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Frantic by Katherine Howell

Frantic (edition 2012)

by Katherine Howell

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7113168,809 (3.68)6
Authors:Katherine Howell
Info:Bolinda Audio (2012), Edition: Unabridged, Audio CD
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Frantic by Katherine Howell



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Frantic is the first novel in the Ella Marconi detective series. I think that Katherine has an excellent writing style and she clearly knows her subject when it comes to writing medical jargon having come from a medical background herself and working as a paramedic.

What was immediately apparent to me though was that although the series is about Ella Marconi, Ella herself is not the dominant female character in the book and I'm not sure whether that is deliberate. I almost forgot about Ella and was more interested in Sophie, the paramedic whose husband Chris, a police officer is shot and whose son is abducted possibly murdered. On the basis that this was the first book and Ella was going to return I would have expected her to be the dominant female character, but maybe I just got wrapped up in the story and wanted to find out what had happened to baby Lachlan which is probably no bad thing as it kept me reading. I thought the twist at the end was great. There were a couple of loose ends I would have liked to see tied up.

I actually started this book a few weeks back and for one reason or another did not have the time to get further than about page 60. The main action starts from around page 83 so there is a lot of build up to the shooting but I read the rest of the book in one sitting so that's a good recommendation! ( )
  CeliaConrad | Mar 31, 2014 |
I chose to read the first Ella Marconi book both to fulfill my remaining obligations in the 2013 Global Reading Challenge (just a handful of books to go to reach the expert level) and because I’ve read a number of glowing reviews on other crime fiction blog posts and comment threads. I really need to keep track where I read these recommendations in order to give proper credit: a goal for 2014.

While this book is called the first in the Ella Marconi series (Ella is a detective with the Sidney police), it feels like the majority of the book belongs to Sophie, a paramedic and mother of an infant, who goes about her work day and deals with her husband Chris, a police officer suffering from post traumatic stress after being assaulted on the job. Before the central crime in the book occurs I am worn out as we follow Sophie on her shift. The investigation in the book centers around the shooting of Chris and the abduction of their son, which also ramps up the tension in the novel.

Ella herself is a detective bemoaning her lack of interesting cases as the novel begins (she’s been a bit stymied because of her abruptness to a superior on a prior case), but those complaints are short-lived. Ella begins to uncover police corruption, and that arc I assume will be played out in the subsequent novels. I don’t know too much about Ella yet, but she’s an interesting, capable character, which is refreshing.

Frantic is a plot heavy book, which makes it difficult to review much beyond this point. It’s a brisk read with a galloping ending, and I’m excited to read the next book in the series.
  rkreish | Oct 30, 2013 |
This is the first book in the Ella Marconi, a police detective in Sydney, series. But in this story she is not the protagonist. This role falls to Sophie Phillips, a paramedic married to a police officer, and a mother. When her husband is shot and her infant son disappears her life is turned upside down and this is the story of this book.

It's an enjoyable and easy read. But being the first in a series I was expecting more from, and about, Ella Marconi. ( )
  Balthazar-Lawson | Jun 2, 2013 |
A fast paced debut novel from an Australian writer set in my home town of Sydney. The story of an a paramedic whose baby is kidnapped and her frantic attempts to find him. Her husband, a policeman knows something he shouldn't and the two plots become intertwined. gripping and absorbing - hopefully the first in a long series ( )
  cscott | Jun 1, 2013 |
Wow – what a great debut thriller – this was a real page turner for me the suspense was unrelenting.
Sophie Phillips is a paramedic in Sydney, Australia. Not only is her work high stress with a non-stop pace – but her home life is just as busy with a baby boy and policeman husband, Chris
The book opens right in the middle of the action – a bank robbery, the seventh, in a series has occurred and a guard is down. Sophie and her partner Mick are called to attend but are unable to save the guard. Almost immediately they are called to the emergency birth of a child – only to have the mother and baby die. Not a good day. There is not much support at home either, Chris and Sophie are having problems, and Sophie is riddled with guilt because she has had a one-night stand with her husband’s partner, Angus.

The next day everything changes – the police receive an anonymous tip off that point the bank robberies at corrupt police, Chris is critically shot on his front doorstep and baby Lachlan is kidnapped. While Chris is in hospital fighting for his life, and now suspected of being linked to the bank robberies, the police search for the baby swings into action.

Sophie’s distress causes her to to frantically search for her son – going against police advice. Her anguish is heartbreakingly real. Sophie thinks she knows who has her baby and is determined to bring them to justice herself, because she doesn’t think the police are trying hard enough. Meanwhile Chris, recuperating in hospital, thinks that it is something he has done that has caused the baby to disappear – can he do something to get his baby back?

Detective Ella Marconi is assigned the case – trying to link all the pieces of the puzzle together – and stop Sophie from hindering in the investigation.

Is there nothing a mother under the pump won’t do to get her child back?

There are a few threads to the story but it is all go, go go! The book picks you up and doesn’t let you go until the explosive end when all the red herrings melt away and the truth comes out. Author, Katherine Howell, was a worthy nominee for the 2008 Ned Kelly award for best first novel. She has got the strong pull of motherhood to the T – and I very much related to Sophie and understood her reactions – takes a lot of talent to provoke such sympathy from me for a character in a book. Is very good, and I am looking forwards to the next book THE DARKEST HOUR which has been released – and a third is not too far away. Katherine Howell is an author to look out for.

STOP PRESS: FRANTIC has just won a Davitt Award for best crime novel by an Australian Author – Way to go Katherine!!
  sally906 | Apr 3, 2013 |
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"In one terrible moment, paramedic Sophie Phillips's life is torn apart her police officer husband, Chris, is shot on their doorstep and their ten-month-old son, Lachlan, is stolen from his bed. The police suspect Chris is involved with a number of armed hold-ups and that the attack is revenge for his desire to distance himself from the robberies, but Sophie believes the attack is much more personal and the perpetrator far more dangerous. While Chris is in hospital and the police, led by Detective Ella Marconi, are moving heaven and earth to find their colleague's child, Sophie's desperation to make amends compels her to search for Lachlan herself. She enlists her husband's partner, Angus Arendson, in her hunt for her son, but will the history they share prove harmful to Sophie's ability to complete her mission? And could one dangerous decision cause Sophie to ultimately lose everything important in her life?"--Provided by publisher.… (more)

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