ARC REVIEW: Scared To Death – by Rachel Amphlett @RachelAmphlett

Title: Scared To Death
(Detective Kay Hunter #1)
Author: Rachel Amphlett
Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Crime
First published: December 3rd 2016
Publisher: Saxon Publishing
Finished reading: April 5th 2018
Pages: 380

“She’d never baulked at the horrors her job entailed, but it was this, this human element that kicked her in the gut and kept her focused.”

*** A copy of this book was kindly provided to me by the author in exchange for an honest review. Thank you! ***

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I know, I know, I’m kind of late to the Kay Hunter party, but better late than never right? I’ve been meaning to pick up this detective series for a long time now, and winning wonderful Meggy‘s giveaway turned out to be the perfect excuse to do so. A huge thank you to Rachel Amphlett for not only sending me the giveaway prize of the fifth Detective Kay Hunter book, but also giving me access to the previous books!

Ever had that feeling you have a million books you should get to first, but a different title keeps calling your name and you just HAVE to drop everything and read that one instead? That is exactly what happened with Scared To Death. True, I have been meaning to start this series for ages after numerous glowing reviews, and somehow seeing the first book near the top of my kindle library just made it impossible to resist any longer. About time as well, because I am now kicking myself for waiting this long. Say hello to another new favorite detective series! Oh yes, it didn’t take long for me to figure out my feelings for the Detective Kay Hunter series and consider me completely and entirely hooked. Why? First of all, Scared To Death has everything I look for in a detective thriller. Well written, fast-paced, an interesting plot with lots of twists, a healthy dose of suspense, a creepy suspect/killer and a strong investigation… This first Detective Kay Hunter book ticked all those boxes and more. Another thing that stood out for me was the main character Kay Hunter. Not only is she very easy to like, but she has a very strong personality and lacks the overly dramatic and disaster personal life a lot of (female) lead detective seem to suffer from. Sure, she has her background and problems (some details I am really curious to learn more about), but overal she has an almost ‘ordinary’ life and I can’t stress enough how refreshing that is. Furthermore, the case her team has to investigate is without doubt an interesting one, and soon turns out to be more complicated than they imagined. Trigger warnings are in place for abuse and violent/graphic scenes, but nothing too extreme and the elements helped set the right atmosphere. The title of this first book is spot on! What a way to start a story… I can highly recommend this series to anyone who enjoys detective thrillers. I myself can’t wait to pick up the next one!

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Detective Kay Hunter and her team are called in after the body of a teenager is found in an abandoned building. It turns out she was abducted days ago, the parents only finding out later when they came home from vacation… And out of fear for the life of their daughter, they never contacted the police before it was too late. The general opinion seems to be to treat the case as a kidnapping gone wrong, but Detective Kay Hunter isn’t so sure. What really happened to the teenager and who is behind the kidnapping?

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Every once in a while you come across a series and/or a main character that manages to convince you from the very first chapter. Scared To Death and Kay Hunter are a perfect example of this feeling. I knew I was going to love this detective thriller almost right away, and not just because I knew fellow bloggers with a similar taste did. There is just something about the writing style and perfect use of suspense that will manage to hook you straight away. And I’m so glad I finally got to meet Kay Hunter! She is hands down one of my new favorite female detectives and the fact that she is both a strong female lead and doesn’t have a completely destroyed personal life was truly refreshing. The case itself was intense, slightly disturbing and had just the right amount of twists to keep things exciting. Without doubt a worthy crime thriller!


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WWW Wednesdays #171 – April 11th

WWW WEDNESDAYS is a weekly meme hosted by Sam @ Taking On A World Of Words and is all about answering the three questions below.

  • WHAT ARE YOU CURRENTLY READING?

I’m currently reading A Secondhand Life by Pamela Crane, and I’m absolutely hooked so far. I was in desperate need of a fast thriller after my last read, and this book is giving me exactly what I needed! Also, I’ve decided to put Het Laatste Offer (the final offer) by Simone Van Der Vlugt on hold for now, both because I have quite a few ARCs I need to get to first, I’m not really convinced by the story so far and I simply feel too lazy to read in Dutch right now. 😉

  • WHAT DID YOU RECENTLY FINISH READING?

