- Author: Rachel Amphlett
- Published: December 2016 by Saxon Publishing
- Category: Crime, Thriller, Suspense
A serial killer murdering for kicks.
A detective seeking revenge.
When the body of a snatched schoolgirl is found in an abandoned biosciences building, the case is first treated as a kidnapping gone wrong.
Yvonne and Tony Richards return home after a holiday to a ransom demand for the safe return of their teenage daughter, Melanie. Having paid the ransom, the Richards’ follow the kidnapper’s instructions but the search for Melanie ends in a double tragedy. Detective Sergeant Kay Hunter and Detective Constable Ian Barnes race to the scene. Kay is more than relieved to be Ian Barnes’ deputy SIO, after she had recently been involved in a Professional Standards investigation, which cost her personally as well as professionally.
Initially the crime scene seemed like a kidnapping gone wrong and Kay is horrified at what she finds. As the investigation progresses she begins to believe there’s more to the case than was first apparent, especially when the ransom money and a suicide are discovered.
Kay Hunter is a likeable and realistic protagonist. I enjoyed the way her back story and home life is worked into the narrative, rounding out her character even as you know there is more to find out. Despite the lack of support from DCI Larch, her boss, who believes Kay should have lost her badge, Kay stands by her convictions and voices her opinions regardless, if she thinks it’s necessary. Her partner, Adam, is a local vet and they’re in a stable and loving relationship, which is a welcome change. Kay’s relations with her mother and sister aren’t so good.
Kay hung up the phone, and placed it gently into the cradle, despite wanting to throw it across the room. She took a deep breath.
Her mother knew how to rattle her. Had done for years, with constant comparisons to her older sister, her dislike of the job – she’d only recently stopped berating her for living with Adam without being married, and that was after several years of telling her he wasn’t good enough for her.
Before that, growing up, it was about the way she dressed, who her friends were, how her exam results hadn’t turned out to match her mother’s expectations.
Kay is strong, dedicated and level-headed, although the investigation knocked her confidence, giving her an air of vulnerability which makes her more human. Rachel Amphlett has created believable characters and realistic situations in a well written and presented storyline which encompasses several difficult topics.
This book is tense and dramatic from the start, with the ‘racing against time’ impression as the story develops. The unpredictable plot is well paced and gritty, and although we know early on who the killer is, the surprises don’t end there. I enjoyed the police procedural aspect very much, it all wrapped up perfectly. An excellent read…and I love the ending scene. Look forward to the next in the series and learning more about Kay Hunter.
I chose to read and review Scared To Death, based on an advance reader copy from the author/publisher.
About Rachel Amphlett
Originally from the UK and currently based in Brisbane, Australia, Rachel is a member of International Thriller Writers and the Crime Writers Association, with the Italian foreign rights for her debut novel, White Gold, being sold to Fanucci Editore’s TIMECrime imprint in 2014.
An advocate for knowledge within the publishing industry, Rachel is always happy to share her experiences to a wider audience through her blogging and speaking engagements.