Detective Sarah Pribek returns to find herself a suspect in a murder case she doesn’t dare solve.
Sarah’s brother officers in the Hennepin County (Minn.) Sheriff’s Department think the case needs solving, but Sarah knows better. And because she knows exactly who snuffed Royce Stewart, quintessential lowlife, her options are limited to a buttoned lip, coupled with the sort of low-grade law-enforcement effort that could easily be tabbed obstruction of justice. Meanwhile, a second investigation demands the very best of Sarah: her sleuthing smarts, her tenacity, and, above all, her nonstop empathy. Marlinchen Hennessy, the 17-year-old daughter of a famous novelist, begs Sarah to search for her twin brother, missing for five years. Police departments in two states, Marlinchen insists, have been less than energetic on Aidan’s behalf. In part, Sarah soon discovers, that’s because Marlinchen has been less than forthcoming with pertinent information. The Hennessy household is full of dark secrets, hidden animosities, and the lurking potential for violence. Sarah treads carefully around this familial minefield, but, as it turns out, not carefully enough. When the threatened explosion finally comes, Sarah is its detonator. In its aftermath, however, comes a kind of redemption.
A drift toward melodrama keeps this sequel from quite measuring up to Sarah’s debut (The 37th Hour, 2003), but that’s carping: Compton is clearly the goods.