February is here again, which means it's publication time! My brand new book, Deserving Death, is out in shops everywhere, and online too, in print, e book, and audio form. Reviews have started coming in and readers have been in touch telling me how much they enjoyed it going on the new adventure with Ella and paramedics Carly and Tessa.
One great review comes from Fiona Hardy on the Readings Bookshop website:
"On a springtime morning in Sydney, two paramedics get a call: to attend to a collapsed woman in Sydenham. The paramedics recognise the address, and when they arrive their worst fears are confirmed: their co-worker and friend, Alicia Bayliss, is found bloody and beaten to death. Just weeks earlier, another paramedic suffered the same grisly fate.
In Katherine Howell’s latest Detective Ella Marconi novel, there is as much emotional involvement as there is procedural detail. Marconi is unnerved, sensing unexpected tensions among the paramedics she interviews, while attempting to sustain her relationship with Dr Callum McLennan as the anniversary of his cousin’s death approaches. Marconi is the one who helped find the killer – the doctor’s own perverse father – and McLennan’s mother cannot forgive her for it. Meanwhile, paramedic Carly Martens is troubled, determined to find justice for her dead friend, while waiting to see if her girlfriend will be able to brave her family’s bigotry and disclose their relationship. The emergency services – both police and ambulance – require trust on the field, but in this case, suspicion spreads far and wide.
Deserving Death was a revealing and tense read, and the cause of a Very Late Night Staying Up Just To Finish One cough Twelve More Chapters. This is a book full of smart and powerful women, and the men who feel inadequate when confronted by them. Exactly the right kind of crime novel to throw us screaming into 2014."
Readers often ask where book ideas come from, and usually I have no good answer because mine develop over time and in foggy circumstances and vague daydreams. Deserving Death was different however: it popped into my head when my partner and I were flying from Los Angeles to New York in 2012. It was the first Saturday after the 4th July, so lots of towns and cities were celebrating, which meant that as we flew through the darkness we looked down on countless fireworks displays, one after another, right across the country. I sat spellbound with my face pressed against the cold window while at the same time my mind wandered through blood and guts and bad bad deeds. Suddenly the idea was there. What if it was paramedics who were getting killed? I pulled out my notebook (never go anywhere without it) and started scribbling. Who died, who did it, and why? It always starts at that point, then expands outwards in all directions. I kept thinking as we got off the flight and caught a cab into the city (and that first view is something I'll never forget), and by the time we were standing on East 42nd Street to eat a 2 am hot dog in a shower of rain, I had the basis worked out.
I've not been so fortunate with the eighth book, which I'm writing now--I've been back in the fog, stumbling about, having a sense of the story rather than a clean crisp idea. But I'm used to that :) and it's coming along really well. Is it wrong that I'm already looking forward to its release in February next year??
Meanwhile the year rolls on! I have a few workshops in the early stages of scheduling - one will be a day-long crime writing workshop at the NSW Writers Centre in Sydney, another will be on plotting at the Northern Rivers Writers Centre in Byron Bay. Both of these are late in the year so details aren't on their sites yet. When it's all confirmed, I'll post them on my Learn with Katherine page. There are also a number of library talks coming up, the first at Garden City Shopping Centre in Brisbane on March 22nd, and the details for that are up now on my Events page. (The rest will be listed when confirmed.)
But right now, I'm leaping back into writing book 8. If you've got your hands on a copy of Deserving Death, I hope you're enjoying it! And thanks for reading :)
It's currently the 16th of July here in Australia, but still the 15th in the UK, which means today can be celebrated for two reasons - firstly, Cold Justice came out today in the UK! And the first two reviews are in: an absolute smasher from Lisa Glass at the awesome Vulpes Libris blog, a place I love for the range of books they examine, the depth of the commentary, and the writing of the reviewers. Here's a snippet:
This Ella Marconi + paramedic combination is evidently a winning
formula as the books have been bestsellers, and it’s easy to see why.
... The multi-voiced narrative works well here and I liked the voices
equally, which is a feat of storytelling in itself. ..... Cold Justice is easily
my favourite thriller of 2011, so if you’re interested in an intelligent,
enthralling and sensitive thriller with two heroic female main
characters, I highly recommend that you check it out.
Another UK blogger, Petrona, has also put up her thoughts in her review here. A couple of snippets:
Having very much enjoyed the author’s previous novel, The Darkest
Hour, I was looking forward to Cold Justice, and I was not disappointed.
... overall this is a great story which I raced through in a day; it beats me
why a book like this is not on top of the bestseller lists compared with
some of the lazy, formulaic offerings by authors whom I have long since
The other reason today is to be celebrated is that on the 16th July 1990 I joined the NSW Ambulance Service. I can't believe it's been twenty-one years! I was in that job for fifteen, which means I've been out for six, both of which are also hard to believe. I had some wonderful times in that job - some horrific times too, no doubt about that - but I'm so fortunate that today I'm able to make my living by writing (in part) about the things I did and saw, the people I looked after, my colleagues both good and not-so-good, and the reflections on life and death that resulted from all those things.
Here's to all of you working on the road, and to all of you reading about it!
The latest in Katherine's news, plus what she's been reading.