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.
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 realised.
With her career in jeopardy and 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...
Discovering new talented authors is always very exciting, especially when their book's blurb promises a nail-biting, thrilling ride. I have to say that I'd never heard of author Rachel Amphlett before and it's only now that I realise how much I was missing out! 'Scared to Death' is the first book in her new DS Kay Hunter series.
"I have your daughter. If you want to see her alive again, follow these instructions."
The author literally grabs the reader by the throat from the word go. The book kicks off with a heart-pounding, terrifying chapter. Having paid ransom, a desperate couple rushes through town at breakneck speed, their destination - a derelict lab in an abandoned industrial estate - the place where their daughter's kidnappers have promised they will find Melanie safe and sound. However once there, their worst fears come true. Yes, they find their daughter Melanie... but dead. My heart went out to the poor parents and I could feel their pain and heartbreak.
Was this a case of kidnapping gone wrong? Or was Melanie deliberately murdered? Who are these kidnappers? And why did they target Melanie and her family?
From then on the story takes a bizarre turn when a man possessing the ransom money is found dead. Was he the kidnapper? Did he kill Melanie? And who killed him? What's happening here?
DS Kay Hunter of Kent police, her boss DI Sharp and the rest of the team begin their investigation. We are told who the perpetrator is early on in the book - a seriously twisted and shrewd psychopath who loves nothing more than to scare his victims to death - but this makes the whole plot even more interesting. With no motive, no trace evidence and no suspect, how will Kay and the others solve this unusual case?
Reading crime novels, I always wonder how authors come around with such creative, ingenious, elaborate new ways of 'murdering' their poor victims. How do they come up with such ideas? Do they google these things?? Do they dream about them? This is certainly the case with Ms Amphlett. You'll know what I mean when you read the book.
All characters in this book are well portrayed and realistic. Kay Hunter is a very likeable character and I definitely want to meet her again in other books. She's an able, tough and well-respected police officer, married to a vet. She forms part of a great team. I liked the way the author depicts the strong camaraderie that exists between the team members. We know that Kay has gone through a very traumatic episode some time before the story in this book starts but we are not given any concrete details. Just a few hints as to what has happened, enough to spike the reader's curiosity, but the indications given are that the author intends to expand on this in future books.
Well I enjoyed every second I spent reading this book and I feel really excited with this new series. 'Scared to Death' includes all the ingredients a crime fiction lover like me looks out for in a book. The writing is excellent and the tense twisted plot keeps the reader engrossed throughout. Short chapters make the experience even more delightful so I could always squeeze in that additional chapter here and there whenever I had a spare moment.
With a clever, fast-paced, well-thought out plot, many great characters, several suspenseful, terrifying scenes and twists and turns galore, this book is just fabulous and I highly recommend it.
With many thanks to the author for an Advanced Reader Copy of this book which I received voluntarily.
Rachel Amphlett is the bestselling author of the Dan Taylor espionage novels and the new Detective Kay Hunter crime thriller series, as well as a number of standalone crime thrillers.
Originally from the UK and currently based in Brisbane, Australia, Rachel’s novels appeal to a worldwide audience, and have been compared to Robert Ludlum, Lee Child and Michael Crichton.
She 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.
You can keep in touch with Rachel by signing up to her mailing list via her website (http://www.rachelamphlett.com), or via Facebook (http://on.fb.me/TN7rpu) and Twitter: @RachelAmphlett