Acquired Audiobook By: I started to listen to audiobooks in  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 “Hell to Pay” 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.
What held me in the throes of “One to Watch” and why I was itching for the next novel:
I enjoyed watching Barnes and Kay sleuth together – they have a working partnership which aides them well on the job. Their bantering keeps the grim bits of their jobs at bay but it’s quite telling how comfortable they are with each other by how they work together to not just interview people interlinked to their investigations but how they brainstorm what they learn could lead their team towards understanding what went wrong in regards to the person who died. They each yield to each others’ strengths and make their hours go by easier for the understanding they share together. Their scenes have become some of my favourites, which worries me in some regards – as true to the nature of these kinds of stories, once you start to favour certain characters – their either the ones who are placed in danger or the ones who can become the ones you never should have trusted to begin with – ergo, I cautioned myself not to let anyone go overlooked as Kay continues to sort out who is conspiring against her; even Barnes!
There is so much anger percolating round the edges of One to Watch – where the parents are voicing their concerns with the kind of angered responses you’d expect them to have due to the circumstances but what was a bit muddling for Kay and her team to sort out who was involved and why this particular party was clouded over by a darkness of murder.
Larch isn’t my favourite character by half – not just because of his insistence of making Kay’s life harder through her continued persecution but because of his mannerisms and personality. He isn’t a team player, he likes to micromanage his team and you never feel he has trust in anyone under him. It leads to an uneasy tension between the detectives but also, for Kay to find her way forward when she’s constantly feeling she’s under the knife of his suspicious mind.
We gain more leverage into understanding Kay and Adam’s close relationship in their marriage by seeing his kindness for fixing the grave of their child. As this is a death they hadn’t prepared for happening and it was one which was somberly difficult to transition past, especially with the hangover effect of what Kay is facing at the precinct. Even after they decide to donate the clothes, you can feel the weight of their loss still being present in everything they do. They are allowing themselves the time to negotiate their grief, but as life rarely allows us to ‘take time off’ from everything else – it is in the background and foreground of all their hours.
The interesting bit for me was watching how this story developed mostly out of the investigation bits – of having to follow alongside the detectives as they did the grunt work, tried out leads which might have made sense in the moment of discovery but perhaps did not quite align in the end with the narrative of the crime. It is here, we start to see how Amphlett is building her world around Kay Hunter but also, of how due to her personal research, how she is opening up the components of being a detective like Kay Hunter is regulated through the proper order of how to investigate and what goes into following through with an investigation hinged to trace and forensic evidence.
She also only reveals ‘so much’ in regards to the furthering compounding conspiracy behind who is trying to destroy Kay Hunter – you aren’t sure what their motives are except that nothing is off the table for what they are willing to do in order to seek out new ways in which to give her a headache of adversity.
As you pull into this part of the series, you have to remain patient as it’s an overlay of the whole series – meaning, each installment draws both Kay Hunter and the reader one step closer to understanding the back-story of what is happening, but it’s the who, why and how which is being left open until what I presume is the conclusion of the series. I was slightly hoping it wouldn’t conclude the series – but perhaps offer a new arc of suspense to follow in it’s wake, or a redirection of purpose for all the characters involved. Similar to what they did after Rizzoli and Isles resolved their individual narrative arcs within Rizzoli & Isles.
Either way – these audiobooks narrated by Alison Campbell, truly are a reflection of the author’s agility in creating a believable world in which Kay Hunter is walking a tightrope between her civic duty as a detective and the vows she is committed to upholding to Adam. Somehow, I have a feeling she is going to have to make a choice between the two – the job or her husband, before someone else makes a choice she isn’t willing to make on her own. In this, Amphlett holds your attention to see how everything will come back round to centre, including how the supporting cast will either shock us or keep the traction we’re all presuming to be the course they are set to walk.
-quoted from my review of One to Watch
By the end of ‘One to Watch’, I was quite certain I was going to be moving into the harder bits of the character arc surrounding Kay Hunter. Everything was leading into this sequence of pulling back the layers of the conspiracy against her – whilst anchouring us directly into her working relationships with her team. It was there, I realised – depending upon how ‘Hell to Pay’ played out – I was either going to find myself treading water or finding myself able to swim.
There are portions of this series which are dearly beloved – especially in regards to adaptation on behalf of the work by Alison Campbell. Combined with the taut and authentic writing styling by Ms Amphlett – this series hugs close to it’s roots in a police procedural drama where an investigative team becomes an endearing part of your life during the hours in which you are following alongside their investigations. Yet, there are moments where you feel if you are quite prepared to go through all of their cases – as the darker shades of humanity are aptly explored, revealled and tackled from multiple points of view.
The key difference from the first novels in the series and the latter two I’ve been listening to is the absence of switching perspectives in tandem between Kay and her current ‘unknown’ villain. The focus is honed more into her team and the ways in which the team finds their rhythm with working with each other on the cases which make them feel restless in their off hours. These are the kinds of cases that are hard to shift out of one’s conscience and the hardest to resolve, even if you’re able to close the case.
I was hoping the bits of what I loved about the series would swing back into the central thread of the upcoming stories – where though terrifying gutting her job is there is a hopefulness about it as well – of how she is choosing to serve the dead and honour the lives lost. I was hopeful on the back half of the series – perhaps, even after the main obstacle is overturned (in regards to who is forcing Kay to remain on high alert) Kay can either make peace with the job itself or find a new path to pursue adjacent to being a detective. Perhaps a new beginning for her and Adam but still able to give her life in dedication in helping others overcome the worst bits of their lives?
When a road traffic accident on a dark autumn night uncovers a disturbing conspiracy, Detective Sergeant Kay Hunter's investigation exposes a ruthless serial killer exploiting vulnerable young women.
With her enemies unmasked and her career spiraling out of control, Kay's determination to seek vengeance for the victims brings her dangerously close to those who want to silence her.
Undeterred, she uncovers the real reason behind a plot to destroy her career and sets in motion a terrifying chain of events.
Places to find the book:
Published by Saxon Publishing
on 1st January, 2018
Format: Audiobook | Digital
Length: 7 hours, 14 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
Call to Arms | Book Five | Synopsis