1. Scared To Death by Rachel Amphlett (4,5/5 stars) REVIEW 13/04
Every once in a while you come across a series and/or a main character that manages to convince you from the very first chapter. Scared To Death and Kay Hunter are a perfect example of this feeling. I knew I was going to love this detective thriller almost right away, and not just because I knew fellow bloggers with a similar taste did. There is just something about the writing style and perfect use of suspense that will manage to hook you straight away. And I’m so glad I finally got to meet Kay Hunter! She is hands down one of my new favorite female detectives and the fact that she is both a strong female lead and doesn’t have a completely destroyed personal life was truly refreshing. The case itself was intense, slightly disturbing and had just the right amount of twists to keep things exciting. Without doubt a worthy crime thriller!

2. The Letter For The King by Tonke Dragt (3/5 stars) REVIEW 15/04
This was my very first MG read of the year and a translation of an older (1962) Dutch publication. I thought I had read it before when I was a kid, but apparently I was wrong, because I didn’t recognize the story. That said, I think I probably would have enjoyed it a lot better back then. I can’t put my finger on it, but I just couldn’t get used to the writing style and tone and it took me ages to finish this one. I felt it was rather slow and dragged at points… This story is over 500 pages long and I think it would have worked better with a faster pace and 200 pages less. The story itself is interesting as well as the quest the main character is on; I liked the worldbuilding. But overall it was just too slow for me. The right age-group will enjoy this story a lot better though, as long as they don’t have a short attention span.

  • WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’LL READ NEXT?

I really need to finish some ARCs before I go on my trip, because the deadline falls during my planned hiatus time… There are now five in total (probably not going to happen…), but here are the three I’ll be trying to read next. First up is Find You In The Dark by Nathan Ripley, because I’m in the mood for thrillers in the first place. The Air Raid Killer by Frank Goldammer is another translation and set during WWII, so fingers crossed it will be a good one. And I also need to read The Poison Plot by Elaine Forman Crane, although I have heard mixed things about it and I’m not sure if it will be the right time for me to try and read it (even though I miss the deadline otherwise) My latest TBR jar pick is still Summer Of Sloane by Erin L. Schneider, which I’ve decided to read during my trip on one of the many train/bus rides in between places.


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WWW Wednesdays #170 – April 4th

WWW WEDNESDAYS is a weekly meme hosted by Sam @ Taking On A World Of Words and is all about answering the three questions below.

  • WHAT ARE YOU CURRENTLY READING?

I’m currently reading the first detective Kay Hunter book Scared To Death by Rachel Amphlett, a title I’ve been meaning to get to for ages and I’m SO excited to be finally doing so!! I’ve also started my first Dutch read of the year, partly in preparation for our Europe trip, although I admit I haven’t been picking it up much so far. Het Laatste Offer (the final offer) by Simone Van Der Vlugt is a thriller partly set in Egypt, but I’m having a hard time getting used to the writing style and tone so far (although part of the reason is me not being used to reading in Dutch and feeling awkward when doing so. xD)

  • WHAT DID YOU RECENTLY FINISH READING?

1. The Good Twin by Marti Green (4,5/5 stars) REVIEW 
There is no doubt whatsoever that The Good Twin has everything I look for in a psychological thriller and more. A well developed plot, interesting characters, just the right amount of suspense and plot twists to keep me guessing… And of course a writing style that is engaging and flows naturally. The premise of The Good Twin is fantastic, and the execution without doubt lives up to expectations. It’s easy to say I can recommend it to any psychological thriller fan. You will be in for a treat with this one!

2. Ready Player One by Ernest Cline (4/5 stars) REVIEW 08/04
I’ve been meaning to read this one for years, but there has been such a hype around this title that I’ve been a bit afraid to actually pick it up. I read Armada first last year, and wasn’t really blown away… But I was still determined to read Ready Player One one day. And I’m so glad I did, because I loved it so much better! From the setting to the characters, the worldbuilding and the game references… Such a great, well written and entertaining read!

3. Jilliand by Clare Gutierrez (3/5 stars) REVIEW 09/04
I admit I was sold as soon as I saw the cover and mention of vikings. I’m a huge fan of the TV show Vikings and I don’t think I’ve ever read a story about vikings before, so I was really excited to by reading Jilliand. And it was by no means a bad read, just that it didn’t manage to blow me away. There was just something about the tone and writing style that felt a bit distant and made it harder to connect to the story. Also, I felt there were sudden changes between scenes that either didn’t feel natural or simply didn’t connect with each other. More than once I found myself wondering suddenly what was happening, where they were or who the story was talking about… Not a good sign. I also felt the characters lacked some dept.

  • WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’LL READ NEXT?

