Scared to Death

Detective Kay Hunter, Book 1
Narrated by: Alison Campbell
Series: Detective Kay Hunter, Book 1
Length: 8 hrs and 26 mins
4 out of 5 stars (146 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

"If you want to see your daughter alive again, listen carefully."

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 realized.

With her career in jeopardy - 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 the first book in a new crime thriller series featuring Kay Hunter - a detective with a hidden past and an uncertain future....

If you like the Kim Stone series by Angela Marsons, Peter Robinson's DCI Banks series and the Erika Foster series by Robert Bryndza, discover Rachel Amphlett's new detective novels today.

©2016 Rachel Amphlett (P)2017 Saxon Publishing

What listeners say about Scared to Death

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Solid Police Procedural Makes the Mark

I enjoyed Scared to Death for what it is: a down to earth, readable and reasonably suspenseful modern police procedural. This novel may not a groundbreaker, but it contains all the elements of a good mystery and stands out in a few areas: a feeling of spookiness in the atmosphere, a descriptive darkness pulls the reader in; crimes that made me shiver but that were not overdone, or overtly gory- more of a slow-burning suspense. I liked that the author created a sense of ambivalence between the victims and the evildoer, as more and more is learned about what the victims’ own behavior might have provoked in an individual with a fragile ego. Finally, the author has crafted an enigmatic heroine, who shows true strength, grit and most importantly, class, in her dealings with some tough politics at the office. This was a good read and I look forward to seeing what the series has in store.

I was given this review copy audiobook for free at my request and have voluntarily left this unbiased review.

13 people found this helpful

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Ready to binge the Series!

I started at the beginning with this Book 1 of the Kay Hunter series and now I am going to read all the others. I like the characters and the story was engaging. I enjoy police procedurals with female leads but do not want to be bogged down with too much detail on their personal or romantic lives. I can get that in a work of general fiction. This book hit the mark for me- enough to provide some insight but not so much that you lost track of the central plot line. The only negative for me was the narrator. I see that some readers love her so it is obviously a matter of individual taste, but I found her to be quite irritating. Her dialogue voice was very good, but the general narration drove me up the wall with her very measured and d-i-s-t-i-n-c-t enunciation of every word. I see she narrates all of this series however, so I guess I will just have to get used to it. Otherwise this was a great book.

4 people found this helpful

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An Excellent Beginning to an exciting series

Rachel Amphlett has found the secret to create a thriller crime series. When I listened to this audiobook I got the sense that everything gels well together.  I’d say the author excels at portraying realistic crime scenes, fascinating plotting, with a unique killer. Which, in this crowded field is easier said than done.  A very solid book and balanced writing.

Narrator Alison Campbell has intriguing style of narration. Her accent is great with the ability to create various character voices.  Pacing is slower, yet lures you more into the story. Great job! I’m definitely looking forward continuing this series.


An excellent beginningeginning to an exciting series!

4 people found this helpful

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It had me glued to my headphones

A schoolgirl is kidnapped and found dead in terrible circumstances. Detective Kay Hunter is assigned to the case, but finding the culprit seems to be very difficult since the motives are not clear. Why was the girl kidnapped and killed, since the ransom was just a small amount of money and it was not even claimed?

Thrillers are not my main favorite genre, but I enjoy them from time to time to take a rest from other books. This was a really good thriller, with realistic characters, a good plot with several twists and turns, and the right amount of tension to have me glued to my headphones. The audiobook is almost eight hours and a half, but I listened to it in less than a weekend (I managed to complete a lot of chores). There is a lot of action, but not only that. The main character is well developed and has a back story that I expect to be of importance in the next books. Her marriage differs somewhat from other couples seen in thrillers, which I found refreshing.

We know who the killer is from quite early in the story, but we know we are still missing a lot of information, and there are several twists that made me want to know more. The killer profile is not completely original, but that makes it believable and interesting in equal parts.

I loved Alison Campbell's narration. She delivered great character's interpretations and and gave different voices and styles to all the characters. This was done in a very subtle way avoiding interfering with the story. It was the perfect match for this book.

