Review: Web of Deceit by Katherine Howell

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Title: Web of Deceit {Detective Ella Marconi #6}

Author: Katherine Howell

Published: Macmillan February 2013

Synopsis: When paramedics Jane and Alex encounter a man refusing to get out of his crashed car with bystanders saying he deliberately drove into a pole, it looks like a desperate cry for help. His frantic claim that someone is out to get him adds to their thinking that he is delusional. Later that day he is found dead under a train in what might be a suicide, but Jane is no longer so sure…Detective Ella Marconi shares Jane’s doubts, which are only compounded when the case becomes increasingly tangled. Then, just when she thinks she’s closing in on the right person, a shocking turn of events puts more people in danger and might just see the killer slip through her hands

Status: Read from January 29 to 30, 2013 — I own a copy {Courtesy Pan Macmillan Australia}

My Thoughts:

Once I started Web of Deceit I couldn’t put it down, which led to a very late night given I had intended, at midnight, to read only a chapter or two before getting some sleep. I really should have known better as I always find Howell’s series to be compulsive page turners, packed with intrigue, action and excitement.

Web of Deceit opens as Sydney paramedics Jane and Alex attend a minor car accident. The driver, Marko Meixner, blames the incident on a stalker and even though his almost incoherent ravings suggest a psychiatric disorder, Jane wonders if there might be some truth in what he is saying. Unfortunately there is little more they can do other than deliver him to the local hospital and notify the staff of their concerns. The incident is quickly forgotten as they continue on with their day, Alex’s mind is on his rebellious teenage daughter and Jane is simply eager for their shift to finish so she can rendezvous with her secret lover. Nearing the end of shift, Jane and Alex are annoyed when they are called to extricate a body from under a city train, but when they identify the corpse as the morning’s patient, Jane feels compelled to share her concerns with the on scene detective, Ella Marconi and her partner. Now it is up to the detectives to determine is Marko fell, pushed or jumped in front of the train, dragging them into a tangled web of secrets, lies and violence.

While Ella and Murray follow paper trails, badger unreliable and reluctant witnesses and try to avoid the censure of their penny pinching captain, they become convinced that Marko was in fact murdered. Their prime suspect is a newly released parolee who was incarcerated after Marko testified against him for murder more than a decade previously, but they can’t easily dismiss Marko’s boss and his partner, who have been siphoning the company’s funds. As always I love the realism Howell injects into the police procedure – mountains of paperwork, petty office politics, leads that don’t pan out and the sheer leg work to solve a case.

Detective Ella Marconi is the anchor of this series, but in each book Howell introduces a new paramedic team that are integral to the plot, ensuring the series never goes stale and the installments work well as stand alone novels. The paramedics contribute their own subplots as Howell skillfully weaves the personal and professional stories of each character into the main storyline, often with surprising crossover. In Web of Deceit, Jane is dealing with her ex-husband’s crazed wife and her new lover’s secret identity while Alex is struggling with PTSD and a recalcitrant daughter. Both are fully realised, complex and likeable characters.

The patients, victims and perpetrators are also of interest in the story. Rarely is any character, even the villain, a convenient stereotype. Howell demonstrates insight into the emotions and motivations of each – a wronged wife, a frightened girlfriend, a frantic father, heightening the tension by connecting the reader with characters that feel familiar.

Web of Deceit is Katherine’s sixth novel, and I think has edged out the others in the series as my favourite by the slimmest of margins. Fast paced, slick and utterly absorbing this is a fabulous read which I recommend without reserve.

Available To Purchase

@PanMacmillan Australia I @BoomerangBooks I @Booktopia I @Amazon Kindle

via Booko

The Ella Marconi Series

Book 5

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9 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Melissa Wray
    Feb 04, 2013 @ 21:05:44

    I had the pleasure of doing a writing workshop with Katherine Howell last year. We actually used some exerts from Web of Deceit! It was a fantastic workshop.

    Reply

  2. bernadetteinoz
    Feb 04, 2013 @ 22:37:23

    I concur Shelleyrae – terrific book and consistently good series. I’m not brave enough to say which is my favourite as I think they’re all first rate.

    Reply

  3. Denise Maclaren
    Feb 05, 2013 @ 11:52:22

    Definitely my kind of book. I’m adding this author to my list to look out for.

    Reply

  4. Mystica
    Feb 05, 2013 @ 14:23:26

    I’ve heard of this author and not read any (as yet). Thanks for the review.

    Reply

  5. Kate Loveday
    Feb 05, 2013 @ 18:10:53

    Thanks Shelleyrae, I love to get hold of a book I just can’t put down. I haven’t read this author but I am certainly going to find a copy of this one.

    Reply

  6. Jo @ Booklover Book Reviews
    Feb 07, 2013 @ 20:47:00

    I am determined to read something from Howell this year so perhaps this is the one – I am clearly missing out!

    Reply

  7. Teddyree
    Feb 11, 2013 @ 10:56:06

    I was thrilled to finally meet Katherine last year, she is such a sweetie. Can’t wait to get my hands on a copy of this one, glad you loved it!

    Reply

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