Rachel Amphlett is the author of a series of espionage novels featuring her protagonist Dan Taylor. When I met her at Crimefest, the author told me she was working on a new detective series and Scared to Death is the result. The book opens with the kidnapping of a teenage girl and the desperate attempts by her parents to ensure her safety by paying the ransom demanded. Detective Kay Hunter of the Kent police is called in to deal with the ensuing tragedy and attempts to prevent the killer striking again.
As I follow Rachel on Twitter I can she see she writes in intense bursts and this is strongly reflected in the tone of writing and narrative structure. It makes for a thrilling read. Although I hadn’t read any of her previous books I think this series has great promise. I found myself drawn into the story despite finding the crimes quite grim (this isn’t a criticism!). You get passages with the killer’s point of view. I think they work with this kind of crime novel and it certainly made a creepy read even creepier.
Like other great crime novels, she balances the rather gruesome crime story with glimpses of the personal life of her lead detective. Tension at work with her boss as the result of a previous case are set against her stable home life which is good to see with a female detective.
There’s plenty of mileage left with the character of Kay Hunter and hopefully Scared to Death is the start of a successful new crime series.