Audiobook Series Spotlight and Mini-Review | “Cradle to Grave” (Book Eight: the Kay Hunter Detective series) by Rachel Amphlett, narrated by Alison Campbell

Posted Wednesday, 6 November, 2019 by jorielov , , , , 0 Comments

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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.

Similar to the blog tour for the sixth novel of the #KayHunter series, the blog tour review copies are being provided directly by the author off-site from Audible. The key reason I decided to not accept the review copies from “Gone to Ground”, “Bridge to Burn” and “Cradle to Grave” is because the new format is mostly directed for mobile listeners and I do not listen to audiobooks in that style of format. Eventually as I want to have a full set of all the Kay Hunter installments – I will be purchasing the ones I am missing from Audible to house them all in one place unless I find them available on mp3 CD – until then, I was able to join this lovely blog tour because the audiobooks are readily available via Scribd! For which, I am especially grateful as I can continue to listen to one of my beloved and favourite Crime Drama series!

Thereby my copy of “Cradle to Grave” is self-provided through my subscription to Scribd rather than being provided with a complimentary copy of the story. Thereby, I am choosing to participate on the audiobook tour, sharing my ruminations with my readers for my own edification but also, as a continuation of a reader’s love for a dramatic crime serial. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

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

As soon as Kay walked onto the crime scene, I felt like it was old home week again – being treated to seeing another view of her life and to catch-up with the friends I’ve found along the way of peering into her world. In classic Kay Hunter fashion, she quite assessed what was happening with the investigation – whilst her team was close at hand, doing their bit and at the ready to give her the details of what they’d come to understand in the initial analysis of the scene. There were a few changes in their designations – as Kay herself was recently promoted but it was the announcement that Barnes had followed her suit of promoting himself which was quite the lovely news. I still remember how anguished he was over making that choice and why he was hesitating to do it. Seems like between then and now, he’s resolved that this would not only be a good choice for himself but it would allow the close cohesiveness of the team to remain intact. On that level, I was relieved as sometimes if you upset the apple cart, you simply can’t re-establish what you’ve lost.

Harriet never fails to make me smile – then again, I have a soft spot for Medical Examiners and Crime Scene Investigators as that is what originally drew me into NCIS (x3) outside of the fact I simply find Mark Harmon charmingly engaging! She has such a keen sense of self about her and she knows how to keep the scene at hand serious but with a calming bit of levity as well – something I love to see as their lives are stressful enough without having to find some way of alleviating the difficult things they’re having to witness.

Amphlett never fails to knit her continuity tightly anchoured to the previous installments – it is one of the wicked best reasons why I love listening to to this series, as she honestly never lets you forget the moments in her characters’ lives which are intimately important to remember. Herein, when she was having Kay reminisce about her miscarriage you felt immediately drawn back to the installments which discussed this and how it was such an upheaval for Kay and Adam. Of how they drew closer together, how they tried not to let their family try their patience and how putting the pieces together to move forward was one small step at a time. Still, like any tragic loss – her grief lingers, even years on as there are small reminders everywhere about how others can enjoy the blessings of motherhood whilst she cannot. It was a simple inclusion right in the midst of the workday but it was important because it owned the truth of who Kay Hunter is and of how intricately connected this series becomes to her sense of self, her psychological state of mind and how she emotionally processes her job.

It wasn’t until lateron when Adam was brought into scene where we pulled back the layers of Kay’s healing and recovery (as it wasn’t simply a miscarriage which affected her heart, soul and mind) – where we peer into how hard it has been for her to continue to transition beyond what afflicted their lives. They were both emotionally distraught not just to the loss of a child but due to everything during that period of time which not only frayed their nerves but nearly overtook their ability to survive. Adam and Kay have a very strong marriage but even a strong marriage can have a breaking point – Amphlett has never shied away from honing in on the honesty of their marriage and for showing the realistic ways in which a couple comes back from the loss of their child.

If this is the first installment someone wanted to listen to they would be dearly impressed because it held within it a recapture of all the key moments and timeline of the series thus far along. They would find out within one installment why I’ve become so dearly attached to this cast and the drama behind their lives inasmuch as how much they support one another like all families do who work together. I am fond of the ‘family’ knitted together like this – where its a found family story and it speaks to why all the crime dramas I watch on television are of the same kinship of closeness.

What I loved about this installment were the interactions between Kay, Barnes, Sharpe, Gaven and the rest of the team – they keep drawing closer together, re-forming the bonds they share as a ‘found family’ and prove that despite the high risks associated with their job, they truly care about one another. There are lovely details towards exploring this bond they have – such as the pizza party, the breakfast food runs and the ways in which they look out for Kay, understanding her emotional traumas and how as a family unit they never leave anyone behind.

