Book Review: Scared to Death by Rachel Amphlett


Title: Scared to Death
Series: A Detective Kay Hunter Novel #1
Author: Rachel Amphlett
Narrator: Alison Campbell
Publisher: Saxon Publishing
Publication Date: October 2, 2017


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Scared to Death
A Detective Kay Hunter Novel #1
Rachel Amphlett
Narrated by Alison Campbell
Saxon Publishing, October 2017
Downloaded Unabridged Audiobook

From the publisher—

“If you want to see your daughter alive again, listen carefully.”

When the body of a snatched schoolgirl is found in an abandoned biosciences building, the case is first treated as a kidnapping gone wrong.

But Detective Kay Hunter isn’t convinced, especially when a man is found dead with the ransom money still in his possession.

When a second schoolgirl is taken, Kay’s worst fears are realized.

With her career in jeopardy – desperate to conceal a disturbing secret, Kay’s hunt for the killer becomes a race against time before he claims another life.

For the killer, the game has only just begun….

Scared to Death is the first book in a new crime thriller series featuring Kay Hunter – a detective with a hidden past and an uncertain future….

Rachel Amphlett is an author who’s new to me and I am SO glad to have found her. She has no career background in law enforcement as far as I can tell but she certainly has crafted a fine police procedural.

When an abducted teen is found dead—after an emotionally-wrought build-up—Kay Hunter thinks this might be something more than a kidnap-for-ransom gone bad, unlike others on the force. With  a small team, the detective develops one lead after another into who might have killed Melanie in such evil fashion, following several paths, but when a second girl is taken, the pressure mounts to an unbearable level. A prime suspect is let go when the evidence against him is considered too weak but Kay is sure that he’s involved and that time is running out for Emma very soon.

It’s not easy to write a story as gruesome as this one is at points but it somehow fits better and is slightly more palatable in the hands of a British police department. Part of this is because British police are generally depicted as a bit more “average Joe” than Americans, a little less gung ho and certainly they don’t go in guns blazing. In the case of this story, Ms. Amphlett has also allowed her characters to have baggage without it overwhelming their lives. These detectives cope without turning into drunken, psychologically damaged people who have to struggle to get by each day and that is a very welcome change from so much American crime fiction. I especially appreciated Adam, Kay’s husband, who is a s supportive and caring as any husband can be.

As for the narration, Ms. Amphlett couldn’t have chosen a better woman to play the part of Detective Kay Hunter than Alison Campbell. Her evocation of the investigator is nearly perfect and she handles all other voices quite well, including the males. Ms. Campbell was indeed a large part of my enjoyment of Scared to Death and I’m glad I can dive into the next book, Will to Live, right away.

Reviewed by Lelia Taylor, March 2018.



About the Author

Before turning to writing, Rachel Amphlett played guitar in bands, worked as a TV and film extra, dabbled in radio as a presenter and freelance producer for the BBC, and worked in publishing as a sub-editor and editorial assistant.

She now wields a pen instead of a plectrum and writes crime fiction and spy novels, including the Dan Taylor espionage novels and the Detective Kay Hunter series.

Originally from the UK and currently based in Brisbane, Australia, Rachel cites her writing influences as Michael Connelly, Lee Child, and Robert Ludlum. She’s also a huge fan of Peter James, Val McDermid, Robert Crais, Stuart MacBride, and many more.

She’s a member of International Thriller Writers and the Crime Writers Association, with the Italian foreign rights for her debut novel, White Gold sold to Fanucci Editore’s TIMECrime imprint, and the first four books in the Dan Taylor espionage series contracted to Germany’s Luzifer Verlag.

Website // Twitter // Facebook // Goodreads // Instagram


About the Narrator

I’m a Bristol-based actress who trained at Bretton Hall and the University of Leeds. I’ve been involved with a huge range of projects and love a bit of variety of life!

I’m lucky to be a verstile performer – think everything  from Shakespeare, to  interactive theatre, comedy, solo shows and a whole host of different voice work.

I’m experienced in devising, improvisation, multi-roleing, immersive theatre and voice acting,

I have a lot of fun performing across the UK and round the world with the award-winning Natural Theatre, specialising in immersive, interactive theatre in surprising places.

I also teach youth theatre, facilitate theatre workshops and am experienced in corporate roleplay and presenting.

I’m represented by Louise Alexander at BAM Associates



Play an excerpt here.


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