This debut by Ms. Compton was a very good read. The story features detective Sarah Pribeck, a seasoned detective in missing persons, set in Hennepin County, ends up investigating a possible crime that is personal. The story slowly unfolds when her husband, Mike Shiloh, of two months turns up missing. Her partner and mentor Genevieve Brown is on personal leave due to her daughter’s murder, leaving Sarah to track down her missing husband alone. Sarah has very few clues about Shiloh since he was a loner and estranged from his family. What little she does learn through her investigation leads her to a painful family secret.
THEY SAY THAT AFTER 36 HOURS,
IT’s NEARLY IMPOSSIBLE TO FIND A MISSING PERSON…
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….
THE 37th HOUR
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.
There is quite a lot of back-story that may put some readers off. However, this is a debut of a new series and the author takes her time introducing her characters and fleshing them out quite a bit while telling an intriguing story. We learn more about Genevieve’s only daughter, Kamareia and her close relationship to Sarah and Shiloh. Kamareia was raped and murdered and due to a legal technicality, the murderer was set free. Sarah’s had to live with that since she was the last one who was with Kamareia in the ambulance that fateful day.
Meanwhile, Genevieve’s grief at times is very zombie like. It’s also frustrating for Sarah since she’s trying to help her as best she can but at the same she avoids her because she feels guilty about Kamareia. We also learn quite a bit about the missing husband, Mike Shiloh himself. Sarah and Shiloh first meet at an airport bar that leads to a one-night stand. No last names. Both vulnerable. Sarah had just come back from her father’s funeral and Mike had just gotten out of a “very wrong affair.” A few months pass and they meet up again on a narcotics bust to each other’s chagrin–realizing that they both are cops– they immediately avoid each other. Shiloh comes off often as being very standoffish and rude. For instance, when they first meet up again, Shiloh snubs her at a companionable basketball game between officers and seems to be uninterested in her despite their “secret” affair that neither acknowledges. Eventually they date and then marry. Shiloh is so guarded in his feelings that Sarah is often left in the dark about a lot of things in their relationship. When Shiloh turns up missing, Sarah takes on the case and realizes she knows very little about her husband or his life before he met her. Eventually she learns about a deeply buried family secret of the Shiloh’s that may or may not change the way she feels about her husband.
As a first person narrative, The 37th Hour was a very well written novel. I read and finished this book in less than two days. I thought this novel was more of a character-study and more of a set-up for the series so there’s very little suspense or even a mystery solve for that matter. There isn’t much violence here for those who are quite squeamish. The characters are likable. I thought Genevieve’s grief was at times very fustrating no matter how realistic in her zombie like actions, giving up on life since her daughter’s death. Sarah is a complex character. I loved that she was tall and an athlete who played basketball in college before becoming a cop. I liked Sarah Pribeck’s character and would love to learn more about her. I look forward to reading Sympathy Between Humans.
I highly recommend this debut novel.
Side Note: Also, I noticed on Amazon.com that the reviews are less than favorable but it seems to be a balance there of four and five and three star reviews which led me to believe that this novel wasn’t as bad as I had originally thought due to those reviews. I took the chance and bought the book to see how I would like it and lo and behold I enjoyed it very much.
[tags]Jodi Compton, The 37th Hour, Mystery Novel[/tags]