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Thursday, May 10, 2007

Frantic by Katherine Howell

The second debut Australian crime novel to be released in May (launched last weekend, actually) is Frantic by Katherine Howell (pub. Pan Macmillan).

Howell was an ambulance officer for 15 years and has used that experience in Frantic to great effect. The start of the book flies along in a blur of emergency-induced activity as the paramedic protagonist Sophie Phillips and her partner are called to a series of accidents and other jobs that ambulances frequently attend.

It felt like an episode of ER and was completely absorbing.

On top of all that drama comes an even graver situation when Sophie's husband is shot on their front doorstep and her 10 month old son is abducted. Suddenly this becomes an emotionally harrowing story in which a mother's anguish is captured and conveyed in vivid detail.

In short, this is a top-drawer debut and well worth checking out.

There's already a second book by Katherine Howell in the works featuring the police detective introduced in Frantic. Detective Ella Marconi will be seen again in 2008 in Panic.

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