossible to put down.<br><br><br><i>From the Hardcover edition.</i>See all Product description
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Sarah Pribeck is a detective that cares about her job, finding missing persons. She has been out of a partner since Genevieve's daughter was raped and murdered and the killer got away on a technicality. Genevieve is having a really tough time dealing with her daughter's loss and Sarah finds herself disoriented when her husband, Shiloh, disappears on the weekend he was supposed to travel to Quantico, to start the FBI program as a new trainee. Through the first moments of the search we realize how important Genevieve is to Sarah, since the latter keeps going back to the tips and recommendations the former provided in the past. With the time running against her and without being able to convince Genevieve to help, Sarah finds herself taking a plunge into Shiloh's past in the search for clues to solve the mysterious disappearance, finding a myriad of things she did not know about the man she has been married to for two months.
There are several things that Compton does astoundingly well; for example the description of the characters and their emotions. I also find interesting the fact that the author focuses on creating a thriller with no romantic undertones; one can get tired of the formula used by many in which a female heroine is drawn to a "strong male" in the setting of a mystery thriller. Where I find a major flaw is in the way that the story is structured, the action keeps stopping for long intervals to go back to events from the past, which in my opinion severely cuts the intensity the book has. With the quality of her writing and the good development of the characters, the author can reach much higher heights that the one she achieved in this first novel.
Written in the first person perspective of Sarah Pribek, a detective with the Hennepin County sheriff's office, we meet a capable yet vulnerable woman. The reason for her vulnerability stems from the recent semi-retirement of her partner, mentor and friend Genevieve Brown. Genevieve had recently suffered a mother's worst nightmare when her daughter was raped and murdered. To make matters worse, the man who did it escaped punishment due to a legal technicality, a technicality that Sarah feels responsible for.
But that is just one sub-plot. The other main sub-plot involves her husband Mike Shiloh. Shiloh is also a cop who was working with the Minneapolis Police Department until he was recruited by the FBI. From early on it is established that he and Sarah are very much in love and go out of their way to show how much they care for each other. Which is why Sarah thought it was unusual when Shiloh left for Quantico without so much as a note to say goodbye. By this time it has also been established that Shiloh tends not to do the expected all the time, so Sarah is not particularly concerned.
It's only when the FBI ring to ask why Shiloh hasn't shown up that the alarm bells start to ring. Fortunately, Sarah happens to specialise in finding missing persons and immediately begins to track down his last known movements. What's not so fortunate for her peace of mind is her knowledge of the probability of finding a missing person alive after they've been missing for longer than 36 hours. The tension brought about from searching for her missing husband soon consumes all other thoughts and takes over the mood of the book.
Even though this is first and foremost a mystery story, it's main focus turns out to be about relationships. Starting with the husband and wife relationship displayed by Sarah and Shiloh. Although it appears strong at the start, and indeed it probably is, Sarah soon comes to the realisation that there is much about her husband she doesn't know. The next relationship spotlighted is the friendship forged as fellow police officers by Sarah and Genevieve. But this too is revealed to be fragile as Sarah fells she is unable to supply the support Genevieve needs in her grief. Finally there is a brother / sister relationship that is revealed towards the end of the book that holds secrets from Shiloh's past.
The way the book finished gave me the strong impression that this was the first of a series featuring Sarah Pribek. If this is the case then Jodi Compton will definitely be an author to look out for by readers who like a bit more depth to their characters.
Sarah's life is about to take another nightmarish turn. Her husband of two months, Michael Shiloh, is missing. He was supposed to have reported to the FBI Training Center at Quantico, Virginia, but he never arrived at his destination. Since Sarah has done missing persons work in the past, she takes personal leave to track her husband's movements just before he disappeared.
"The 37th Hour" is a strong first novel for Compton. It is crisply written and very fast-paced, with interesting details about how missing persons investigations are conducted. Sarah is a smart and dedicated cop and she is a sympathetic protagonist. The author vividly describes Sarah's efforts to remain objective while she is inwardly terrified that her husband may be injured or dead. As her investigation deepens, Sarah must face the fact that her husband may have been keeping a large part of his life secret from her.
The weakest element of the book is the ending, which suffers from the "startling revelations" syndrome. Too many authors write engrossing books in which the tension slowly builds, only to end their books with a series of far-out and melodramatic revelations and events. I was looking forward to the denouement of "The 37th Hour," and I was disappointed with the contrived and unsatisfying conclusion. A less sensational and more credible outcome would have worked better. Nonetheless, I loved Sarah Pribek and I think that Jodi Compton has a real feel for writing thrillers.
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