I'm looking forward to the rest of the series, and to know more about Kay's past and how she came to be where she is now.

I received this audiobook as part of my participation in a blog tour with Audiobookworm Promotions. The tour is being sponsored by Rachel Amphlett. The gifting of this audiobook did not affect my opinion of it.

4 people found this helpful

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I've found my new murder mystery addiction

I enjoyed this gritty British detective story. Kay Hunter is a very interesting character. While the tale starts off in the midst of this gripping kidnapping, it was really Kay’s character that drew me into the story. She’s recently been through the ringer and we get hints of that as we move forward through this mystery. I wanted to know more about her throughout the entire story.

The mystery itself was worthy. First, we have a kidnapped teen (Melanie Richards) whose body is later found. The manner of her corpse gives Kay clues but a murdered man later in the story muddies the waters for her. For us readers, we get these scenes from the murder’s point of view. So it’s a delicious cat and mouse game. Later, a second girl is kidnapped and this ups the stakes for Kay.

My one quibble is that near the end of the book Kay acts out of character, rushing in. Without saying too much, this was an extremely stupid move and so didn’t fit with her actions throughout the story. I felt it was there just to add drama to the story and it wasn’t really necessary.

I liked the teen bullying angle and how other teens react to the kidnapping of the first girl. The parents have a different reaction to the kidnapping, of course, but then to learn about the bullying surprised them. It was a nice touch and it also showed that even after the mystery is solved, there are still things to address with the teens.

I have to mention Adam, Kay’s husband. He’s a veterinarian and a very supportive man. We only get a few scenes with him but he appears to be a very solid loving man that is devoted to Kay. That made me happy because she has so much on her plate, has recently been through quite a bit, and everyone needs someone in their corner. All told, an enjoyable read. 4.5/5 stars.

The Narration: Alison Campbell made a very good Detective Kay Hunter. She captured all of her numerous emotions throughout the story. Campbell also had regional accents throughout and her masculine voices were believable. All around, it was a very good performance with no technical issues. 5/5 stars.

I received this audiobook as part of my participation in a blog tour with Audiobookworm Promotions. The tour is being sponsored by Rachel Amphlett. The gifting of this audiobook did not affect my opinion of it.

3 people found this helpful

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Worst performance!!!! Great character

Such a pity! The story is good and Kay is great! A lot of promises but the performer is horrible! Every sentenced it’s read in the same tone with way too much excitement which means a simple sentence like opening the door and the killer is revealed are read in the same tone. I am a very avid listener and this is the second time I have to give up on a strong DS story because of this performer... when she reads character’s dialogues it’s really ok but inbetween it ruins the entire story

6 people found this helpful

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Scared to Death

Children should never be faced with death. It is immoral, it is devastating and it is tragic. But, who do you place the blame on? If it is cancer, the blame is placed on doctors or perhaps the man upstairs, but there is rarely ever vengeful thoughts or a demand for justice. When it is murder—that blame is placed irrevocably on the person responsible for abruptly ending that life. Murder makes everyone look guilty and suddenly motive is everywhere, but could it have been random? A complete stranger or was it someone close? Amphlett has an intriguing first installment in her Detective Kay Hunter Mystery series which will leave readers entertained and guessing for most of the story.

Detective Kay Hunter is on the case. A girl has been reported to have been strangled to death in an abandoned biosciences building. With the ongoing search, the higher ups think this should be a clean open and shut case, especially since a man turns up in the local park with a suicide note and a suitcase full of ransom cash from the girl’s parents. The detective is not so easily convinced though. After investigating the crime scene and everyone who came in contact with her, she is determined that this girl will not be a cold case. Once another girl is kidnapped, it not only provides them more clues about the killer, but it becomes a personal vendetta for the police force. Will Detective Kay Hunter and her partner be able to find the girl before time runs out?

Amphlett has a terrific first installment with her Detective Kay Hunter Mystery series, Scared to Death. The character development is purposefully slow as to not give away the whole story-line right away, but the pace and flow are steady. Since this review is complementing the audiobook, the narrator portrayed the characters beautifully and with the author’s vivid description, they both gave life to the story together. If you are a reader of murder mystery and crime fiction, you may enjoy this book. With this being the first installment in the Detective Kay Hunter series, readers can jump right in.

