Sunday, September 25, 2011

Katherine Howell "Cold Justice"

Given Katherine Howell's past as an ambulance officer there's a degree of detail as Georgie Daniels and old school friend but now working partner who'll be writing an assessment Freya Craig go about their business that means some readers might be casting Cold Justice into the too much information, no thanks basket.

Cardiac arrests, emergency procedures, projectile vomiting, that kind of thing.

On the other hand, when you've taken out the gory (actually, more gritty) ambo detail, you're left with a rather cleverly worked crime novel that drops hints along the way in the approved manner and delivers the denoument in a flurry at the end. It's a very good read, and has resulted in Howell's other three Ella Marconi titles going on the Watch out for these list.

I'm not, on the other hand, particularly inclined to rush out and grab them right away.

Georgie Daniels is coming off a number of personal and professional issues in an ambulance station in rural New South Wales, has been temporarily relocated to The Rocks and is facing an appraisement that could terminate her career. The responsibility of writing the assessment has been handed to Freya Craig, coincidentally her very best friend from high school days, though she'd disappeared shortly after Georgie found the body of fellow student, Tim Pieters, hidden amongst bushes, in a murder case that remained unsolved for close to twenty years.

The case, however, has been reopened after political pressure. Tim's cousin is now a State MP on the Government side and the cold case is assigned to Detective Ella Marconi, who's coming off a wounding in the course of duty.

Howell runs the threads of the story line together nicely, with most of the major players looking over their shoulders, even if it's only (in Ella Marconi's case) in frustration at the continual interruptions by well-meaning parents who are being aided and abetted by her boyfriend. There's a message in here and it's something along the lines of Never give a doting Italian mother a mobile phone and teach her how to send text messages.

That's a lighter note that goes down well amidst the personal issues as Marconi carefully works back over the details of the case and anonymous tipsters throw in suggestions that the girl who found the body knows more than she's letting on.

Actually, most of those involved know more than they're letting on, and while the reader's aware that this is the case Howell keeps the actual details well veiled until the rush that unravels the mystery at the end.

A good read and I'll be back for more, though not, perhaps, in a hurry. A good author to bear in mind for a rainy day when you really need something good to read.

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