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SUNDAY, APRIL 17, 2005
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SYMPATHY BETWEEN HUMANS. By Jodi Compton. Delacorte, 372 pages, $22, hardcover.
Police officer faces ethical dilemmas

By Alice M. Evans
Special to THE DAILY

The public holds a police officer to a higher standard than the average person, as do officers themselves. Author Jodi Compton does an excellent job of placing Hennepin County Sheriff's Detective Sarah Pribek in ethical dilemmas that force her to choose between the black and white of the law and the many convoluted gray areas of real life.

Detective Pribek is a veteran officer who is exceptionally well developed by Compton. The reader will build a kindred relationship as she is faced with personal and professional situations.

Compton masterfully leads the reader down the plot's Celtic knot of twists and turns. When you think the plot will turn left, it takes a sharp right. Sarah crosses one ethical line after another as she follows her heart to provide real-life justice to those who cross her path. Her adventures do not always turn out the way the reader hopes, just as real life is not predictable.

The book begins as Sarah herself is being investigated for a murder in rural Minnesota. Her husband, a former officer, is in prison for his small part in the murder. Her former partner, who could help her, is an ocean away creating a new life.

Some officers think that she is guilty and actually give her kudos for killing the man who raped and murdered her partner's daughter. Others shun her because they think she crossed the line.

Working on seemingly insignificant cases while under investigation, simple and straightforward situations test Sarah's scruples. Her decisions could make or break the very people she is trying to help. With unpredictable twists and turns at every corner, Compton weaves a compelling story that is well worth a reader's time.

Jodi Compton is also the author of "The 37th Hour."

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