Combined Reviews: Frantic by Katherine Howell

frantic.jpg Reviews of Frantic by Katherine Howell
Pan Macmillan

[Winner of the 2008 Davitt Award for Best Novel.]

From the publisher's page: "In one terrible moment, paramedic Sophie Phillips' life is ripped apart -- her police officer husband, Chris, is shot on their doorstep and their ten-month-old son, Lachlan, is abducted from his bed. Suspicion surrounds Chris as he is tainted with police corruption, 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, mobilise to find their colleague's child, Sophie's desperation compels her to search for Lachlan herself. She enlists her husband's partner, Angus Arendson, in the 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?"


"Crime Down Under": "One of the most popular genres in crime fiction is the police procedural as the reader is able to become immersed in all aspects of the crime-solving procedure. Also well represented in the literary landscape is the fire department with a few authors, notably Earl Emerson, doing a wonderful job of detailing arson and other suspicious fires. But a branch of the emergency services that has been almost completely ignored is the ambulance service. Katherine Howell has started to fill that hole and, judging by the pulse-quickening, breathless action she generates, should kick-start a whole new frenzy of excitement...Frantic is an outstanding thriller that I found immediately entertaining."
"Aust Crime Fiction": "The author of FRANTIC is a paramedic herself, and that perspective of a crime scene, an accident scene, an investigation is very unique - and it's written in a very accessible manner. It brings a refreshing perspective from the participants, at the same time that FRANTIC covers the reaction of a family or victim to the events that surround that crime. And there's definitely a distinct feeling of frenzy about FRANTIC. The pace of the book starts from page one and it doesn't let up until the end - mirroring the life of a paramedic firstly where they move case by case at breakneck speed, then the reaction of a frantic mother, desperate to find her son, unable to sit and wait."

Short Notices

"Boomerang Books": "Written by a former ambulance officer, this is a real page-turner and will certainly appeal to fans of medical-based crime thrillers. This good first novel, with some stylistic drawbacks, could easily be recommended to those seeking a fast-paced and involving read to fill in some entertainment hours."
"Reviewers' Choice Reviews": "FRANTIC is Katherine Howell's first published novel and one that shows great promise. The action starts on page one and maintains its momentum until the very last paragraph."


International Thriller Writers.

How do you approach your writing? I don't plan my novels too closely: I know where I'm starting and where I want to end up, and a few of the 'stepping stones' along the way. I've tried outlining, wanting to feel more secure about where I'm headed, but it just doesn't work for me. Invariably by the middle of a draft I'm floundering about, worrying that it's never going to work, but I was reassured at Harrogate recently to hear Tess Gerritsen describe her process in exactly the same way. I write straight onto computer, as I can type (even three-fingered) faster than I can hand-write. I find that the writing flows best in the afternoons, so the mornings I tend to fill with emails, research, sometimes writing notes, but generally no actual text. I have lots of documents and notebooks where I write down thoughts, ideas for scenes and characters, possible titles and endings and so on, but there is no real order to any of it. When I feel a bit stuck I read back through them and often find the solution was something I'd already thought of then forgotten.
"Articulate" - May 2007.
Genevieve Swart in "The Sydney Morning Herald" - July 2007.
"Crime Down Under" - March 2008.


You can read an excerpt from the novel on the author's website.


Howell put in a guest spot on Sarah Weinman's crime weblog "Confessions of an Idiosyncratic Mind" in August 2007.

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This page contains a single entry by Perry Middlemiss published on October 15, 2008 10:03 PM.

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