Oh it is my absolute pleasure this morning to be able to bring you my review of the latest Kay Hunter novel by Rachel Amphlett, Gone to Ground. I am a huge fan of the series so always delighted to be able to help in spreading the word far and wide. I’ll be letting you my thoughts in just a moment but first up, here is what it is all about.
About the Book
The victim has been brutally cut to pieces, his identity unknown.
When more body parts start turning up in the Kentish countryside, Kay realises the disturbing truth – a serial killer is at large and must be stopped at all costs.
With no motive for the murders and a killer who has gone undetected until now, Kay and her team of detectives must work fast to calm a terrified local population and a scornful media.
When a third victim is found, her investigation grows even more complicated.
As she begins to expose a dark underbelly to the county town, Kay and her team are pulled into a web of jealousy and intrigue that, if left unchecked, will soon claim another life.
Gone to Ground is a gripping serial killer thriller full of page-turning suspense, and the sixth book in the Detective Kay Hunter British detective series.
If there is one thing you can guarantee when picking up a book by Rachel Amphlett it is that you are going to be entertained. Perhaps a little freaked out too but that’s half the fun. In the case of Gone To Ground you get a little touch of both as the first ‘discovery’ is a little grim and, to be honest, from there on in it doesn’t get much more heart-warmingly fuzzy. And this, folks, is why I love it.
When a group of cyclists happen upon a discarded body part it is up to Kay and the team to determine not only how the unusual find came to be in a lane in the middle of nowhere but also who it belongs to and whether they are in any position to want it back. The state of it would suggest not, the circumstance would dictate foul play but how do you begin to investigate when all you have to go on is a single foot?
If you have read any of the other books in the series then you will know that Kay Hunter, the central protagonist, is one heck of a determined and capable detective. She has the full support and trust of her team, including her superiors, although it is fair to say this hasn’t always been the case. She has had a torrid time of late and it is good, for once, to see her simply able to focus on solving the case because lord knows she does not need any distractions on this one. Finally promoted to Inspector on a permanent basis, the only issue Kay has is in finding a replacement Sergeant to fill her shoes. No small task and some of the candidates leave a lot to be desired. Having spent many an unproductive hour conducting interviews myself I certainly did feel for Kay and her DCI Devon Sharp while reading.
One of the best parts about this series is the way in which Kay interacts with Sharp and, more especially, the dynamic between Kay and her usual partner in crime fighting, Ian Barnes. In fact the whole team are great characters, not one of them out of place and all adding to the story in their own way. They have unique voices which really stand out and they are one of my favourite Detective teams in crime fiction. And let’s not forget her partner, the lovely Vet, Adam. He has yet another interesting guest to stay over, one I can relate to a lot. You need to read it to understand but this one is fun.
I don’t want to say too much about the story as part of the fun is in discovering it all for yourself. I will say that this is one perplexing case and Rachel Amphlett has done a brilliant job, as always, in creating both mystery and tension as the team race against the clock to find a killer before they can claim more victims. The problem is that they don’t know just how many victims there may be already, or what it is that connects them, making this perhaps their most frustrating case to date.
I enjoyed all of the twists and turns that happen in this book, the way in which we are handed a variety of suspects and possible motives, allowing the reader to play detective themselves without making the final answer too obvious. Sometimes as a reader we are given too much additional information making the answers fairly obvious. This book however is one which kept me guessing until the end, clues being drip fed very carefully, echoing the slow progress of the investigating team. Yes, we knew more than the team did at certain times, but definitely not enough to unmask the killer until it was time.
Rachel Amphlett is really adept at creating setting. Using Kent as a backdrop you are treated to small town feeling but also the city vibe which contrast perfectly in the way she describes them. Sometimes it is the very setting, in this case a quiet country lane, contrasted against the dark nature of the crimes which makes them resonate more. Not only does setting suit the action but so does pacing with moments of real tension set off against the slower pacing of everyday investigation. The balance is nigh on perfect for me.
As part of a series this can easily be read as a standalone book. There is enough introduction of character and back story to engage new readers without proving a distraction to long-term fans and perhaps because this is almost a fresh start for Kay and the team, if you don’t have time right now to read the others, it is most certainly a great place to dip your toe (no pun intended). I would however recommend that you do read the rest if you haven’t already as the series is fabulous and you will be missing out on some brilliant stories and characters, including one of my all time favourites, Sid.
So if you like a good solid police based thriller with brilliant characters you quickly grow to love and a story which will keep you guessing, then I highly recommend that you grab yourself a copy of Gone to Ground. You won’t regret it.
Now, Rachel. When’s the next one out? 😉
My thanks to Emma Welton of damppebbles blog tours for letting me join in and to the author for the advance copy of the book for review. It is available from Sunday, and you can pre-order now from the following links:
About the Author
Before turning to writing, Rachel Amphlett played guitar in bands, worked as a TV and film extra, dabbled in radio as a presenter and freelance producer for the BBC, and worked in publishing as a sub-editor and editorial assistant.
She now wields a pen instead of a plectrum and writes crime fiction and spy novels, including the Dan Taylor espionage novels and the Detective Kay Hunter series.
Originally from the UK and currently based in Brisbane, Australia, Rachel cites her writing influences as Michael Connelly, Lee Child, and Robert Ludlum. She’s also a huge fan of Peter James, Val McDermid, Angela Marsons, Robert Bryndza, Ken Follett, and Stuart MacBride.
She’s a member of International Thriller Writers and the Crime Writers Association, with the Italian foreign rights for her debut novel, White Gold sold to Fanucci Editore’s TIMECrime imprint, and the first four books in the Dan Taylor espionage series contracted to Germany’s Luzifer Verlag.
Her novels are available in eBook, paperback and audiobook formats from worldwide retailers including Amazon, iBooks, Kobo, and Google Play.
A keen traveller, Rachel holds both EU and Australian passports and can usually be found plotting her next trip two years in advance!
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