A young girl dies – a kidnapping gone wrong. Nothing is what it seems in this case and Detective Kay Hunter is determined to catch the sadistic murderer
Detective Kay Hunter #1
What can you do when someone thrives on other people’s fear? Young innocent girls are kidnapped; before they have a chance to react they are drugged and kept locked up. At some point during their imprisonment, they become fully aware of what awaits them: a slow and painful death. No wonder they are literally scared to death. What monster could do such a cruel thing, would experience enjoyment, a thrill in watching the girls’ agony?
DS Kay Hunter is appalled by the terrible death of a young girl and she will do all it takes to get to the bottom of this. Kay Hunter has stolen my heart: she’s courageous and strong, and until recently had a promising career. She struggles to overcome both her professional as her private difficulties when she’s assigned to what initially looks like a kidnapping gone wrong. I can recommend this gripping and chilling thriller, brilliantly written by Rachel Amphlett.
I love it when a book starts right in the middle of the action and ‘Scared to Death’ certainly does. Thus the reader finds him- or herself in the car with anxious Tony and Yvonne Richards and are witness to their desperation, feel their perturbation. When they arrive at an abandoned biosciences building it becomes clear they are on their way to free their daughter Melanie kidnapped during their absence abroad. If you would have any doubts whether they will arrive on time, read the last sentence of chapter 1: “Then Tony began to scream, his terror echoing off the walls of the laboratory.” The utterly shaken parents call in the police and that is when DS Kay Hunter is assigned to the case by her boss DI Sharp. With this assignment, DI Sharp shows not only Kay and her colleagues but also his superior DCI Larch that he has the fullest confidence in Kay’s abilities to conduct and lead a complicated police investigation.
To understand the underlying reasons, we understand that recently Kay has been before a Professional Standards Committee to answer charges brought against her by DCI Larch regarding tampering with evidence. Kay was cleared of all charges, hence the anger of DCI Larch directed at Kay. Since the kidnapping and death of Melanie will no doubt turn out to be a high-profile case, you can rest assured DCI Larch will follow every move Kay makes. To make matters worse, Tony, Melanie’s father, collapsed at the crime scene and died shortly after. When the CSI worked the crime scene, they found a camera directed at Melanie, to record her dying moments. Kay has a nasty feeling; she suspects the initial theory of ‘kidnapping gone wrong’ may turn out to be something even more terrifying. After what appears to be a suicide the police find the ransom money; where DCI Larch insists upon closing the case, Kay has a hunch there is something off and decides to pursue the case, no matter what the consequences.
Meanwhile, the reader knows Kay’s instincts are spot on, because we see the perpetrator enjoying his sick game of cruelty. We learn about the man’s sad background and shocking as this might be, it gives him no right to scare others to death for the sole purpose of seeking revenge and feeling exhilarated whilst viewing the victim’s last minutes. Furthermore, as Kay will soon discover, Melanie was no random victim, but targeted for kidnap. What follows is a hunt for the murderer, becoming even more desperate when the police realise there could be more victims, in the past as well as in the imminent future. Kay knows one false step and she’s out of the force, despite being backed by her superior DI Sharp. Then there are also the personal struggles she has to deal with, the loss she hasn’t yet come to terms with. Will she have the time to figure it all out? And can she prevent the murderer from torturing and killing more young girls?
Read Rachel Amphlett‘s first novel in the Detective Kay Hunter series and find out for yourself! I love reading this detective novel, especially the fact that the police case(s) are intertwined with insights into the personal lives of the protagonists. Although you have to get to know quite a few characters in the beginning of ‘Scared to Death’, for me it’s an added feature of the book to be able to empathise with the main characters. I look forward to reading many more books in this detective series!
The next instalment in the Detective Kay Hunter series is ‘Will to Live’ – my review (to be posted on April 6th).
About the Author
Before moving from Britain to Australia in 2005, Rachel Amphlett has done many things: from running a pub to playing guitar in a band, from working for tv, radio and film to several jobs in the publishing business. Rachel loves to travel and plans her holidays years in advance. Rachel Amphlett is the bestselling author of the Dan Taylor espionage novels as well as a number of standalone crime thrillers. No wonder she is a member of International Thriller Writers and the Crime Writers Association.
|Publisher||Saxon Publishing (6 Dec. 2016)|