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The Zero Hour

3.73 of 5 stars 3.73  ·  rating details  ·  686 ratings  ·  64 reviews
A fasten-your-seatbelt suspense thriller that recalls Eye of the Needle and Day of the Jackal, Finder's latest novel is packed with realism and riveting insider detail. When a digitally encrypted, ominous telephone call is intercepted by the NSA's spy satellites, FBI Special Agent Sarah Cahill is summoned to investigate an impending terrorist attack on lower Manhattan.
Hardcover, 418 pages
Published May 1st 1996 by William Morrow & Company (first published 1996)
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Janie Johnson
I decided to buy, then read this book based on the synopsis and on the fact that this was also a new Author for me. I really like to try new authors to expand my reading horizons.

It was actually a very disappointing and boring read. What I read in the description never even happened in the book till more than halfway through it. I felt like the synopsis was very misleading. There was so much unnecessary back story and government explanations that I almost abandoned the book, but I kept on till I
Jane Stewart
2 ½ stars. No fun watching good guys make mistakes and being stupid. Too much lecturing about technical subjects.

This is a weak imitation of The Day of the Jackal. I loved Jackal. I did not enjoy Zero. Similarities: Someone hires the best of the best to do a job. In Jackal it’s kill the French President. In Zero it’s hack a bank and plant a bomb in NY City. In both books authorities learn something is going to happen but don’t know who will do it. In both books the authorities get closer and clo
Lori Henrich
Sarah Cahill is asked to head a task force to capture an unknown person or persons who might or might not be a threat to a major bank in New York. Very well written and it keeps you on your toes from the first page. I found a slight predictability during one section, but it didn't detract from the story as a whole.

A prisoner in South Africa is helped to escape to conduct a special job. The prisoner is known as the Prince of Darkness and is supposed to be the best at his job. His job is whatever
After one of FBI Special Agent Sarah Cahill's informants was found dead, Cahill feels obligated to solve her murder. Collected evidence leads into a even bigger case--a case that could affect the world's financial stability. Cahill is placed in charge of a special investigation to stop this threat.

Joseph Finder wrote a true thrillride with The Zero Hour--great characters, solid story and once it's over, you wish there was more.
I really like this author's writing. This book was written in 1996 and deals with counterterrorism. Since September 11th had not yet occurred, it manages to forecast without being knowing about what is going to happen. Don't misunderstand, it doesn't predict a 9/11 scenario, but the circumstances that allow it to happen are all there for us to read and shudder. Really good, really frightening.
Quentin Feduchin
Rather typical 'terrorist plot' type book, mostly about New York.
Goes into a lot of background of the protagonist; so we all know what he does and why he's doing this. These types of books generally set up the 'rather special terrorist' idea; which is not a bad idea. (Another recent novel, 'I am Pilgrim' by Hayes, also does it; maybe a bit better.)
Tons of how-to, how it was done, how you avoid this (detection) or find out that (more detection), very much a revenge novel, which you should know be
The Zero Hour, my 4th Joseph Finder novel, did not hold my attention as did Suspicion, Paranoia and High Crimes. The plot is complicated, the characters not especially likeable. Perhaps it was just my lack of interest in the book, but it seemed to take forever to finish reading it. I plan to read each of Finder's other nine novels and hope they will be more like the 3 mentioned above.
Zero Hour contained page after page of details that were not really necessary for the reader, unless the reader
I really like this author. The book is a little dated, but still excellent. A thriller.
Mal Warwick
Imagine a thriller set in New York City. It’s a story about an impending terrorist attack on Wall Street. The cast of characters includes a chameleon-like terrorist-for-hire reminiscent of Frederick Forsyth’s Jackal, a fugitive financier thirsting for revenge against the banker and the system that forced him to flee the U.S., a brilliant American investigator whose life is complicated by a jealous ex-husband and a precocious 8-year-old son, a prominent and wealthy banker with a taste for masochi ...more
I'm surprised that it took me so long to finish this book. I guess this just isn't my type of book.

The book is split up into two main POV's: the good guys (Sarah, FBI...) and the bad guys (Baumann). I actually found the bad guys' POV much more interesting than the wild goose chase at the other end. But even that interest wasn't enough to keep me from putting the book down. Only the drive of completing this book to start another one finally pushed me to finish this book.

Perhaps another reason wh
This book started out with great promise. An FBI agent, Sarah Cahill, must catch the "Prince of Darkness" before he commits an unspeakable act of terrorism in New York City. [Note this was published in 1996, before the 9-11 tragedy, but after the Trade Center bombing] The terrorist is a fascinating character, and Finder provides rich detail about how he manages to escape from a South African prison. The catch: the man who facilitated his escape has a job for him.

With sometimes excruciating deta
Joseph Finder- The Zero Hour (Avon Books 1997) 4 Stars

After a U.S. billionaire has been hunted by the U.S. government, he goes into hiding in Switzerland. Now he is striking back by hiring the Prince of Darkness to attack America. He is a deadly assassin and is the best at what he does. Agent Sarah Cahill of the FBI is searching for him and must find him before he accomplishes a mission that will send America back to the Stone Age. It will be the most challenging case she has ever had.

