Publisher: Saxon Publishing
Genre: Crime Fiction, Mystery Thriller
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…
Scared to Death is a gripping fast paced crime thriller from author Rachel Amphlett, in a new series introducing Kay Hunter – a detective with a hidden past and an uncertain future…
Oohhh what a fantastic beginning to a new series! I love nothing more than getting caught up in a new series and I’m so excited about this one featuring detective Kay Hunter. She’s intelligent, capable and tough, but she has enough skeletons in her closet to keep things interesting. She also has a keen intuition which makes her a sharp and formidable detective.
The book starts out with a bang, a couple is racing against the clock to try and save their teenaged daughter. Melanie has been kidnapped and there is a ransom demand. I could feel the terror of her poor parents, I can’t imagine the despair and helplessness they were feeling, so awful. When things end in the worst possible way, Hunter has a huge mess to wade through and clean up. Can Hunter and her team outsmart this ruthless and cunning killer before he strikes again?
The killer here is quite frightening, he literally scares his victims to death and there were times that I was pretty scared myself! He’s crafty, cocky and sinister and seems to enjoy toying with the police and his victims. The pace here is snappy with short chapters that urge you to keep reading. This is dark and gritty, with surprises that I didn’t see coming. There is also a good mix of business and pleasure as you get glimpses into Kay’s personal life and relationship with her boyfriend Adam. There were some funny scenes between the two that added some warmth and humanity to an otherwise dark story. I’m really looking forward to the next book in this series and can definitely recommend this to crime fiction fans.
Overall rating: 4/5
Thanks to the author for my review copy.
Q & A
Novel Gossip Author Q&A
1. What’s a typical writing day for you look like? Describe your perfect writing environment.
I’m really lucky because I have a dedicated writing space at home, but that tends to get used for the “business end” of stuff most of the time, although I write in there when I’m doing sprints with author buddies in the evenings.
I still have a part-time job, so the majority of my writing takes place on the train during my morning commute – it’s a 35-minute trip into the city from where I live on the fringes of Brisbane, and in that time I can get upwards of 700 words done, and the same on the way back on a good day.
2. How did you get started writing? Was it something that you’ve always loved?
Yes, definitely. I could read before I started school, and we used to have regular fortnightly trips to the library when I was little because my parents couldn’t afford to keep up with my reading habits otherwise. I wrote my first short story at eight years old, but my mum had to type it up because no-one could read my scrawl. I had a school report at the time that stated my handwriting “resembled a spider walking across the page”.
3. Who are your favorite writers/inspirations?
When I set out to write the Kay Hunter series, I read every single interview I could find with Peter James, Ian Rankin, Val McDermid and Michael Connelly – I love their books, and I learned so much from them about the craft of writing a well-researched fast-paced crime thriller. It was like going back to school – I’ve got pages of notes!
I also enjoy books by Lee Child, Robert Crais, CJ Sansom, Ken Follett, Robert Bryndza and Angela Marsons – there are plenty of others, but I’d probably crash your blog page if I listed them all here! I love paperbacks, but Kindles are dangerous – every time I switch mine on, I forget I’ve downloaded another ten books…
4. Anything you can tell us about upcoming projects?
I’m just completing the first draft of the second book in the Kay Hunter series and over December while I’m promoting Scared to Death I’ll be outlining books 3 and 4 so I’ve can get on with writing those in early 2017. I’ve also got to sit down and start researching for what will be the fifth in my Dan Taylor espionage series…
5. Normally how do you develop plots/characters? Brief us on your process.
I’ll have an idea rumbling around in my head for a few weeks, over which time I’ll jot down scenes in a new notebook (any excuse for more stationery!). Once those start coming together more quickly, I’ll use the index card feature in Scrivener (a writing software app) and move scenes around until they start to make more sense.
For each scene, I’ll write out a couple of sentences about what happens and what I need to write. I outline about 50% of the book in this way before I start, which speeds up the writing process considerably – I let the characters dictate the rest, but having a structure keeps me on track and ensures I keep the story moving forward.
6. Preferred method for readers to contact you?
The easiest way for readers to keep up to date with me is by joining the mailing list via my website (www.rachelamphlett.com), but you can also find me here:
I always respond to emails personally, so feel free to drop me a line.
7. On average, how long does it take you to write a book?
A first draft typically takes me between 9-12 weeks, no more. The above process makes it so much easier to bash out the words – if I can’t settle into one scene of a morning, I’ll move onto another, even if it’s out of sequence. As long as I get the words down, it doesn’t matter.
8. Which one of your characters do you relate to the most?
Probably Kay, because I’m stubborn and I don’t give up easily.
9.What’s the best compliment that you’ve received about your work?
Any time someone compares me to one of my writing influences in a review for one of my novels, that’s a big pat on the back. It’s nice when those crop on days where I might be struggling with the word count for the next book!
Thanks for having me on your blog, Amy!
Check out all of the stops on the tour!