Wednesday, August 26, 2009

The Darkest Hour by Katherine Howell

Genre: Suspense/Thriller
Copyright: 2008
Pages: 384

Synopsis: Paramedic Lauren Yates stumbles into a world of trouble the night she discovers a dead man in an inner city alley, for the killer lurks nearby. When the murderer threatens to make her life hell if she tells the police, she believes him - he's Thomas Werner, her sister's ex, and a very bad man indeed. But when a stabbing victim tells her with his dying breath that Werner attacked him too, she finds herself with blood on her hands and Detective Ella Marconi on her back.

Will Ella's investigation put her career on the line, just when she's finally got her foot in the door? And can Lauren keep her family safe before Werner makes good on his promise, or will they all pay the ultimate price?

Review: After reading Katherine Howell's brilliant debut novel, Frantic, I had my fingers crossed that The Darkest Hour would live up to my high expectations. I'm thrilled to say, it did that and more ... this is one taut, engrossing read.

Detective Ella Marconi, of 'Frantic' fame is back as the investigating officer but we are introduced to a new paramedic, Lauren Yates and her partner Joe. Once again we are given an 'up close & personal' look at the private and working lives of the main characters & further insight into human psychology; exposing vulnerabilites and flaws, the lengths people go to to protect loved ones and the often rash decisions made in times of severe stress.

In my humble opinion former Sydney paramedic Katherine is a master in this genre. Looking at crime from a very unique angle; the dual viewpoint of paramedic and police gives the reader a very distinctive & atypical perspective. Drawing on personal experience to bring the reader not just a paramedic scene, but the sights, sounds, smells & emotions of that scene makes for a gritty and realistic read. I did suffer from some serious brain strain keeping up with the complexity of the plot and I wondered how the author would tie everything together. But fear not, it is accomplished very well and I think that as the killer is clearly identified at the start of the book, (to Lauren & the reader) the complexities, & twists are the necessary component in creating the nail-biting suspense.

I can't wait for the release of Katherine's next novel, Cold Justice. (Feb 2010)
To stay up to date on Katherine Howell news visit her website.

Breaking news: THE DARKEST HOUR wins the 2009 Davitt Award for best crime novel in the Reader's Choice category. (21st August 2009) The Davitt Awards were set up by Sisters in Crime in 2001 to celebrate the achievements of Australian women crime writers. Katherine Howell won the 2008 Davitt Award for best crime novel with her novel Frantic. Congratulations Katherine, keep the awesome reads coming!

Love this quote about Katherine's work - "Howell may have left the ambulance service but she can still drive a narrative at full speed with the sirens blaring. Pass me the oxygen." - Sydney Morning Herald

You can see my review of Katherine's first novel Frantic & enter the competition to win a copy by clicking here

This month on The Eclectic Reader you could win Frostbitten by Kelley Armstrong OR The White Queen by Philippa Gregory OR Prophecy of the Sisters by Michelle Zink. Check this blog post for details. International entrants welcome.


  1. Wow her books sound so good! I really need to read her. Great review!!

  2. SOunds really good... Award-winner I m sure I need to get her books into my wish-list!!!!

  3. For some reason I don't actually read crime, still sounds like a good book. if I ever really venture into the unknown I know where to look first

  4. This sounds like a really good read. I haven't read a good crime novel for a while. Thanks for the great post.
    Big Hugs, Bethxxx

  5. THIS sounds right up my alley!

    A great review - thank you.


  6. Awesome Review Teddyree! And, congratulations to Ms. Howell. Her books sound thrilling and spine tingling!

    Best To You

  7. I'm really excited that you enjoyed this one as much as the first. Thanks to your awesome reviews and enthusiasm for this author, she is now on my radar screen and one that I must read now!!!

  8. What great news! I really want to read FRANTIC - love this review!

  9. Looks like I need to read Frantic and then this one!

  10. Great review! I don't read thrillers, but this sounds intense and interesting.

  11. I am ordering one of her books to sample in my new authors to me order ; ).

  12. I will let you know when the book arrives & we can dish after I read it.

    Thanks again.

  13. I've just added this to my to-read list based on your review. I enjoyed Frantic, so why not? ;)

    Diary of an Eccentric

  14. It seems that Katherine Howell's love writing a strong and brave heroine. She must have done many researched for those crimes.
    I enjoy any thriller genres. I hope I get the chance to read one of her books


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