Friday, May 09, 2008

Pg. 99: Katherine Howell's "The Darkest Hour"

The current feature at the Page 99 Test: Katherine Howell's The Darkest Hour.

About the book, 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.
Among the early praise for The Darkest Hour:
"The Darkest Hour is the follow up to Katherine Howell's superb debut thriller Frantic and succeeds in maintaining the momentum that was initiated with the first book. Returning is homicide detective Ella Marconi but she is one half of this dual protagonist story. In a rarity for crime novels, The Darkest Hour features two strong female lead characters with paramedic Lauren Yates filling the other role.... Importantly to the success of the book, The Darkest Hour sits on a thoroughly absorbing plot but it's the character development that gives the story substance. We are introduced further into Ella Marconi's life during the course of the book and gain a deeper understanding of the pressures she faces other than her work. Equally, the complex emotional jungle that tangles Lauren Yates' life ensures that the reader takes a stake in her welfare and cares about how she is treated in adverse circumstances.... Katherine Howell has again combined a solid police procedural thriller with the adrenaline-charged uncertainty of a paramedic's daily life. This is novel that exudes strength as a quality crime thriller, it's emotion charged action and relentlessly fast paced."
--Australian Crime Fiction Database
Read an excerpt from The Darkest Hour, and learn more about the author and her work at Katherine Howell's website.

Last year Howell introduced herself to American readers at Sarah Weinman's "Confessions of an Idiosyncratic Mind."

The Page 69 Test: Frantic.

The Page 99 Test: The Darkest Hour.

--Marshal Zeringue