Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Frantic by Katherine Howell

What would you do if you were accused of killing a man's family, then found out your husband was shot and your baby was kidnapped while you were at work? Sophie Phillips faces this very situation in Frantic, Australian writer Katherine Howell's first novel. Sophie is an ambulance officer, and her husband, Chris, is a cop. He was assaulted by a perp several weeks before the book opens, and since then, he's shown signs of post traumatic stress disorder and worries about the reputation of the police department. The incident has put a lot of stress on their marriage and pushed Sophie into the arms of her husband's new partner, Angus.

Frustrated by the lack of movement in her career following an embarrassing moment on a homicide case years ago, Detective Ella Marconi is happy to be working the Phillips case. Meanwhile, Sophie's frustration about Marconi's inability to find her son forces her to take matters into her own hands, with the help of Angus. Is Lachlan's kidnapping tied to a grieving father or police corruption?

Howell has written a fast-paced crime novel that reminds me of James Patterson, though Howell's writing is much better in my opinion. She introduces a lot of characters that may or may not be involved in the shooting and kidnapping and keeps you wondering until nearly the end. As a former ambulance officer, Howell has experience treating patients in the field and working with police, and this experience shows in her writing.

Without giving anything away, when the people responsible for the shooting and kidnapping are revealed, it almost seemed to come out of nowhere, and the ending was wrapped up a bit too quickly for me. However, it made sense and didn't impact my enjoyment of the book. Howell did a wonderful job portraying a woman so plagued with guilt about the mistakes she made in her marriage and so distraught about her missing son that she would go to any lengths to make things right. By the end of the book, I'd grown attached to Sophie and wanted to know more of what happened to her and her family after the case was closed.

Frantic was a quick read, a real page-turner, and I'd love to read more of Howell's work. You can read an excerpt from Frantic here.

Frantic also was reviewed by:

Reading Room

If you've also reviewed it, let me know in the comments, and I'll add your link!

Disclosure:  I received a free copy of Frantic from the author for review purposes.

15 comments:

bermudaonion said...

Oh my gosh! A page turner better than James Patterson's? I've got to read this one.

Some Kinda Wonderful said...

Loved your review, Anna. It does sound like this one moves right along. :)

kalea_kane said...

Well...you certainly got me interested. :)

Sandy Nawrot said...

I love a good crime novel, especially when they don't lead you by the nose to the bad guy, but keep you guessing. This one sounds good and gritty, with some dysfunction and angst. What else do ya need?

Literary Feline said...

This does sound good! I love a fast paced crime fiction novel. Thanks for the great review, Anna.

Staci said...

I love Patterson's Cross books so if this is fast paced like that with better writing then count me in!!

Shana said...

This sounds like a real page turner. I love your comparison to James Patterson. That's quite a benchmark.

Serena said...

great review. I love crime novels as you know and I have a love-hate relationship with patterson's writings.

Mea Culpa Bath and Body said...

it sounds very interesting :-) I havent heard of this writer before, but I do enjoy Dean Koontz :-)

Btw, Tag! You are it! Visit my blog if you wanna play along :-)

Dar said...

This sounds great Anna. I'm going to check this author out.

Anna said...

Bermudaonion: I was so excited. I've enjoyed Patterson books in the past, but in recent years, his writing quality has declined.

Some Kinda Wonderful: Thanks!

Kalea_kane: I'm glad! :)

Sandy: Nothing really. :) I really didn't know who the bad guy was until the cat was let out of the bag. I knew who wasn't involved, though.

Literary Feline: I think you'd enjoy this one!

Staci: I've never read Patterson's Cross books, so I can't say whether this book is better than those. I've read many of his other books, though, and I've been disappointed in recent years.

Shana: Honestly, I didn't have anyone else to compare it to. I don't normally read crime novels aside from Patterson.

Serena: You know how I feel about Patterson. We're on the same page.

Mea Culpa: I've never read Koontz, but I probably should. Thanks for tagging me, and I hope to get to the post soon!

Dar: Stay tuned for giveaway info!

naida said...

this sounds great, nice review!
I like fast paced novels.
http://thebookworm07.blogspot.com/

Anna said...

Naida: Thanks! Me, too!

Teddyree said...

Great review Ana ~ best crime thriller page-turner I've read for a while, can't wait to read this author's next novel.

Anna said...

Teddyree: I'm looking forward to reading more of her work, too.