FRANTIC - Katherine Howell

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Ella Marconi
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Book Synopsis

Sophie Phillips is a paramedic based in the central Sydney area. Her husband, Chris, is a police officer.  Both are besotted with their ten month old son, Lachlan. Life is perfect for Sophie until Chris is seriously assaulted one night while on duty. He hasn’t been the same since.  He’s become introspective and short-tempered and Sophie is beginning to worry about whether their marriage has a future.

Book Review

Wow - what a great debut thriller - this was a real page turner for me the suspense was unrelenting.

Sophie Phillips is a paramedic in Sydney, Australia. Not only is her work high stress with a non-stop pace - but her home life is just as busy with a baby boy and policeman husband, Chris

The book opens right in the middle of the action - a bank robbery, the seventh in a series, has occurred and a guard is down. Sophie and her partner Mick are called to attend but are unable to save the guard. Almost immediately they are called to the emergency birth of a child - only to have the mother and baby die. Not a good day. There is not much support at home either, Chris and Sophie are having problems, and Sophie is riddled with guilt because she has had a one-night stand with her husband's partner, Angus.

The next day everything changes - the police receive an anonymous tip off that point the bank robberies at corrupt police, Chris is critically shot on his front doorstep and baby Lachlan is kidnapped. While Chris is in hospital fighting for his life, and now suspected of being linked to the bank robberies, the police search for the baby swings into action.

Sophie's distress causes her to to frantically search for her son - going against police advice. Her anguish is heartbreakingly real. Sophie thinks she knows who has her baby and is determined to bring them to justice herself, because she doesn't think the police are trying hard enough. Meanwhile Chris, recuperating in hospital, thinks that it is something he has done that has caused the baby to disappear - can he do something to get his baby back?

Detective Ella Marconi is assigned the case - trying to link all the pieces of the puzzle together - and stop Sophie from hindering in the investigation.

Is there nothing a mother under the pump won't do to get her child back?

There are a few threads to the story but it is all go, go go!   The book picks you up and doesn't let you go until the explosive end when all the red herrings melt away and the truth comes out. Author, Katherine Howell, was a worthy nominee for the 2008 Ned Kelly award for best first novel. She has got the strong pull of motherhood to the T - and I very much related to Sophie and understood her reactions - takes a lot of talent to provoke such sympathy from me for a character in a book.

It is excellent reading, and I am looking forwards to getting my hands on the next book THE DARKEST HOUR which has been released - and a third is not too far away. Katherine Howell is an author to look out for.

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