Bridge to Burn also focused more intuitively on Kay’s Mum, Dad and sister – there was a family emergency which took Adam and Kay outside their routines over a weekend to where they had to travel over six hours to reach the family. During this sequence, Amphlett re-highlights the strain Kay has with her mother, the closeness she shares with her sister and how her father gives her unconditional support. A lot of what was fracturing the relationship with Kay and her mother are explored more in-depth as well – a lot of which surprised me, as I never thought Kay’s Mum would be open to meditation but you find out why she came to that new stage of reconciliation as something pushed her towards that goal with Kay. They’re not entirely on solid footing – as they have a chasm as wide as the Grand Canyon between them but ooh! You don’t want to miss their exchanges of dialogue — listening to how Ms Campbell approached their scenes nearly makes you want to reach for the tissues!

-quoted from my review of Bridge to Burn

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Audiobook Series Spotlight and Mini-Review | “Cradle to Grave” (Book Eight: the Kay Hunter Detective series) by Rachel Amphlett, narrated by Alison CampbellCradle to Grave
Subtitle: A Detective Kay Hunter novel
by Rachel Amphlett
Source: Scribd | Subscription
Narrator: Alison Campbell

When a faceless body is found floating in the river on a summer's morning, Detective Kay Hunter and her team are tasked with finding out the man's identity and where he came from.

The investigation takes a sinister turn when an abandoned boat is found, covered in blood stains and containing a child's belongings. Under mounting pressure from a distraught family and an unforgiving media, the police are in a race against time - but they have no leads and no motive for the events that have taken place.

Will Kay be able to find a ruthless killer and a missing child before it's too late?

Places to find the book:

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 9781916098817

ASIN: B07YZ63BBV

Also by this author: Scared to Death, Will to Live, One to Watch, Hell to Pay, Call to Arms, 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, Call to Arms, Gone to Ground, Bridge to Burn


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


Published by Saxon Publishing

on 15th October, 2019

Format: Audiobook | Digital

Length: 7 hours, 56 minutes (unabridged)

Published by: Saxon Publishing

Audiobooks by: Audiobook Factory (@audiofactoryuk)

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 (see also Review)
Gone to Ground | Book Six (see also Review)
Bridge to Burn | Book Seven (see also Review)
Cradle to Grave | Book Eight

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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This is the first time I started to listen to a Kay Hunter audiobook whilst I was too ill to take proper notes about the story I was listening to unfold. As such, I decided to keep the tour stop I originally established which would be a spotlight on the eighth installment rather than offering a proper review for the audiobook tour as I have done for the previous seven installments. I turned to listening to this audiobook on the hours where I literally needed a distraction – I took ill throughout the month of October with various afflictions affecting me and two migraines which anchoured the month start to finish.

I participated in two main readathons in October – #FraterfestRAT and #SpooktasticReads – both of which I happily tucked *Thrillers!* into my reading queues but it was the latter readathon which was most affected by my illnesses as I was unable to read or listen to audiobooks for most of the days in which the readathon was engaged. Thereby, each time I felt hearing about Kay and her team in my earphones would reset my mood off my health afflictions, I tucked back into Cradle to Grave – finding myself caught inside the evolving drama and worrying more than a bit if this might be the one installment I might not be able to finish!

The key concern I had is how this plot would develop past the initial kidnapping thread of intrigue and how that particular aspect of the plot would evolve into the conclusionary chapters. Despite a bit of a history of watching Law and Order (x3) – there are certain stories I am unwilling to re-visit and re-experience. This is why I was almost hoping for a small spoiler in this regard about this story-line but resolved if I had discovered anything untoward within the plot itself, I could simply bow out and celebrate what I was able to listen to instead. Thankfully, my concerns were not warranted and I am only disclosing this in case someone else might be on the fence about certain topics explored in Contemporary Thrillers.

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When you first begin Cradle to Grave, the title itself was percolating round my mind a bit – as I being a ready listener to the series now, I knew it was murmuring a glimpse of a hint towards the central plot of the story. I hadn’t caught on to what it implied – as I went a different direction in my mind than what was ultimately revealled but I liked where Amphlett took her motivation to tell the story and how that served a central arc of exploration as it was quite a perceptive point of entry once you realise what it is referencing directly.

You get spoilt by how quickly you are inserted into these detective’s lives – where you forget that they have emotional baggage of their own and that for some of them, certain cases are going to affect their mental health moreso than others. This was the case I felt for Gavin who was taking this case especially hard as each time he attempted to make any kind of lead-way, he was being confounded by more dead ends. For a case which felt time sensitive, it was not the kind of process a detective could resolve in their heart of hearts – not when a missing child needed to be found sooner than later.

