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

3.72  ·  Rating details ·  538 ratings  ·  104 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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3.72  · 
Rating details
 ·  538 ratings  ·  104 reviews

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Mar 29, 2015 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
 Li'l Owl ~ Incorrigible Reader
FRANTIC doesn't even begin to describe the pace of this book! Wowza! I simply could not read the words or turn the pages any faster! This is my first book by Katherine Howell but it will definitely not be the last. I would read the next two books in this series back to back with this one if I didn't have other challenge books to read this month. I will be reading them very, very soon. I can hardly wait to see what's in store! I'll be looking to read any others that she has written, too! This one ...more
Oct 01, 2013 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
Apr 27, 2012 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
Mar 15, 2014 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
Jul 07, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery-crime
"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 06, 2015 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
Aug 29, 2011 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 26, 2009 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
Nov 19, 2013 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 12, 2015 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
Linda Joy
Aussie crime fiction ... yep bring it on. Bit of a page turner, bit gritty, but if a thriller, twists and turns. Not bad for a debut novel. Main protagonist Sophie, almost believable, off the rails on a few levels. Later I realised that this was the first in a series centred around Ella (detective) so there could be better reads from this author.
Shelleyrae at Book'd Out
Jun 03, 2010 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 22, 2014 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
Mar 23, 2015 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 07, 2012 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
Feb 06, 2014 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.
Aug 27, 2014 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 14, 2014 rated it really liked it
Every bit as good as promised by other readers. The whole series will be a certain read.
Well.....I thought this was rather convoluted and confusing. I definitely wasn't captivated by the story and did not stay up all night reading it. The problem with that is this book switches between characters all the time so to pick it up to read whenever I had a few minutes made it difficult to figure out the story line. The Ella Marconi number six book that I read first was better so that is why I decided to start from the beginning. I'd recommend giving this book a miss and trying a later on ...more
Jun 25, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Will I read more of Marconi's adventures....possibly, I'm not totally sold on her as a detective worthy of a series, she really didn't evolve in this tale, infact she got a little lost within the many voices that Howell created. Disappointed muchly......
Jan 07, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A good read but I did not find it totally gripping. I found some of the story a bit hard to believe, even for this genre. Having said that I will happy to read some of her later books which I’ve heard are great.
I found this Sydney-based crime mystery very gripping but by the end was very ambivalent about the main character's behaviour. Still, it was well-written overall, and well thought through. The medical and bureaucratic details of the paramedic and police worlds were an interesting insight.
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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

Other books in the series

Detective Ella Marconi (8 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)
  • Tell the Truth (Detective Ella Marconi, #8)