Audiobook Review | “Call to Arms” (Book Five: the Kay Hunter Detective series) by Rachel Amphlett, narrated by Alison Campbell

Posted Sunday, 27 May, 2018 by jorielov , , , , 2 Comments

Audiobook Review Badge made by Jorie in Canva.

Acquired Audiobook By: I started to listen to audiobooks in [2016] as a way to offset my readings of print books whilst noting there was a rumour about how audiobooks could help curb chronic migraines as you are switching up how your reading rather than allowing only one format to be your bookish choice. As I found colouring and knitting agreeable companions to listening to audiobooks, I have embarked on a new chapter of my reading life where I spend time outside of print editions of the stories I love reading and exchange them for audio versions. Through hosting for the Audiobookworm I’ve expanded my knowledge of authors who are producing audio versions of their stories whilst finding podcasters who are sharing their bookish lives through pods (ie. AudioShelf and Talking Audiobooks; see my sidebar). Meanwhile, I am also curating my own wanderings in audio via my local library who uses Overdrive for their digital audiobook catalogue whilst making purchase requests for audio CDs. It is a wonderful new journey and one I enjoy sharing – I am hoping to expand the percentage of how many audios I listen to per year starting in 2018.

I received a complimentary audiobook copy of “Call to Arms” via Audiobookworm Promotions who is working directly with the author Rachel Amphlett in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

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What held me in the throes of “Hell to Pay” and why I was itching for the next novel:

One nod of appreciation I have for Ms Amphlett is how she builds the tension and the back-story of this series – she tempts you at first with little nuggets of interest which start to paint the fuller picture behind Kay Hunter but then, she focuses on her days at work; how she interacts with her team and how they in turn perceive her whilst never giving us too many details about the purpose behind the series until you reach the fourth installment – where all the loose threads start to pool together, forming a tapestry of insight all of their own.

I was pushed so far outside my zone of comfort for a ‘hard-boiled Thriller’, I nearly did not know what to do to make my way through this installment – except, I remembered how Ms Amphlett would only take me ‘this far’ into the gritty bits before a ‘full stop’ would occur and a re-direction would happen to where I would either be blessedly back round in the team bantering out the case from all points of perspective or we’d happily enter one of the segue sequences where a lighter part of either Kay or one of the other members of her team would give us the pause we needed to reclaim the breath we’d forgotten to release!

I fell hard for this series from day one – from Scared to Death, thereby realising I would be a goner long before the series would end. In this, I knew I might hit sequences of the stories where I’d feel emotionally taxed and gutted as Kay – feeling as if I’d lived her life as dearly omnipresent as Alison Campbell and feel blessed by the pen of Ms Amphlett for taking me on this journey with Kay Hunter – as this is a series which pushes you, challenges you and gives you a reason to find a door of empathetic compassion to feel attached to the characters, the author and the narrator in one beautiful circle.

I might need to take a short break from disappearing into Call to Arms, the fifth installment and I am aware the sixth installment is already being written. The hardest part to resolve of course is how cleverly written the darker bits are constructed – of how everything pulls together in a believable execution of where you don’t feel short-changed but rather full of shock as much as Kay. Amphlett has a true gift for this kind of story-telling and I am blessed to have been introduced to her style on this blog tour.

-quoted from my review of Hell to Pay

Emotionally I was shattered, dear hearts after finishing Hell to Pay – I had this seriously emotional reaction to the end of the audiobook – being I was listening to it at a public library notwithstanding, when I finally hit the stop button and took full stock of my bearings, I was a muddled mess of emotions – finding myself surrounded by other patrons, who either were listening to audiobooks themselves, music or playing games – as everyone either had their own set of earphones plugged in, readily engaged with their own computers or the library’s and quite a number of them had a book in hand as well! To feel the kind of immersive experience I had felt in that kind of public environment is a true credit to both the author and the narrator – as I quite literally was hugged so dearly close to #KayHunter, I did not even realise the time nor hour or anything going on at the library itself!

As I pulled away my thoughts to contemplate what I had heard and the realisations of those revelations soaking in to the full measure of what they implied, I knew I had to take a brief hiatus before retreating back inside Call to Arms. Of course, mother nature would love to enthrall me with a delayed Spring (ie. a horrid burst of pollen season after a delightfully extended Winter) where rainshowers and thunderstorms alternated themselves for more than a fortnight – proving that sometimes even when your ready to soak into a beloved audiobook series, patience is a virtue you’ve mastered in order to await what is next in line for your bookish heart!

