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Frantic (Detective Ella Marconi, #1)
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Frantic (Detective Ella Marconi #1)

3.69  ·  Rating Details ·  422 Ratings  ·  92 Reviews
In one terrible moment, paramedic Sophie Phillips' life is torn apart; her police officer husband, Chris, is shot on their doorstep and their ten-month-old son, Lachlan, is stolen from his bed. The police suspect Chris is involved with a number of armed hold-ups and that the attack is revenge for his desire to distance himself from the robberies, but Sophie believes the at ...more
Paperback, 362 pages
Published 2007 by Pan Macmillan Australia
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Mar 29, 2015 Suzanne rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
As always, I'm coming across great books I otherwise wouldn't have known about through Goodreads, particularly my Aussie Readers group - many thanks to all my friends that wrote glowing reviews for this book. They were all five stars by the way! Being number one in the series, I requested my library add it to their catalogue as they had every other book in the series bar this one, so they happily ordered it quickly for me. I love reading a lovely crisp new copy! I think this is a great asset to ...more
Feb 17, 2014 Sharon rated it it was amazing
Sophie Phillips is a paramedic and her husband Chris is a police officer. They both lead extremely busy lives and a lot of times Sophie finds herself having to work nights. The one thing they both love and enjoy is coming home to their ten month old son Lachlan. With the stress from their jobs both Sophie and Chris have been having a few problems in their marriage and things between the two of them have been strained.

Sophie world is turned upside down when she receives news that Chris has been s
May 02, 2012 Brenda rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: aussie-authors
Sophie Phillips is a paramedic, her husband Chris is a police officer, and they have a beautiful son, ten month old Lachlan. Together with Mick, her partner, they do the night shift around Sydney, covering the Rocks, the Quay and more. But things haven’t been going too well with Sophie and Chris, ever since he was attacked a couple of months ago, while apprehending a suspect with his partner, Angus. He appears extremely stressed, and they suspect PTSD, but when Sophie, and Chris’ mother, Gloria, ...more
This is probably more a 3.5, than a 3 - but not quite a 4 (for reasons explained at end).

Not having read a lot of Australian crime fiction, I was excited to discover a new author and her first novel Frantic did not disappoint. Right from the beginning I was drawn into the storyline and really felt the terror of Paramedic Sophie when she discovers that not only has her policeman husband been shot, but her 10 month old son Lachlan has been kidnapped.

The pace of Frantic is great - it is quite fast
Celia Conrad
I recently joined the Aussie Readers Group here on Goodreads and came across Katherine Howell, the author, when I was scanning through the Groups book list.

Frantic is the first novel in the Ella Marconi detective series. I think that Katherine has an excellent writing style and she clearly knows her subject when it comes to writing medical jargon having come from a medical background herself and working as a paramedic.

What was immediately apparent to me though was that although the series is ab
Jill Smith
Oct 24, 2015 Jill Smith rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Katherine explained at a writers meeting I attended, that she had taken six years to write her first novel only to have it rejected. When she got it back, she researched the best ways to make a reader get involved with the story was to create suspense, and make the reader care what happened to the main characters. She re-wrote the book and this is the nail biting result.

Sophie Phillips is an ambulance driver, and her husband Chris is a policeman, they have a beautiful baby son Lachlan. Sophie is
"Stupid people did stupid things to other stupid people and she had to sort it out and clean it up"

The action moves quickly in this book, told in alternating story-lines, from a paramedic's viewpoint, Sophie Phillips & a detective's, Ella Marconi.
Sophie & her partner are called to deliver a premature baby, and the stress level increases when the mother begins haemorrhaging. Later they rush to a multi-vehicle crash scene, salivating. Sophie's partner exclaims "what a beauty" referencing t
Rowena Holloway
Jul 13, 2015 Rowena Holloway rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Complex plotting and great pacing makes this a gripping read.