Happily as we are quite a far afield into the series now – Kay isn’t the only perspective we are focusing on now. Other characters are stepping forward into the foreground – where they can take the ‘lead’ focus for different sequences whilst Kay is still actively working the case in the background and/or delegating her other duties given the role Sharpe appointed her as she’s not just a lead investigator now. This became my mainstay of joy for Cradle to Grave – getting to hear the other characters have more ‘on-scene’ time in your ears – as they are beautifully developed by Ms Campbell and they are lovingly etched out by Ms Amphlett. Due to this the series feels fuller somehow as the team isn’t just a ragtag family of investigators – but they feel authentically true to themselves and the nature of their jobs.

The missing husband of the missing child started to raise flags for Kay’s team. By all counts, he was a dedicated father and one who was very much appreciative of being actively involved in his daughter’s life. By not having him touch base with his wife nor checking in on the status of his family whilst he was away on business felt more than a standard red flag for the team (and for myself!) I must admit, there was a particular segue of thought rather early-on in the story-line – I can’t remember exactly when it was first mentioned but it became the key to the entire story and that left me chuffed realising lateron I had deduced something rather important that early! Normally my instincts for solving these kinds of stories is wayy off the mark and to have myself anchoured well enough now into how Amphlett conceives of her plots and the threads of intrigue she wants you to take along with her – I felt I am honing my instincts a bit sharper now towards where I can see where she is taking me vs awaiting to find it revealled.

Caris and Laura – the toil of investigating a missing person’s case with cold leads and dead trails were affecting them on a heart level as they couldn’t stop worrying over the young girl and what befell her journey with her Uncle. Observing different members of the team affected at different intervals of the investigation brought everything back to centre – as this was a complicated investigation as it first started out with boats and waterways before it was lead through a rather complex plot involving international business.

For me, the plot thickened as soon as Kay and her team uncovered that the person they felt they had been investigating turnt out to be another bloke entirely – in fact, someone quite close to the young girl but someone they had never suspected would be caught in the tides of the crime. The whole time I had been listening to the story though I was quite on the fence about sorting out if I could handle the disclosures – all those years of watching Law & Order (and the two spin-offs) puts me on more than a few pins whenever a story of this nature comes along to be read.

Whenever Sharpe and Kay had to host a press conference your heart went out to them because the press was merciless in inserting their enquiries irregardless of whose feelings they hurt in the process of gaining information. It was almost as if the press hadn’t quite caught on to what the police went through as they lead an investigation.

Caris has as much passion for her job as Kay – she leads with her heart whenever she taps out a clue of insight into an investigation – especially when she feels misaligned the wrong way round. She didn’t suffer misinformation nor did she take kindly to dodgy civilians who weren’t given the full truth all of the time. Whilst at the same time, Barnes was emotionally connected to the child even without having any direct information about her prior to taking on the case itself. He had his mind on his own daughter due to similar circumstances dredging up bad memories in his own life and that gave him added motivation to solve this case as well.

In the midst of the fray of the investigation, when we can offset those moments with the team by spending time with Adam and Kay’s Mum and Dad are my favourite segues to focus on as it shows the humanity behind the badge. You get to see into Kay’s personal life and since Amphlett has disclosed such a hearty array of her personal bits throughout the series, this was the installment of personal growth for me. Kay has overcome numerous hardships and obstacles – personally and professionally but the worst of it all was the wedge driven between her Mum and herself over the miscarriage which wrecked her life and Adam’s since nearly the beginning of the series. When you can finally observe this emotionally disconnected family repairing their differences and finding a peaceful way to heal themselves back together again – you feel the restorative nature of time and distance truly can fix all wounds. This is why the much needed family funeral to observe the death of Kay and Adam’s child was such a pivotal scene for me. It re-establishes you into their private lives outside their careers but more to the point, it shows you the mercy and grace Amphlett has wanted to give you as you undertook this walk with them.

Talk about a complicated family affair! Bit of a whopper of a crime drama this one – given that you have more than a few directional clues which could have taken you into a thread of intrigue just as valid as the one which was the truthful path to follow. By the time the ending came round, I admit, I was a bit confused in a few disclosures at the end – as even though I had the ‘key’ to the plot itself, I thought it was going to involve something else completely – like extortion or secreted files which would reveal a different outcome. In the end, Amphlett turnt the story on its heels by providing a more contemporary response to how international business can become marred by ill intentions and old fashioned greed.