I hadn’t sorted out the timeline of my re-entrance either – which is why I was dearly surprised and happily reunited with Kay Hunter on this fifth blog tour – technically ‘second’ as the first four novels were in a combo-tour but I always felt they were four separate tours, as they were equally focusing on each of the novels in turn rather than in a mix-match of the stories out of sequence wherein happily all the bloggers taking part focused on the series in order of sequence rather than referencing them out of turn. It is quite lovely how the Audiobookworm organises her audiobook tours, in other words – especially for those of us keen on serial fiction!

With the time decided for me, I only had to set my heart and mind to re-enter into Kay Hunter’s shoes – something I almost fought at first, as so much was still hanging in the wind for our dear heroine – the one thing I did hope for her though, is a proper turning of tides – she puts her heart and soul into her job, loves her husband with a fierce protective passion and deserves a bit of goodwill coming her way to where her adversities could surely take a hiatus of their own!

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Audiobook Review | “Call to Arms” (Book Five: the Kay Hunter Detective series) by Rachel Amphlett, narrated by Alison CampbellCall to Arms
Subtitle: A Detective Kay Hunter novel
by Rachel Amphlett
Source: Audiobook via Audiobookworm Promotions
Narrator: Alison Campbell

Loyalty has a price.

Kay Hunter has survived a vicious attack at the hands of one of the country’s most evil serial killers.

Returning to work after an enforced absence to recover, she discovers she wasn’t the only victim of that investigation.

DI Devon Sharp remains suspended from duties, and the team is in turmoil.

Determined to prove herself once more and clear his name, Kay undertakes to solve a cold case that links Sharp to his accuser.

But, as she gets closer to the truth, she realises her enquiries could do more harm than good.

Torn between protecting her mentor and finding out the truth, the consequences of Kay’s enquiries will reach far beyond her new role…

Call to Arms is a gripping murder mystery, and the fifth in the Detective Kay Hunter series:

1. SCARED TO DEATH
2. WILL TO LIVE
3. ONE TO WATCH
4. HELL TO PAY
5. CALL TO ARMS

A page-turning murder mystery for fans of Peter Robinson, David Baldacci and Harlen Coben.

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

Find on Book Browse

ASIN: B07B75S6TJ

Also by this author: Scared to Death, Will to Live, One to Watch, Hell to Pay, Author Inteview: Rachel Amphlett (Gone to Ground), Gone to Ground, Bridge to Burn

Also in this series: Scared to Death, Will to Live, One to Watch, Hell to Pay, Gone to Ground, Bridge to Burn


Genres: Crime Fiction, Hard-Boiled Mystery, Police Procedural, Thriller


Published by Saxon Publishing

on 5th March, 2018

Format: Audiobook | Digital

Length: 6 hours, 28 minutes (unabridged)

Published by: Saxon Publishing

Order of the Kay Hunter Detective series:
Scared to Death | Book One (see also Review)
Will to Live | Book Two (see also Review)
One to Watch | Book Three (see also Review)
Hell to Pay | Book Four (see also Review)
Call to Arms | Book Five

About Rachel Amphlett

Rachel Amphlettt

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, Robert Crais, Stuart MacBride, and many more.

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.

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my review of call to arms:

Kay Hunter is off medical leave when we reunite with her, however, before we re-align with her on the job, we had a harrowing depiction of a motorcycle accident which left little to the imagination  in regards to how jarring it is on the body and mind when such a crash occurs. You get so caught inside a scene within the Kay Hunter series, you barely have time to realise what is going to happen – such was the case here, as my heart lurched as the character self-realised their own fate, the hardening reality of such a crash enveloping them in the darkness of knowing it only takes a brief second to find your life severely altered or ended by an road accident!

As Kay is now settling into her new role, filling in as the leader now that Sharpe is under investigation – she was finding it wasn’t a ‘fit’ for her as much as she might have hoped it could have been. There is far more responsibilities and headache associated with her new duties which were giving her every reason to want to go back to her original assignment – where she could re-focus on the case load, work through the evidence and do the job which gave her the most conviction of purpose rather than feel burdened by the work now expected of her as the leader of her unit.