An audiobook was provided to Turning Another Page by Audiobookworm Promotions and in no way affects the honesty of this review. We provide a five-star rating for Scared to Death by Rachel Amphlett.

1 person found this helpful

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A terrific police procedural

4.5 stars

Rachel Amphlett is an author who's new to me and I am SO glad to have found her. She has no career background in law enforcement as far as I can tell but she certainly has crafted a fine police procedural.

When an abducted teen is found dead---after an emotionally-wrought build-up---Kay Hunter thinks this might be something more than a kidnap-for-ransom gone bad, unlike others on the force. With a small team, the detective develops one lead after another into who might have killed Melanie in such evil fashion, following several paths, but when a second girl is taken, the pressure mounts to an unbearable level. A prime suspect is let go when the evidence against him is considered too weak but Kay is sure that he's involved and that time is running out for Emma very soon.

It's not easy to write a story as gruesome as this one is at points but it somehow fits better and is slightly more palatable in the hands of a British police department. Part of this is because British police are generally depicted as a bit more "average Joe" than Americans, a little less gung ho and certainly they don't go in guns blazing. In the case of this story, Ms. Amphlett has also allowed her characters to have baggage without it overwhelming their lives. These detectives cope without turning into drunken, psychologically damaged people who have to struggle to get by each day and that is a very welcome change from so much American crime fiction. I especially appreciated Adam, Kay's husband, who is a s supportive and caring as any husband can be.

As for the narration, Ms. Amphlett couldn't have chosen a better woman to play the part of Detective Kay Hunter than Alison Campbell. Her evocation of the investigator is nearly perfect and she handles all other voices quite well, including the males. Ms. Campbell was indeed a large part of my enjoyment of Scared to Death and I'm glad I can dive into the next book, Will to Live, right away.

1 person found this helpful

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Hypnotized by Campbell's voice

“Scared to death,” what a great title for a thriller! I think most of us have heard the phrase, right? This book was fantastic! I can’t even imagine what these parents went through looking for their daughter, Melanie. This book goes deep and really tackles some major underlying issues that seem to be plaguing our society these days… bullying. It’s prominent everywhere… no race, color, creed, or religious background is exempt.

I haven’t previously read anything by Rachel Amphlett but I really enjoyed this audio book. While this isn’t a great mystery on who the killer is, it’s a fantastic cat and mouse as we try and capture the guilty. This book really amps up the tension, when Kay Hunter feels threatened at work by someone. This book unfolds quickly and it was a very entertaining read. I would have liked a bit more mystery but there’s more in this series… we’ll see how that goes!

The narrator, Alison Campbell was fantastic! I loved her accent. I’m always thrilled when I can listen to a narrator from another country especially the UK. I know I’m going to get these voices that are completely going to hypnotize me… and that’s just what Ms. Campbell does!

1 person found this helpful

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Wonderfully written and narrated.

Scared to Death is the first book I have read by author Rachel Amphlett and I must say I am impressed. D.S. Kay Hunter is a fantastic MC. The character is well defined and has a detailed backstory that left me wanting to know more. The author includes glimpses to a miscarriage as well as an internal police investigation in to Hunter. All this on top of a current kidnapping/murder investigation. Scared to Death was a white knuckle, thrill ride. Just when you think you know who all the players are the author would throw in a wrench. I am looking forward to delving more into this amazing series!

As the narrator, Alison Campbell, did a phenomenal job! Each character was distinct and well portrayed. Campbell has quickly become a new favorite of mine.

1 person found this helpful

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  • J. V. Knight
  • 04-07-19

Couldn't finish it!

What was obviously a good story was spoilt for me by the narrator. Only listened to 2 chapters then had to stop. It's a shame as the writing is good but the same actor is used on all these books so I won't be listening to anymore in the series.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Oops 66
  • 08-22-18

I do like a female detective story.

