Scared to Death (A Detective Kay Hunter mystery) by Rachel Amphlett

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Author: Rachel Amphlett

Genre: Crime, Thrillers & Mystery

Format: Paperback 378 pages

Release Date: 6 December 2016

Publisher: Saxon Publishing

My Rating: ****

This book was provided to me by the Author. This is an honest review based on my personal opinions of the book. 

After my last review where I took a chance on a historical ballet fiction book, I felt I needed to go back to my tried and tested genre of crime thriller. ‘Scared to death’ is the first book in the Detective Kay Hunter Mystery series and lived up to all my expectations.

The opening chapter jumped straight in with Yvonne and Tony arriving at an old abandoned biosciences building in search of their daughter Melanie who had gone missing. They discover a dark opening leading down to a hole and the chapter leaves the reader cliff-hanging at this point with Tony screaming from what he’s seen. This, as it turns out, is the first of many cliff-hangers throughout the book.

Detective Kay Hunter, the main character, is introduced in the next chapter and the investigation into Melanie’s death is originally treated as a kidnapping gone wrong, but Detective Kay Hunter’s keen intuition tells her something is wrong with this assessment and continues to investigate the case with an open mind.  

What I respected most whilst reading this book, is the leading character Detective Kay Hunter’s tenacity and determination to investigate the case properly despite doubts about her abilities from her superiors. It is so refreshing to read a book with a strong female lead who has a stable home life and despite her various struggles is still focused on doing the best she can for the investigation. 

I liked the sub-storyline involving Detective Kay Hunter and her superior DCI Larch and the tension between them over her previous professional standards investigation. It make her relatable as a character showing that she is a person dealing with work place issues and office politics just like the majority of people out there. 

I enjoyed how some of the chapters were told from the perspective of the individual involved in the killing of Melanie and how the author gave small glimpses into his mindset. These glimpses progressed nicely throughout the book giving away a bit more each time but just enough to keep you guessing as to his true intentions. 

What I most admired about this book, was after having spoken with the author, I know Rachel has done her homework and spoken with police officers here in the UK to make sure her descriptions of police processes and investigations are accurate and factual in the context of her books. This does show through in her writing, she gives clear descriptions without going into too much detail that the average reader of a fiction book probably wouldn’t be interested in. I have read books in the past where so much detail is crammed in that it almost detracts from the storytelling and gave me the impression that the author just wanted to ensure that every piece of research they had gathered was included. There’s an art to providing detail suitable for your audience whilst not ‘fact filling’, and in my opinion the author here has found that happy balance. 

I liked how the author worked through the process of an investigation and the need to look into all relevant lines of enquiry and to follow the evidence wherever it may lead. At no point did I feel lost during the book, or wondering how I got to a certain point. The plots moved on from each other in a consistent manner, constantly building on the previous section and moving the story along. 

I personally found the detailed descriptions of the murder scenes just enough to provide the reader with enough information to build the scene in their mind, but not too detailed as to create an uncomfortable shock factor. 

As I have mentioned, this is the first book in a series and I cannot wait to read the next one! This ticked all the boxes for me in what I would expect from a book of this genre. It was gripping, had numerous twists I didn’t see coming, and kept me on the edge of my seat throughout. This book should be on the reading list for any crime thriller fans. 

For more please follow me on Twitter @BucksBooks

Thanks for reading!

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