The first
I have to confess... I read this twice because I had forgotten that I read it the first time. It didn't take me long to remember it, however, and despite everything about the book rushing back to memory before the end of the first chapter, I decided not to quit. It's not often that I remember the endings of books--which I realize is weird. But really, I have a terrible habit of forgetting the major twists in just about every book I read. And if I do reread it, what tends to happen is, every word ...more
Not a bad 'wall street thriller'. Set in the world of international finance and the FBI's anti-terrorism division, this is a race against the clock story where an intrepid single mom FBI agent has to stop a plot to destroy the world financial system. A bitter billionaire wants to take down the world in revenge for the death of his wife and daughter. Some of the characters are a tad cardboard-ish but the plot itself is riveting.
David Graham
Like a lot of readers of thrillers, I enjoy the villains and part of me secretly wants them to win. I remember picking Zero Hour by Joseph Finder up in an airport bookshop in London and within a few pages knowing I was going to enjoy the book based on the villain’s introduction. Baumann (called ‘The Prince of Darkness’) was by far the best part of the novel for me, totally ruthless and eminently capable. Sarah Cahill, the heroine, falls for him while he is masquerading as something other than he ...more
This was at times a fast-paced read and at times a slog. The book was perhaps a hundred pages longer than it needed to be, and in the middle portion, I found myself checking how much farther I had to go.

Joseph Finder's talent is apparent in this, his first novel. He does best in the action sequences, moving the events along at a fast clip and doing a great job of sustaining tension. It is all the explanations that slow the book down. Some, given that the book was written in the late '90s, is un
Jan Mcclung-short
Hew! This book took my breath away. I couldn't breath normally the last about 10 chalters. It was unbelievable what was happening. Bombs, terrorists, a child hostage, FBI/CIA, NYC, and the kitchen sink. All these things just kept piling up and tbe stress and my blood pressure was sky high. I really don't know what to tell you except READ THIS BOOK! Its great.
I loved Sarah Cahill. She was all things; super mom, super agent, super friend, and a great lover. She was completely duped by The Prince of Darkness, yet, when she discovered who he was, she went after him with a vengeance. The scene when The Prince of Darkness had her son was scary, and the solution was believable. A very good read.
I must say Mr. Finder certainly knows how to do indepth research. The book moved right along carrying, I'm betting, most readers right into the knowledge of who our "Prince" is but not knowing just how it all would be handled. Also I did like the way he was portrayed as being fond of a couple of our characters here. The only problem really bothering me is a detail about a bomb at the very end. It bothered so much, I was forced to email the author and ask a question about it. After looking at man ...more
A melange of almost every thriller convention, well-constructed in a series of cliff-hangers. Doesn't quite have the originality of Forsyth nor the noir reality of Furst or the psychological insight of P.D. James at her best. I've read it twice, which is why I upgraded it to four stars.
I listened to the audio book, so had to hear every painful redundant, repetitive word. Ugh! This book was written in 1996 I believe, so it's extremely dated, especially when fully 7/8 of the book is a police/FBI/Interpol procedural. There's very little story tucked in between how these long-winded explanations on how the police DO things (or rather, how they DID them back then), and really, perhaps because I listened instead of read and couldn't just skim the boring parts, when we actually came ...more
It was a good story line, and a good read. But... often times it got way more technical than was really necessary. For those of us that understand the technology, we don't need the details, and those that don't, really don't care. Was not one of the best books by Joseph Finder.
(entered years later; read before Goodreads)

Probably enjoyed it.

Newmarket library.
like barry eisler, joseph finder does some excellent research for his books. and like barry eisler's books - i have a hard time reading them if they're dated. all that research about anti-terrorism, different levels of government, etc. was done prior to 9/11 (as was the book, obvs). so while normally i'd enjoy the level the detail, i just couldn't finish it. too out of date, and the characters and overall story line just weren't enough to carry me over all the useless - and no longer true - deta ...more
A story of revenge. A cook wants to destroy Wall Street as a payback. FBI Agent Sarah Cahill has to stop him. It is her job to identify the Prince of Darkness who has the job to cripple Wall Street and in turn, destroy the US economy.

A good story and well worth a read.
A financier hires a man called the Prince of Darkness to get revenge on the US banking system. His motive has come about because federal marshalls killed his wife and daughter in a raid and put him in a wheelchair for life. This is a highly technical book about devices used in tracking down the terrorist hired to do the job. There was little too much of that detail or I would have rated it 4 stars. The pace picks up in the latter part of story and becomes quite interesting.
This is a fast-paced thriller and I had a hard time putting it down. This is a good look at international terrorism and national security before 9-11. There are many references to the first World Trade Center bombing and what happened in Oklahoma City. So, the the book isn’t wrong, it’s just that the world, especially the US, has changed.

there's more on my blog
It has an interesting enough premise, and starts out quite promising, but my my, is this a tedious book - I really struggled to finish it, and did so only because I'm a little OCD about unfinished books. While far from the worst thriller I've read (and I have read a lot of 'm), this is not recommended. As this is the only Joseph Finder book I've read, I have no idea whether his other books are any better, but I am reluctant to find out.
Really quite over the top with dated technical detail. Snore.
Doug Branscombe
I liked the story but the way it was written didn't suck me in like some of the better books I've read, including more recent ones by Finder. The backdrop to the story is a terror plot aimed at crippling Wall Street, physically with a bomb and cyber-wise by wreaking havoc with computer system at the hub for global transfer of funds. About halfway through the pace picks up, it was just a struggle for me to get to that point.
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Joseph Finder’s plan was to become a spy. Or maybe a professor of Russian history. Instead he became a bestselling thriller writer, and winner of the Strand Critics Award for Best Novel for BURIED SECRETS (2011), winner of the International Thriller Writers Award for Best Novel for KILLER INSTINCT (2006) and winner of the Barry and Gumshoe Awards for Best Thriller for COMPANY MAN (2005).

Born in C
More about Joseph Finder...
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