The story was very good would have preferred more description of each and every character. The characters come alive if we can see what the author sees in her characters.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Nick
  • 04-07-18

Awesome

Great book, fantastic narration, five stars all the way. Will be getting the next one

2 people found this helpful

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  • niamh bonner
  • 02-21-18

Great first in series

Really enjoyed getting to know the characters in this book. A good strong female lead surrounded by bullying bosses. Can't wait to start book 2

2 people found this helpful

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  • Emma Mitchell
  • 11-23-17

Fanbloodytastic

OH! MY! GOD!
Scared to Death starts with a bang!
The parents of a young school girl are racing against the clock to get to their daughter, who has been kidnapped. They must reach her in time, otherwise she dies . . .
What a nightmare this starts out with! Every parents worst fear is realised in the first page of this book and the tension, fear and mental anguish doesn't stop at all!
Amphlett writes so well, I loved how I was totally drawn into the words of this book, completely a totally gripping me from the first word to the last. I sometimes find that when we are reading the first of a series, the author tends to focus a lot on building the characters (which is fine by the way, it's such an important part of the writing/reading process) but it does sometimes mean that the focus on the story is lost and perhaps the actually story is lost, not with Amphlett though, Oh no! Amphlett not only manages to build an amazing set of characters that I am desperate to know more about, she also delivers an amazingly gripping, thrilling and completely absorbing story too.
There is no let up in this book, we are taken a roller coaster of twists and turns as the team race against the clock to catch a killer.
Scared to Death is a fast paced, gritty page turner that will leave you on the edge of your seat, gasping for breath!
I would highly recommend this to any crime book fans, it's a belter!!!!

2 people found this helpful

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  • Timi
  • 10-15-17

An intense and gripping first novel in the series

I'm always glad to find authors and series new to me. Thanks to Rachel Amphlett and Audiobook Boom for introducing me to the first instalment of the Detective Kay Hunter series, Scared to death!
The story grabbed my attention right away. Although this isn't a whodunnit, the identity of the culprit is known from early on, there is still a guessing game to find out his reasons and other unknown matters related to these kidnappings/murders. It is also a race against time, making it a fast paced, intense and really interesting novel.
The protagonist, Kay Hunter is a great lead character: she is realistic, down-to-earth, a good team player and determined. She is not without faults though and I'm looking forward to finding out more about her backstory in the next book.
Overall, this is a gripping novel that I would recommend to anyone who likes a great police procedural.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Shell Baker
  • 05-22-20

very entertaining

I first read this back in 2016 and I jumped at the chance when I was offered a chance to listen to it on audio. I listen to them more than I have ever done. The narrator has done a brilliant job of bringing this story and characters to life with all the different characters. I have to admit that the audio is just as good has the reading it. I loved it.

In this story we are introduced to a new detective Kay Hunter who has a hidden past and an uncertain future. We follow Kay on a totally gripping hunt for a serial killer. The story starts off with a bang where a couple are in search for their daughter who has been kidnapped. Every parents worse nightmare. Kay is called out to an abandoned biosciences building where a body of a school girl is found. The case is first treated as a kidnapping gone wrong. Until a man is found dead with ransom money still in his possession. But then a second schoolgirl is found and Kay’s worst fears are realised. Then the hunt for the killer soon becomes a race against time before he claims another life.

Scared to death is a cracking audio where I could escape reality and listen to the story unfold. I was hooked from the start to finish and found myself listening to it any chance that I had.

The authors style of writing, it is fresh and crisp. I loved how the characters build up, are woven into a tense and gripping story line. This a brilliant start to a fab new series and I will definitely to Listen to more of the Kay Hunter series on audio

1 person found this helpful

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  • sarah hardy
  • 05-15-20

Great narrator who brings the characters to life.

Below is my original review of Scared To Death which I read in 2016 but first I wanted to share my thoughts on the audible version which I have just recently listened to.

I am an audible virgin. There I said it. Being new to listening to a book rather than reading with my eyes was quite the experience. I suppose the most important aspect of audible books is the narrator. I was in awe of Alison Campbell who brought to life each character as well as the story. Each character regardless of how minor or major, she gave them their own voice so it was easy to identify the more leading characters.