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I am thankful I was able to return to Scribd in time to listen to this crime drama – as I became emotionally attached to these characters from the first few installments – forward; to where despite the worriment I give myself if any of the stories will push me too hard outside my readerly comfort zones, there is an itch to listen to them and to re-connect with Kay, Barnes, Adam and the rest of the team in her unit as they sort out how to solve crimes on tight time tables where every second can alter the outcome of their cases!

One note of interest to reveal – as I wasn’t sure how I’d feel about the shift in points-of-view from what was previously established early-on in the Kay Hunter series? Amphlett used to feature the villains in her stories on such a high level of disclosure, it was always a bit hard to progress through those passages because of how dark the story felt whilst you were in those sections of the audiobooks. Campbell did well to pull you through them – but there was a point where I noticed there was a general shift to re-establish the series back into the police perspective and keep this more anchoured in a dramatic crime focused through the police procedural thread of interest moreso than in re-shifting off Kay and the villains themselves.

By this installment, I can tell the switch was well-timed because it establishes what I loved about watching Rizzoli and Isles – you feel more connected to the detectives themselves and as such, the series re-evolves itself to be even more emotionally centred on their lives rather than just focusing in on how their solving the cases which test their strengths and their patience to solve the impossible on a time-clock which is constantly working against them.

This audiobook came at a time where I needed a wicked good Thriller and a trusted series in which to distract me off my health afflictions and re-align me elsewhere whilst I patiently had to wait out the weeks of unwellness which recently plagued me. Now, on-wards and upwards towards the ninth installment – wherein I am hoping my health remains restored and I can properly blog about my ruminations at that junction of time! Til then, know that I thoroughly enjoyed my time within the eighth and hope I’ve inspired a few new listeners to hear the brilliance of Ms Campbell’s narration!

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About Alison Campbell

Alison Campbell photo by Libby Christenson

Alison Campbell is an actress based in Bristol, U.K. She has lent her voice to 50+ audiobooks, cartoons, documentaries and dramas. She can be found treading the boards across the country, in everything from Shakespeare to hip hop kids adventures. On screen she has appeared in dramas and science documentaries, her most recent co star was a CGI elephant. She can also be found performing the Natural Theatre Company's award-winning surreal brand of interactive comedy around the globe.

Photo Credit: Libby Christenson

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 eighth listening of an Alison Campbell audiobook – as the first one was for ‘Scared to Death’ followed by the next stories in sequence of order for the Kay Hunter series.

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

You truly get to see the flexibility of Alison Campbell throughout Cradle to Grave – as she is voicing characters as young as five years into the grandparents age spectrum! She tucks you close to the characters themselves – from the ones you suspect might be guilty to the ones who are a bit more innocent than their lives sound aloud! You can cleverly stay piqued in interest to see who is whom in the end whilst you get the joyfulness of hearing her accents, her characterisations and the adaptive quality she brings into the audiobook series by moving through a very tautly developed back-history of characters – both lead and supporting cast.

In this installment, her dramatic narrative styling felt intricately compelling on an emotional level as she had characters who were experiencing emotional anguish at different intervals whilst her true lead character of Kay Hunter was blessedly found in a new stage of her life. She had resolved quite a heap of life’s adversities by this installment and it was lovely to see a different lint of peace threading through her voice and the sequences involving her Mum, Dad and husband Adam.

Along the route from the beginning to the end, you get to peer into more of the lives of the supporting characters – seeing how they handle themselves at crime scenes and how Kay handles the delegation of her duties to her team. It reminded me a bit of how Detective Olivia Benson started to grow in her role on Law and Order: Special Victim Unit – as Kay Hunter has certainly grown in this series and become a role model for her colleagues.

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 This audiobook review is courtesy of Audiobookworm Promotions:

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

Cradle to Grave audiobook blog tour banner provided by Audiobookworm Promotions.Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

By listening to this lovely audiobook,

I was able to fulfill a few of my reading challenges for 2019!

2019 Audiobook Challenge banner created by Jorie in Canva.

2019 New Release Challenge created by mylimabeandesigns.com for unconventionalbookworms.com and is used with permission.

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{SOURCES: Book Covers for “Scared to Death”, “Will to Live”, “One to Watch”, “Hell to Pay”, “Call to Arms”, “Gone to Ground”, “Bridge to Burn”, “Cradle to Grave” as well as the synopsis for “Cradle to Grave”, the biography and photograph of Rachel Amphlett; the biography and photograph of Alison Campbell (narrator) 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. Post dividers and My Thoughts badge by Fun Stuff for Your Blog via Pure Imagination. Tweets embedded by codes provided by Twitter. Blog graphics created by Jorie via Canva: Audiobook Spotlight Banner and the Comment Box Banner.}

Copyright © Jorie Loves A Story, 2019.

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Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

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 Wednesday, 6 November, 2019 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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