Wednesday, February 4, 2015

The Darkest Hour: Katherine Howell

From the author's website:
Paramedic Lauren Yates stumbles into a world of trouble the night she discovers a killer and his victim in an inner Sydney alley. When the killer threatens to make her life hell if she tells the police what she’s seen, she believes him – he’s Thomas Werner, her sister’s violent ex, father to Lauren’s niece, and not a man to cross.
                But when another victim of a stabbing reveals to Lauren with his dying breath that Werner attacked him, too, she finds herself with blood on her hands and Detective Ella Marconi on her back. Ella is keen to cement her temporary placement in the homicide squad and views Lauren as the perfect witness for this latest murder because she can testify to the victim’s last words.
                Ella soon realises Lauren is hiding something, however, and while her colleagues label her suspicion an obsession, she begins her own investigation. But the harder Ella pushes, the more Lauren resists, and the worse the threat from Werner becomes, putting them both in increasingly serious jeopardy.
You can tell from the description above that the story is fairly complex. It is actually even more complex than the summary implies. The nearly 500 pages of the novel are packed and I have no complaints about that.

I read Katherine Howell's first book, Frantic, in one day, which is very unusual for me. This book was longer and I had less available time, so it took two or three days, but it still had good pacing and kept me eager to come back for more.

I like the format of the Ella Marconi series. Ella is the protagonist, but each book has a new paramedic as a main character. In these first two books, I do see a pattern of romance being an element in the paramedic's story, and I usually don't care for that aspect in mysteries. In this case it did not bother me.

These are definitely thrillers, but not so thrillerish as to be unrealistic. From the beginning we know the identity of the murderer, so the mystery is how the investigation will play out and how Lauren's family will fare as long as Thomas Werner is free.

To recap, the elements I like most are the fast pacing and the two storylines of the policewoman and the paramedic. The two main protagonists are strong women. Both are dedicated to their jobs and concerned about keeping their jobs. That is something I can understand.

Katherine Howell is an Australian crime writer who worked as a paramedic for 15 years. Per the author's website, Tell the Truth, the eighth book in the Ella Marconi series, will be released in Australia on 1st February 2015.

See other reviews at: Reactions to Reading, Mysteries in Paradise, and Petrona

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Publisher:   Pan Books, 2009 (orig. pub. 2008)
Length:      495 pages
Format:      Paperback
Series:       Ella Marconi #2
Setting:      Sydney, Australia
Genre:       Police procedural
Source:      I purchased this book.

14 comments:

  1. Tracy - I am so glad you liked this! I'm a fan of Katherine Howell's work, and I think her Ella Marconi character is terrific. I hope you'll keep on with the series.

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    1. I am pretty sure I discovered Katherine Howell at your blog, Margot. And I am glad I pursued her books.

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  2. Glad you enjoyed it Tracy. It does sound good and you nearly had me until I read the page count. Let's be honest I'm not hurting for books and I need to get over being so jealous of what everyone else seems to be reading and enjoying!

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    1. The length is a downside, Col, because I always put off reading longer books. But with this one, I don't think I noticed at all once I got started. It is really hard to put up the blinders and ignore all the good reviews at other blogs, isn't it. I have to try harder too.

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  3. I haven't been here in a long time. Followed by e-mail today...I have been a GFC follower.

    This sounds like a book I would like. THANKS for sharing.

    Nice post about the book. Oooo...it is a long one. :)

    Elizabeth
    Silver's Reviews
    My Blog

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    1. Elizabeth, I enjoyed this book because I get to see what a paramedic's job is like and I like the police procedural aspects. But it is long.

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  4. I got FRANTIC following your review and it's there, prominent on my TBR! Must admit, this sounds like a very long book though ...

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    1. Sergio, I read this back in December and I don't remember being bothered by the length. And the next two in the series are a more reasonable length... 300-350 pages. I hope you like FRANTIC when you get to read it.

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  5. I'm looking forward to this one, Tracy, and I'm glad you liked it. I just noticed almost everything I've read this year is by a dude so it's time to change things up!

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    1. Rebecca, I keep trying to read more by women authors but I never really get my numbers up. I don't keep stats on that but I am guessing I read about 75% male authors. I definitely plan to keep reading this author.

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  6. You've got to stop finding good books to read! I don't need a new series to start on! This does sound good, but I'll hold back for the moment....

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    1. I know, Moira, it is challenging to resist new authors and books that sound really good. One thing I like about this series, besides the entertainment factor, is written by a female and featuring strong females. So maybe you will want to try it some day.

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  7. Tracy, I like the plot of this book and I'll keep it in mind. The length doesn't matter if the book is really good.

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    1. I agree, Prashant, that length doesn't matter if the book is good. However, I do balk at 1000 page books, and I haven't read one over 700 pages in many years.

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