You could feel the emotions coming through and once settled in, I was gripped as much a I had been first time round when I read the book. I can certainly see the audio version being a bit hit with readers.

This is the first novel I have read by this author and will certainly be reading more after reading this one!

Scared To Death is the first book in a brand new crime series introducing us to Detective Kay Hunter.

I have to say this was without a doubt one of those novels that you could easily devour in one sitting. As soon as I started it I knew I was in for a great reading experience, sadly real life got in the way and I ended up having to reluctantly read it over a few days instead. Believe me when you pick it up you will not want to put it back down and it was pure torture having to go about daily life before I could race back to it.

The author ensures she has your attention with a truly gripping start to the story. From that point I was just as intrigued as Kay as to why a kidnapper would go about things the way they had done and I was desperate to know more.

I like Detective Kay Hunter, with so many crime series out there I think it’s getting harder for a new detective to stand out, but I didn’t have to worry here as Kay is a very memorable one and one that I certainly want to read more of.

Scared To Death is a brilliant start to a new crime thriller series. With such a gripping story line this is one that fans of this genre DO NOT want to miss out on.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Kerry Parsons
  • 05-15-20

A tense and gripping listen

I read the kindle version of Scared to Death back in June 2017 and LOVED it! It was my introduction to Rachel Amphlett's writing and I have been a big fan ever since. I have thoroughly enjoyed listening to the Audible version. Even though I was already familiar with the story I think the narrator, Alison Campbell really brings this book to life. I found her narration pleasant to listen to and her portrayal of the different characters made it very easy to follow. The whole book flows brilliantly and the narration certainly adds to the tension and urgency of the investigation as well as adding extra creepiness and an eerie atmosphere where it is needed most. Excellent! It makes me want to listen to the whole series on Audible. I highly recommend!

Here's my original review:
Scared to Death is a brilliant start to a new series. I warmed to Detective Kay Hunter immediately. There’s a back story there that hasn’t been fully explained as yet, which I find very intriguing. She seems to be up against her fair share of negativity at work, via certain colleagues, although others very much seem to have her back. We also get an insight in to her personal life and her relationship with her partner, which I like as it shows a softer side to an otherwise professional character.

Kay and her team are faced with the difficult task of investigating the death of a local 17 year old girl who had been kidnapped whilst her parents were on a business trip. A ransom had been demanded, her parents had paid and not reported the kidnapping as requested, as they believed their daughter would be spared if they cooperated. When they arrive at her location, however, their worst fears are realised. Every parents worst nightmare. The way this poor girl met her end is nothing short of horrific and these parts of the story are very upsetting. Her killer is a very disturbed character.

When a second girl is kidnapped, Kay and her colleagues race against time to figure out where she is being kept before it’s too late and this time it’s personal. There is a very sick game being played which makes this a very dark crime thriller. Just brilliant!

Scared To Death is a very cleverly written police procedural with a tense and fast-paced storyline. There are many plot twists and shocks along the way. I was totally gripped and I’m very much looking forward to reading the rest of the series.

If you haven’t already, I highly recommend you add this to your reading list. It’s definitely one I would happily buy as a gift for family and friends.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Jojomaman
  • 05-05-20

Brilliant!

This book has accompanied me on my early lockdown dog walks each morning and each morning we’ve been going further and further as I was so involved with the narrative and the brilliant narration by Alison Campbell. She’s definitely Kay Hunter in my ears and I loved how she brought her to life. The plot was a gripping but disturbing one, victims are literally scared to death by their captor and if you are listening thinking “well this is too predictable” I’d advise you to think again! There are plenty of twists and turns throughout this crime thriller to keep you on your toes.
I really found myself relating to Kay and her situation-she’s a good detective, not cliched just a woman devoted to her job of catching criminals whilst coping with her own situations away from “the office”. Her colleagues are also well thought out and their connections felt realistic and convincing.
I really loved this and am now off to see if the rest of the series are also available on Audible. Definitely worth a listen!

1 person found this helpful