Listening to Kay and Sharpe interact about their conjoined miseries – one being off-duty awaiting the wait-out period of his professional review and her grievances of having to come back only for lighter duties outside her normal rotation – they both had a lot of say knowing they could trust the other with the particulars. Whilst reunited, Kay decided to dig into the past – of sorting out how Sharpe was being implicated in the latest internal affairs investigation – finding part of his issues in the present were stemming back to a certain motorcycle accident. It had the conclusionary implications of drivers’ error – yet, this didn’t track well knowing the driver of the bike was a professional. This brokers to elude there were more circumstances behind the driver beyond the accidental death which shouldn’t have occurred.

Adam brought home a lovely dog named Rufus this time round – who sadly is terminally ill. He had such a happy spirit in his bones, acting like you would hope a dog would for his age and not seeming to be at the end of his life. I love how Adam is portrayed as a compassionate Vet who places the concerns of his charges ahead of everything else – he ensures his animals are given the best care but also, remains respectful if something goes wrong – how best to deal with those emotional situations where it is hard to ‘let go’ of an animal who needs to be put down. In this instance, he’s weighing what is in the best interest for Rufus, without clouding his judgement with emotions as Adam wants to do the honourable thing but also, if the dog isn’t yet ready to concede to his disease, he wants to help him live as long as he can.

Adam and Kay have a healthy relationship – they each know what motivates the other whilst they champion each others’ causes, it is Adam who has it a bit harder than Kay, as her job is a bit more daring in regards to personal safety issues. Even knowing those realities, it’s hard not to smirk or laugh when you overhear Adam surprised Kay hasn’t been as openly honest with herself what drives her the most on the job! He knew she couldn’t sit still for long but Kay was apparently trying to work within the confines of her medical recovery – the irony there is, she has just as little patience for ‘waiting things out’ as much as Sharpe!

Barnes returns to partner with Kay in the field – a place I love seeing him placed as they have such a wonderful working relationship. As Kay starts to pursue re-opening a past case which involves Sharpe – she finds the details of the past case are not easily traceable nor is it one which lends a plausible understanding into the past events either – there are some cold cases which are difficult to pursue but with her tenacity not to give in with things turn impossible, you were rooting for her even during her preliminary enquiries.

Sharpe and Kay share a rather heated conversation rooted in the back-history of this case which is taking on alarming ramifications! The more Kay unravels of the past, the more the motorcycle accident doesn’t quite feel as cut and dry as she hoped it could have been to resolve. Sharpe’s angered reactions did shock her a bit, not because he was emotionally charged but more to the fact of what he was sharing with her about the lack of protocol and the absence of investigation a case which had been in-progress with evidence leading towards different conclusions!

There is a tender exchange between Kay and the psychologist she was required to visit in order to get off medical leave – where she would be allowed to work on active cases rather than seeking out more cold cases. I especially loved how Campbell’s voice turned soft and tender, giving Kay an approachable voice to trust – something which doesn’t come easily for Kay is trusting in people she can confide her innermost truths. She turns to Adam more oft than not, but for Kay to take a step towards trusting someone else, was a mark of how she is realising she needs to talk things out with someone where she doesn’t have to second guess their motives for asking her questions which lead her towards resolving past issues.

This installment turnt back to the situational bantering between Kay and her colleagues – where we get to be observing their work hours closely – the funny bit is how they like to work off each other – they each compliment the other quite well, but due to the long hours and the winding ways in which a case can unnerve the detectives, they have to re-group themselves somehow and humour is one of the best equalisers! When they weren’t rubbing my funny-bone, I enjoyed listening to how they worked out their theories – each of them making suggestions and following where the evidence and interviews were yielding them to head next in an attempt to resolve the case at long last!

Kay Hunter follows her instincts to pursue a case she knew in her heart was important to solve – however, she never would have suspected how close it would come to affecting her relationship with Sharpe nor of how the case itself would become insidious in regards to the callus nature of someone who could only be referred to as self-conceited past the point of reason! Adam definitely understands his wife to such a degree it’s heart-warming whereas Kay sometimes struggles with the confidence of embracing her truer nature as a cop. She seems to be seeking approval at different intervals to where her internal sense of self falters against the tides of where her job takes her in a neverending battle for personal sanity.

