Frantic by Katherine Howell
Pan Books, 2008 (originally published 2007)
Ella Marconi book 1
Source: I bought my copy.
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.