Paramedic Sophie Phillips' life is shattered when her husband is shot and her ten-month-old baby, Lachlan, is snatched. Cool-headed Detective Ella Marconi tries to unravel the complex clues, while Sophie hatches her own plans to find the culprit, certain she knows who took Lachlan and why. Her husband Chris has his own theories—vastly different from Sophie’s—but afraid for his son’s life, he refuses to speak these aloud. With the cons
Sep 01, 2011 David rated it really liked it
What an absorbing debut novel by Katherine Howell and the book was aptly titled as it provided non-stop frantic action from start to finish. Although this is the first book in what has become known as the Detective Ella Marconi series, this book focuses mainly upon ambulance paramedic, Sophie Phillips. Sophie is married to a policeman, is the mother of an infant son and spends her working life attending ambulance emergencies in Sydney. The paramedic angle to a crime fiction book is a great idea, ...more
Jul 28, 2009 Sheree rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Everyone who loves suspense!
4.5 stars
Wow this is certainly one book that lives up to its title. Frantic is the pace of this novel and my racing heart as I galloped through the story with my heart in my mouth, unable to turn the pages fast enough. What an awesome debut novel by Australian author Katherine Howell.

Katherine obviously writes what she knows and loves, taking the reader on an intense and realistic ride. I Loved the paramedic work references, the Sydney setting and the characters, particularly Sophie. The narrati
Oct 09, 2014 Diane rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is Katherine Howell's first published book and it's a winner. Written from the viewpoint of a paramedic (which Ms. Howell was before her writing career took off), makes for a good and different slant on a mystery book. Eventhough this book is the first in her Detective Ella Marconi series, the detective shares center stage with a female paramedic.

The basic premise is fraud, murder, and kidnapping - right up my alley. I enjoyed this book on a few different levels - the characters, the settin
Stevie Carroll
I borrowed this from the library on the strength of some good reviews, and the twin enticements of a paramedic protagonist and the Australian setting. Sadly I didn't get on with any of the main characters, and felt that the plot hinged too much on people acting illogically and failing to talk to each other in situations that would have been cleared up quickly by a little conversation.
Jul 21, 2015 Pat rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
As a former Paramedic I was bit dubious about this book before I read it. My sister, a nurse, insisted so I read it. Katherine Howell gets all the medical terminology and patient treatments 100% correct. Given this is her first novel in a series I look forward to more of her stories in the future.
Bree T
Sophie is a paramedic and her husband a city police officer. As a gang of bank robbers terrorise the city and taunt the police force’s inability to capture them, Chris faces pressure from the public, sensitive to their scrutiny. Now there’s some suspicion that there are police involved within the gang after a phone call to the media. When Chris is found shot in the head on the doorstep of their home and their 10 month old son Lachlan missing, Sophie’s life is ripped apart.

Both she and Chris beli
Shelleyrae at Book'd Out
Feb 16, 2011 Shelleyrae at Book'd Out rated it really liked it
I grabbed Frantic from my pile of library books, since I'd just gotten an overdue notice (though now I can renew my loans online - how cool is that!) and took it with me to read during my children's swimming lessons. I'm glad the swimming center has lifeguards because I was soon engrossed in the frantic pace (pun intended) of this novel by Katherine Howell.
My interest in this book was initially based on the fact that the main character in this psychological thriller is a female ambulance officer
Kathleen Hagen
Frantic, by Katherine Howell, a-minus, narrated by Caroline Lee, produced by Bolinda Audio, downloaded from

Sophie Phillips is an ambulance driver who loves her job, the constant crises, and she’s good at the job. Her husband, Chris, is a police officer. Chris had been shot a couple of months earlier. He had survived but had some residual internal head injuries which kept him depressed and angry. They had a littleson, Lachlan, the center of both their worlds and the reason they were
Number two (after Kathryn Fox) in the Random Aussie Crime fiction I didn't know existed and have been missing.

You don't realise, at first, that the new detective introduced by KAtherine Howell is in fact Ella Marconi. You'd think it was, in fact, the paramedic, Sophie. But the continuing character is Marconi, and having reached the end of this book, I'm really, really looking forward to reading more about Ella.

In concert with beginning the stories of Anya Crichton through the books of Kathryn
Jenni Boyd
Aug 28, 2014 Jenni Boyd rated it really liked it
I know I read this book out of order by reading the third one first, but Katherine Howell did not disappoint me. I really like her character of Detective Ella Marconi, a woman who is not only struggling to be accepted in the male dominated world of homicide, but despite the tough exterior she tries to portray, she is a woman who has heart, one who allows guilt to creep in after questioning a man for information, who is later silenced.
It will take you on a heart wrenching journey of a mother, a p
Graham Crawford
I have read this series completely out of order, which changes how I think about this first Emma Marconi book. I really didn't like this one, and if I have read it first I probably would have left the rest on the shelf. She gets much better, tighter, and characters in future books are far less irritating than those in this debut. Certainly the melodrama gets turned down in latter books - so she is a writer who learns from her mistakes.

