REVIEW: Scared to Death by Rachel Amphlett (DS Kay Hunter #1)

Series: DS Kay Hunter

Book Number: 1

Read this book for: thriller/suspense, serial killer, creepy badguys, multi-person POV, UK mysteries based outside central London

Quick Review: A promising opening to a new series featuring DS Kay Hunter, with a few interesting twists on classic thriller elements to create a worthwhile read.

Publication/Release Date: December 6, 2016


When the body of a kidnapped teenage girl is found in an abandoned building, the police treat the case as a kidnapping gone wrong, but DS Kay Hunter is not convinced, especially when a man is found dead with the ransom money still in his possession. Instinct leads her but it is difficult to find the evidence to put away her suspect. Will she be able to untangle the puzzle before another girl dies?

SCARED TO DEATH is the first novel in a new series by author Rachel Amphlett featuring DS Kay Hunter, based in Kent. It takes a somewhat typical serial killer scenario and twists it to find some interesting original features.

The multiple-kidnapping serial killers (particularly those that devise convoluted deaths for their victims) is a long-standing trope in the crime writing world. One of the things I found most interesting about SCARED TO DEATH is that in this novel, I actually believed the reason for the killings. It was new, interesting, and made a refreshing amount of sense. We also got to see the killer’s perspective (and learn more and more about his identity) from very early on in the story, which helped to make this reasoning work.

Although using the killer’s perspective took some of the mystery out of the story, and therefore some of the suspense, what I did find very interesting was the introduction of another figure tied to the killer (I can’t say more without spoiling it!) whose identity remained hinted at but unknown until the very end. There were a few gratifying surprises like this that helped this novel stand out from the crowd of other similar plots.

DS Kay Hunter was also an engaging and interesting creation. There were bits about her backstory that were hinted at that reminded me of times of Chris Chibnall’s Broadchurch series – hints of a professional standards/misconduct review that had recently been completed, and caused a great deal of upheaval in her personal life. I definitely want to find out more about what happened to her, why there is so much animosity between her and one of her superiors, and the story behind the professional standards review!

Pick up SCARED TO DEATH for a unique twist on a story you thought you knew, but be prepared to not put it down until you’re done!


PS. is pleased to be part of the blog tour for SCARED TO DEATH! Check out these other great book blogs on the tour. 


2 thoughts on “REVIEW: Scared to Death by Rachel Amphlett (DS Kay Hunter #1)

  1. Hi Leanna,

    Great to meet you 🙂

    Fiction Books is next on the blog tour list for this book, with a great guest post by Rachel. Although ‘Scared To Death’ hasn’t reached the top of my TBR pile yet, I am really looking forward to reading it, after there being so many excellent ratings and reviews (including your own), being submitted by the blogging community.

    I am definitely intrigued by the potential spoiler that you hint at 🙂


Leave a Reply