I’m trying to read all the ARCs due during the upcoming hiatus, so I have three NG ARCS lined up next. The first is a translation of an older Dutch book I think I have read before: The Letter For The King by Tonke Dragt. It’s also going to be my first MG read this year! I’m also looking forward to A Secondhand Life by Pamela Crane since the blurb sounds brilliant. The Air Raid Killer by Frank Goldammer is another translation and set during WWII, so fingers crossed it will be a good one. My latest TBR jar pick is still Summer Of Sloane by Erin L. Schneider.


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Teaser Tuesdays #172 – April 3rd: Scared To Death

TEASER TUESDAYS is a weekly book meme hosted at The Purple Booker. To participate, just open the book you are currently reading to a random page, and choose two ‘teaser’ sentences from somewhere on that page. (no spoilers!)

Technically I haven’t started reading this one yet, but since I will today it still sort of counts right? I’m so SO excited to be finally meeting Kay Hunter and I’m having very high expectations for Scared To Death! Fingers crossed this will be another detective series to add to my favorites.

My teaser (2%):

“A hand reached out for hers, and she wound her fingers around his, seeking strength. She found none.”

What are you reading right now?


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WWW Wednesdays 169 – March 28th

WWW WEDNESDAYS is a weekly meme hosted by Sam @ Taking On A World Of Words and is all about answering the three questions below.

  • WHAT ARE YOU CURRENTLY READING?

I started reading one my pending ARCs The Good Twin by Marti Green yesterday evening, and although it’s still early days, I’m having high hopes for this one. I’m also about to finally pick up Ready Player One by Ernest Cline… I’ve been saying this for ages, but now the time has finally come! Definitely looking forward to it.

  • WHAT DID YOU RECENTLY FINISH READING?

1. Deadly Secrets by Robert Bryndza (4,5/5 stars) REVIEW 30/03
I had high expectations for this newest DCI Erika Foster story and I’m happy to say those expectations were more than met. I enjoyed every single minute of Deadly Secrets! Book number six takes a bit of a different direction and Erika Foster is not as present as normal, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t plenty of action and a very interesting police investigation to follow. This case is another disturbing one that will lead to many misleading twists as the team is trying to untangle the lies and secrets that surround the life of the victim. Very much recommended for fans of the genre!

2. Wing Jones by Katherine Webber (3,5/5 stars) REVIEW 29/03
Wing Jones is a YA contemporary romance story with a twist. You will find a healthy dose of drama, with the main character Wing’s brother being in a coma after a car accident he was to blame for. There will be romance scenes as well, which can be distracting, but gladly at least did not include a love triangle. But the main element of Wing Jones, besides showing how they have to live with the aftermath of the accident, is running. I just love how important running is in this story and how Wing uses this newly found talent to try to move on and make a life for herself.

3. The Elephant Keeper’s Daughter by Julia Drosten (2,5/5 stars) REVIEW 31/03
I really wanted to like this one and I still think the plot itself has a lot of potential. The worldbuilding and descriptions of the era and setting are thorough and it shows the background of The Elephant Keeper’s Daughter was very well researched. Sadly, I’m still on the fence about this one, as I didn’t manage to enjoy it as much as I thought I would. Part of the problem was the tone and writing style as well as the fact the story didn’t really flow… Which made it hard to properly connect to the story. The setting is fascinating though as well as the time period the story is set in with its consequences of the British invasion.

4. Salt To The Sea by Ruta Sepetys (4/5 stars) REVIEW 08/04
I have a weak spot for WWII historical fiction in general and I hadn’t heard about the Wilhelm Gustloff incident before, so that was a double bonus for me. It truly shows in the little details just how well researched this novel is and the descriptions made it feel as if you were there yourself along with the characters.  I admit it took me a while to get used to the multiple POVs and remembering who is who, which slowed down the pace inicially, but each different character and POV does show a different view on the situation and add something to the story.

  • WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’LL READ NEXT?

I have two pending ARCs lined up next. The first, Jilliand by Clare Gutierrez, I’m super excited about since it’s a historical fiction read about vikings that made me think of the TV show Vikings immediately (which is a good thing, since it’s one of my favorites!). I’m looking forward to A Secondhand Life by Pamela Crane as well since the blurb sounds brilliant. And I’m superhappy to be finally starting with the Kay Hunter series! I will definitely be starting with Scared To Death by Rachel Amphlett ASAP. My latest TBR jar pick is still Summer Of Sloane by Erin L. Schneider.


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