Apart from Marconi - all the other characters in "Frantic" ar
Feb 19, 2016 Chloe rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: aussie-author
Wow, what a great Aussie story! Love to discover Aussie authors!
I really need to review books straight after I read them, because already this story isn't fresh and vivid in my mind.
There is one thing that stands out though: (view spoiler)
Carol Preston
Aug 11, 2014 Carol Preston rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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...
This is the first in a series of crime novels by Katherine Howell, in which Detective Ella Marconi, stars. I found this story gripping - a
Aug 01, 2014 Faye rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Love this book, easy to read, I have one other of this author and will continue to read the rest of her novels. Love the setting which was in Sydney, the characters were great and subtle way characters were doing the wrong thing kept you thinking.
Jan 04, 2015 Julie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
Wonderful book, terrific story fraught with danger and suspense. I couldn't put it down. I am so glad I stumbled across this author, a new favourite to follow.
Feb 28, 2014 Kathryn rated it really liked it
Every bit as good as promised by other readers. The whole series will be a certain read.
Sep 11, 2016 Karen rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: crime, australian
Sophie Phillips is a paramedic and her husband Chris is a cop. When Sophie and her paramedic partner are called to a premature labour case, the results of the early labour are tragic, and despite Sophie and Mick being very sure they have done the right thing, the baby's father - Boyd Sawyer is grief stricken and irrational - and he goes out of his way to threaten Sophie and Mick. Meanwhile Sophie and Chris's previously happy marriage has been fading recently. Chris was badly assaulted during a r ...more
Kate Hooper
Sep 30, 2016 Kate Hooper rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
First in the series, I enjoyed this novel due to its correct balance of intrigue,suspense, character development and plotline. It was well written although somewhat predictable at the end. Nevertheless,worth reading.
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. Almo
Aug 04, 2015 Shaun rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kindle, 2015

I found Katherine Howell's books when searching for crime fiction set in Australia, and now that I am focusing on my 'own' books rather than review ones, I think I'll be reading the whole series very soon as Frantic was a really enjoyable read and it left me with that excited feeling I usually get when I know there's more books in the series waiting to be read.

One of the main characters in the story is Sophie Phillips, who is a paramedic. This for me added a new dynamic to the story as norma
Jill Smith
Nov 15, 2011 Jill Smith rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I read this fantastic book in two days, apologies to Katherine for not updating this sooner. Full book review to come. Suffice to say as a suspense story it's got the reader, hook, line and sinker.
At a recent Gold Coast Writers meeting Katherine explained that she had taken six years to write her first novel only to have it rejected. When she got it back, she researched the best ways to make a reader get involved with the story was to create suspense, and make the reader care what ha
Diana Hockley
I like Katherine Howell's novels and especially enjoy the technical details of the paramedic's work. Howell always brings angst into the lives of her protagonists and this story is no exception.

However, I did NOT like Sophie, the main character, although I did like Ella Marconi, a constant character in Howell's novels.

Sophie is an paramedic with a secret and a marriage which appears to be in trouble. Her husband will not talk to her about what is worrying her and a rumour of corruption surroundi
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Katherine Howell worked as a paramedic for fifteen years while completing her Bachelor and Masters degrees in creative writing. Her first novel, Frantic, was published in 2007 by Pan Macmillan and set a paramedic alongside Sydney police detective Ella Marconi in 'an adrenaline rush of a thriller' (Sydney Morning Herald). It won the 2008 Davitt award for best crime fiction. Her second book, The Dar ...more
More about Katherine Howell...

Other Books in the Series

Detective Ella Marconi (7 books)
  • The Darkest Hour (Detective Ella Marconi #2)
  • Cold Justice (Detective Ella Marconi, #3)
  • Violent Exposure (Detective Ella Marconi #4)
  • Silent Fear (Detective Ella Marconi, #5)
  • Web of Deceit (Detective Ella Marconi #6)
  • Deserving Death (Detective Ella Marconi, #7)

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