19 September 2011

Review: VIOLENT EXPOSURE, Katherine Howell

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 620 KB
  • Publisher: Macmillan Australia (December 1, 2010)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services
  • Language: English
  • Source: I bought the e-book but was also supplied with a hard copy for review by Macmillan Australia.
Publisher's Blurb

When Suzanne Crawford is found stabbed to death and her husband Connor is discovered to be missing, it looks like just another tragic case of domestic violence to Detective Ella Marconi. But as the investigation progresses, it becomes clear that all is not as it seems. Why is there no record of Connor Crawford beyond a few years ago? Why has a teenager who worked for the pair gone missing too? And above all, what was the secret Suzanne knew Connor was keeping at all costs – even from her?

As Ella begins to build a picture of the Crawfords' fractured lives, things around her are deteriorating. Her relationship with a fellow officer is hanging by a thread and her parents seem to be keeping secrets of their own. But Ella only has time for the job she loves, and she knows she has to see her way through the tangled web of deceit and lies to get at the truth – before it's too late.

My take

The structure of VIOLENT EXPOSURE is similar to earlier novels in this series (this is #4): parallel plots that advance in tandem, each generating their own sense of suspense. The link between the main  plots is Detective Ella Marconi. This time, in addition to Marconi providing links to plots of previous novels, there is a continuing thread linking VIOLENT EXPOSURE to the first novel FRANTIC in which the baby son of a police officer and a paramedic was kidnapped. The links reinforce the close nature of the paramedic community.

There is plenty in VIOLENT EXPOSURE to keep the reader engaged: believable characters and scenarios, as well as a building tension as the Marconi and her team race to find Connor Crawford.
Marconi has moved from Sydney's Cold Case Unit, where she was taking this easy after a bullet wound, into the "real world" of severe crimes. Other strands of the novel involve the paramedics where a trainee does not seem to have the sense of commitment required, and the struggle one of the paramedics and his wife are having to bring a baby to full term.
There is a further crossover between the police and the ambos (paramedics) where one of the latter is running a drama class that is part of a "street kid" project. One of the drama class participants works for the victim in her garden centre. Again this sense of coincidence reinforces how small the worlds are that we move in.

The title also makes the reader contemplate the effects on both police officers and paramedics of constant exposure to violent crimes. Do they become inured to bloodshed, less sensitive emotionally, or undermined morally?

For me VIOLENT EXPOSURE was further affirmation that Katherine Howell's novels are both unique and of world-class.

My rating: 4.8

Other titles reviewed:
THE DARKEST HOUR (contains mini-review of FRANTIC)

Katherine Howell's website

Win a copy of VIOLENT EXPOSURE from Fair Dinkum Crime - competition closes October 3, 2011

Other reviews to check:

1 comment:

Marce said...

Sounds like a great book I really like the sound of tension building. I keep hearing about series, sigh. I love stand alines but can't get away from series.


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