Note on Content: Strong language & Certain Visuals

I was quite thankful this installment was limited on disturbing visuals and the bits of strong language weren’t too jarring either. They were peppered here or there throughout the confluence of the action and emotional sequences – I honestly did not notice them nearly as much as I was focusing on the pacing and the development of what was happening ‘behind’ the scenes of where we last left Kay Hunter.

on the thrilling style of ms amphlett:

One of the things I enjoy most about Ms Amphlett’s style of detective novels is how she gives you a seemingly one dimensional plot point and expounds upon it to encompass more layers of intrigue than you would originally feel could be pinned to a situation which by all fronts, appeared to be routine or having nothing more serious than the surface details of what was noted or observed. This is what I love about the series, because even as your keeping your toes at there ready to hear something which will be need to be re-pulled forward further inside the installment – you don’t always know which details are most pertinent to remember and which ones might not be as keenly important in the end.

Amphlett keeps us grounded on the personal journey of Kay Hunter – through all facets of her life, from what she’s feeling, thinking and how she sorts through every choice she makes both personally and professionally. One kind thing for her is having a husband (Adam) who not only believes in his wife but allows her the leeway she needs to make hard choices at times where an easier route might have been his preference. He also encourages her to do things she at first might feel she wants to recoil from accepting – such as her recent temporary elevation in status. Adam has a calming sense of knowing just what to say to help Kay settle her thoughts – all of this is part of the foundation of the series I have loved watching built. As Amphlett doesn’t sacrifice Kay’s personal life for the profession – it’s a healthy way of seeing how detectives must decide how to live a well-balanced life, without allowing the job to supersede their own humanity. All of which is vocalised by the impressively brilliant narrator Alison Campbell who immerses us directly into the heart of Kay!

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specifically in regards to the audiobook:

As I am relatively new to reviewing audiobooks and listening to them with a greater frequency than of the past, I am appreciative of Ms Jess providing a cursory outline of how best to articulate my listening hours on behalf of this audiobook and the others I shall be blogging about or reviewing in future. I’ve modified the suggestions to what I felt were pertinent to respond too on my own behalf as well as keeping to the questions I felt were relevant to share.

Number of Times I’ve heard the Narrator(s):

This is my fifth listening of an Alison Campbell audiobook – as the first one was for ‘Scared to Death’. Shortly before I concluded listening to Hell to Pay, I pulled up the selections on behalf of Ms Campbell on Audible.com – seeing if I could find another story of hers to listen to over Summer and finding myself dearly attached to her voice as ‘Kay Hunter’ to where I was having trouble separating in my mind how she portrays Det. Hunter from the voices she is attaching to other characters. I knew then, I needed to wait a proper distance between listening to this series and finding another author she’s narrating as apparently, my mind was tricked into ‘hearing’ Kay Hunter each time I hit the ‘sample’ button rather than re-adjusting to ‘hear’ the new character being portrayed!

Aside from this quirky revelation, I know I’ll be listening to more of her selections – I just need to give myself time as the Kay Hunter series is such an emotionally immersive experience for me!!

Regards to the Narrator’s Individual Character performances:

Kay Hunter: There is a moment where Kay is interviewing a suspect where she truly shines – her strength as an interviewer is on prime display here! I loved hearing her – her determined grit to nail the guilty and to find the evidence to convict them is quite a powerful thread of discovery to overhear! I love how Campbell changes how she inflicts her words as Kay depending on Kay’s moods – in this particular instance, she was full of confidence; I only wish it could have been ‘seen’ as it was such a great part of the story! These scenes make you realise sometimes an audiobook is a close cousin to live theatre!

Sharpe: His voice was emotionally convicting – as he is quite miserable being off the job but with the remorse of knowing it was par for the course for the job. He might not enjoy the situation he was being placed in but he knew he had to keep patient if he wanted the outcome to be in his favour.

Larch: I don’t know why, but his voice gives me the willies whenever I hear him, mostly as I am never sure if he’s someone who can be trusted; or rather if you did lean on a hopeful prayer of trusting him, how far should you take that trust? He definitely has a unique voice and you know instantly when he’s in-scene!

Supporting Cast:

Bridget: I love finding different accents on the characters Ms Campbell is giving her voice as she has a way of inserting them in such a stream-lined way into the background of the story itself, you never can quite tell which character might prove to be more important over another – in other words, sometimes the supporting cast make even a bit more of an impression than the main rotation of characters. Bridget lived on a farm and it was her son who was the unfortunate one who died in the motorcycle accident.

How the Novel sounded to me as it was being Read: (theatrical or narrative)

Ms Campbell reads the Kay Hunter series as the dramatic crime novels they are – she etches out the emotions of each of the characters, whilst giving you such a distinctly grounded performance to where you feel these are the characters you’ve known far longer than the brief periods of interactions within the series installments! You can recognise the characters simply due to how they’ve become developed – in essence, the series itself is performed like a living play – everyone takes their cues, gives you something to chew on and then, a new chapter begins and you have to brace yourself for the revelations it will bring into your ears!

