Australian crime novelist Katherine Howell, who worked as a paramedic for 15 years, brings firsthand experience to this detective novel.
Paramedic Sophie Phillips finds herself with a husband, a police officer, in the hospital from a gun injury and a 10-month-old child who has been abducted. Detective Ella Marconi leads the police search for the child, but Phillips attempts to find her child herself with the help of her husband’s partner.
Caroline Lee uses an Australian accent and a gruff, plainspoken delivery that helps to accentuate the grittiness of Frantic and its subject matter.
©2007 Katherine Howell; (P)2007 Bolinda Publishers Pty Ltd.
"A thrilling entry into the crime genre... This is a confident, well-explored and satisfying novel." (Good Reading Magazine)
SET REVIEWS TO BE SORTED BY 'MOST RECENT' INSTEAD OF 'MOST HELPFUL'!
Warning: As title implies, this is one thrillingly harrowing mystery....almost TOO thrilling! There were several times listening while driving when I felt like maybe I should pull over, it was so very very harrowing, and I'd be gasping, "No! Nooo!" while in heavy traffic. This is the first in the extremely well researched, carefully plotted and flawlessly written Australian Detective Ella Marconi series, and I cannot believe Audible is going to keep me in suspense by not offering Volume 2 (The Darkest Hour) and Volume 3 (Cold Justice)! Why on earth offer Volumes 1 and 4, but not 2 and 3?? Hopefully this mistake will be corrected soon!
Who will appreciate this book: Anyone who likes a cracking good mystery story; anyone with a background in medicine, police procedure and police investigative procedure or EMT/paramedic services; anyone with a strong stomach and not overly shocked by medical trauma cases, child endangerment, torture or murder.
What I especially appreciated: Caroline Lee's narration; Great writing and pacing; a very human and fallible detective who does NOT magically wrap up this messy case in a neat bow (by the book's end, Ella is left to reflect with satisfaction only on the return of a missing infant, but is forced to acknowledge that she and her fellow investigators did not actually solve the case independently so much as stumble over tracks left by others, that one man has committed suicide because of her negligence, and that she allowed one potential witness to be murdered right in front of her), and Britishisms (boot/trunk; dummy/pacifier) and Aussie-isms (tornikay/tourniquet; "frahkah"/fracas; antenatal/prenatal; crook/crippled) galore.
What could have been better: At one point, it is revealed that one female character (now a grandmother) once assisted a pregnant teenager in obtaining an abortion...and then both that woman and multiple other characters remark upon what a terrible thing she did. I found that objectionable (not the abortion, but the condemnation of the grandma for helping). Caroline Lee's usually flawless narration falters during a few brief instances in which she reads lines spoken by a frantic mother whose baby has just been stolen in too relaxed a way, and there are even a few times when I swear you can hear her clearing her throat, swallowing, or taking a sip of water. But overall she's magnificent and the quality of the audio only improves as the story progresses.
The heroine works as a paramedic and her husband is a cop. Following a traumatic incident her husband is rather distant and uncommunicative with her - this led to a weak moment and a night spent with one of her husband's colleagues. The feelings of guilt and the difficult situation she has to endure are really well described. However she is not the only one with guilty secrets and when her baby son is kidnapped the heroine becomes embroiled in taking matters into her own hands with unfortunate consequences. The action takes place in Australia and there is a strong sense of place - I like to read thrillers from other cultures for this very reason to get an idea of how it is to live in different climates and how it influences behaviour and so forth. I wouldn't say the plot was the most original I've ever read but it was convincing enough and well written. The narrator does a reasonable job and although she doesn't have an irritating voice she can sometimes read slightly on the slow side or at least fails to vary pace in accordance with the unfolding action.
On the whole an enjoyable experience. It is also the first in a series so I will probably try out later books to see if there is a marked improvement.
"an entertaining read"
Good story line, accurate details especially the ambulance/paramedic scenes. keeps you guessing. Great narration....caroline lee is one of my favourite narrators to listen to!
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