Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for Will To Live by Rachel Amphlett! We are here today because of a cover lust that turned out to be one of the best surprises I’ve had! I’m definitely gonna keep judging books by their cover!!
Title: Will to Live
Author: Rachel Amphlett
Publisher: Saxon Publishing
Date of publication: April 4th 2017
Format reviewed: eARC
Number of pages: 320
When a packed commuter train runs over a body on a stretch of track known to locals as ‘Suicide Mile’, it soon transpires that the man was a victim of a calculated murder.
As the investigation evolves and a pattern of murders is uncovered, Detective Sergeant Kay Hunter realises the railway’s recent reputation may be the work of a brutal serial killer.
With a backlog of cold cases to investigate and attempting to uncover who is behind a professional vendetta against her, Kay must keep one step ahead of both the killer and her own adversaries.
When a second murder takes place within a week of the first, she realises the killer’s timetable has changed, and she’s running out of time to stop him…
Will to Live is the second book in a new crime thriller series featuring Kay Hunter – a detective with a hidden past and an uncertain future…
If you like Angela Marsons, Peter James and Robert Bryndza, discover the latest addition to Rachel Amphlett’s new series today
Warning: do not start reading Will to Live while having dinner. In fact, avoid all meal times around this book, because the story hits the ground running and then you’ll be so engrossed in the events that whatever dish is on the table will be cold by the time to remember you have a stomach to feed anyway!
Okay, now that this is said, let’s go back to the start.
Like many of you, I had seen so much praise for Rachel Amphlett’s first book that I bought the story, but the never-ending game of the reading list has prevented me to read it… yet.
The day I saw the cover for Will to Live, I thought “The hell with my plans and my obsessional need to read series in order, I’m getting involved in this!” Was I afraid of missing hints and pieces of the story by jumping on the bandwagon with the second book in the Kay Hunter series? Yes. Did it influence my way of approaching the book? Yes, I did my best to pay even more attention than usual to details, names, personalities. But I shouldn’t have worried, because Rachel’s vivid and spot-on writing makes it so easy to enter Kay’s world that you don’t need the extra effort. Open you eyes and make the first step, Rachel has you covered.
As I said earlier, the opening needs a warning. Starting with such a normal action such as walking the dog talked to me, as I do it four times a day! And according to a dear author I love, statistics prove we dog-owners are prone to witness the worst. I must say the stats are right on this one! As a squeamish young lady, I was surprised that instead of grossing me out, the event presented at the beginning pulled me into the story and from this point onward, I was unable to tear myself away from the pages.
Will to Live was devoured in a single sitting. As a slow and busy reader, this rarely happens. Here’s what kept me lose all track of time.
The team effort. Yes, Kay Hunter is the main protagonist, but she’s thrown into a realistic police precinct with bosses and colleagues, friendships and grudges, things that bring authenticity and more weight to everything Kay does. She is not a super cop working on her own, her actions and the actions of those around her have consequences on everyone and I just loved the attention the author added to make sure everyone felt like a genuine person and not a shop dummy. My mind couldn’t help but imagine the team space in Broadchurch and I could clearly see a crowded room, paperwork piling up on desks, telephones ringing every minute and the buzz of people working against the clock!
Kay herself is what makes the book different. First of all, Kay is one of my favorite names. I owe it to Scarpetta and the strong personality I attached to the name because of her. But this Kay is different, in a brilliant way. I know, you might be thinking “another woman detective??” I hear you, but hey, men stole the scene for so long, I am glad to see an array of female in the police force! Especially when they are not robots. Kay is resilient, she has at heart to do her best in her job, she cares about the people around her, but she’s also a woman with a personal life which is not as chaotic as what we are used to. I think I was curious about the detective, but I fell for the woman. The more I learned about her through her thoughts and doings, the more I wanted to know and dig deeper. She has her own struggles and issues, but her personal life felt homey and natural and it only made me care more for her as I hoped she could preserve this bubble of safety.
Last but not least, the investigation itself has the perfect balance that every crime story lover expects! I’m not a big fan of grizly murders and gruesome details, remember I’m squeamish and easily freaked out by vivid and accurate descriptions! But Rachel Amphlett tricked me and before I could realize, I was witnessing the worst and chasing a real monster. How did I handle the hard and macabre parts? I only followed Kay and the team, my stomach clenched at the same time as theirs, my eyes averted any unpleasant views as much as possible, just as theirs did. I loved the description and the originality of the case because those genuine characters I was talking about earlier were feeling just as bad as I was, and we were all spurred by the same gut feeling to make the nightmare stop. I really felt I was a part of the team and that’s what helped me. Don’t let my rambling turn you off, it really isn’t that horrific, I’m only very sensitive!
Also, bonus points for real investigation time frame. You don’t get results two hours after you sent them to the lab unless you are Horatio Caine. I’m very picky with this kind of things because their accuracy weighs a lot in whether or not I’ll care about the plot and investigation itself. And every crime thrillers reader wants to be swept away by a taut and plausible plot, right?
So we have a good team, blood, and a strong sense of time. What finished to convince me was the subplot stemming from the first book, the underlying tension I could feel but not make sense of. Contrary to what I first believed, it was absolutely not frustrating. It only made me wish I could push the stop button, read the first book, and come back! You get enough hints so that the problem keeps niggling you, always in a corner of your mind, just like Kay, and it brings a few surprises that add to the intensity of the already intricate current investigation.
I’ll stop by saying I was fooled. I’m not ashamed to say the author had me and it doesn’t happen that much. I was looking for twists and red herrings and trying all kinds of theories. In the end, it turned out I was wrong, but it felt just right!
Overall, I was utterly impressed by the unique character created by Rachel Amphlett and the horrendously brilliant investigation masterfully combined with the shadow of old ghosts ready to haunt you, all wrapped in the thin veil of a normal daily life.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to get back to Kay with the first book!
I would like to thank Emma and Rachel for inviting me to take part in this blog tour.
Rachel Amphlett is the bestselling author of the Dan Taylor espionage novels and the new Detective Kay Hunter crime thriller series, as well as a number of standalone crime thrillers.
Originally from the UK and currently based in Brisbane, Australia, Rachel’s novels appeal to a worldwide audience, and have been compared to Robert Ludlum, Lee Child and Michael Crichton.
She is a member of International Thriller Writers and the Crime Writers Association, with the Italian foreign rights for her debut novel, White Gold, being sold to Fanucci Editore’s TIMECrime imprint in 2014.
An advocate for knowledge within the publishing industry, Rachel is always happy to share her experiences to a wider audience through her blogging and speaking engagements.
Don’t forget to check the fantastic stops on the tour for more about Will To Live!