Preference after listening to re-Listen or pick up the book in Print?

Definitely will keep listening to the audiobooks – though one day, I suspect I shall gather the books if only to admire them on my shelf and remember the memories of listening to Ms Campbell bring these to life! Then, after a respectable distance, I’ll read them whilst listening to the audiobooks — a treat I feel is as sinfully delish as the best chocolate desert or cocktail to accompany it.

In closing, would I seek out another Alison Campbell audiobook?

Whole-heartedly, yes! I truly was smitten by how Ms Campbell placed her soul into this story – of how she gave all of herself until nothing was left to give – in truth, she lived Kay Hunter’s life and because of this, we are in full gratitude to her for feeling soul-connected to Kay ourselves.

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 This audiobook review is courtesy of Audiobookworm Promotions:

Host badge for Audiobookworm Promotions.

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Happily follow the rest of the audiobook tour by visiting the route:

Call to Arms audiobook blog tour via Audiobookworm PromotionsFun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

{SOURCES: Book Covers for “Scared to Death”, “Will to Live”, “One to Watch”, “Hell to Pay” and “Call to Arms”, the biography and photograph of Rachel Amphlett as well as the blog tour banner for the Kay Hunter series and the host badge were provided by Audiobookworm Promotions and are used with permission. The book synopsis for “Call to Arms” was included in the Media Kit for “Call to Arms” provided by the author Rachel Amphlett and is used with permission. Post dividers by Fun Stuff for Your Blog via Pure Imagination. Tweets embedded by codes provided by Twitter. Blog graphics created by Jorie via Canva: Audiobook Review Banner and the Comment Box Banner.}

Copyright © Jorie Loves A Story, 2018.

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About jorielov

I am self-educated through local libraries and alternative education opportunities. I am a writer by trade and I cured a ten-year writer’s block by the discovery of Nanowrimo in November 2008. The event changed my life by re-establishing my muse and solidifying my path. Five years later whilst exploring the bookish blogosphere I decided to become a book blogger. I am a champion of wordsmiths who evoke a visceral experience in narrative. I write comprehensive book showcases electing to get into the heart of my reading observations. I dance through genres seeking literary enlightenment and enchantment. Starting in Autumn 2013 I became a blog book tour hostess featuring books and authors. I joined The Classics Club in January 2014 to seek out appreciators of the timeless works of literature whose breadth of scope and voice resonate with us all.

"I write my heart out and own my writing after it has spilt out of the pen." - self quote (Jorie of Jorie Loves A Story)

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Posted Sunday, 27 May, 2018 by jorielov in #JorieLovesIndies, 21st Century, Audiobook, Audiobookworm Promotions, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Book Review (non-blog tour), British Literature, Crime Fiction, Debut Author, Debut Novel, Detective Fiction, England, Good vs. Evil, Hard-Boiled Mystery, Indie Author, Lady Detective Fiction, Mental Health, Modern Day, Post-911 (11th September 2001), Psychological Suspense, Realistic Fiction, Sociological Behavior, True Crime




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2 responses to “Audiobook Review | “Call to Arms” (Book Five: the Kay Hunter Detective series) by Rachel Amphlett, narrated by Alison Campbell

    • Hallo, Hallo Kristine!

      Isn’t that the absolute TRUTH?! I have a seriously love of the Kay Hunter series – this one felt like it returnt back to centre – where we can breathe a bit after the insurrection & conspiracies surrounding Kay – even though not everything is fully resolved, she can get back to task & resume the close-knit working relationship she has with her team. I *love!* crime dramas like this which have an intensely close connection with colleagues – which is why in previous reviews I’ve mentioned the cross-comparisions to NCIS (x3) and Castle!

      I totally concur with you – this is seriously my favourite as well – for overall love and admiration for how the story was delivered – as you’ve become so familiar with the characters by now, it feels like ‘old home week’ – where you can sit back, relax into the narrative and appreciate where the journey is leading you to go now. Loads of lovely moments leading into this one but for me, I loved the shift in where we are now with the series – it keeps building on the strength of the first installment and seeing it flourish now into where the characters have become developed is absolute bliss!

      Very thankful you’ve stopped and let me know you’ve been enjoying listening to the series, too! I appreciate your compliment on behalf of my review!

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