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Sharing our love for authors, and the stories they are inspired to tell.

“My First Crime Read”
A Guest Post By Rachel Amphlett

I am pleased to be part of the blog tour, organised to promote author Rachel Amphlett’s latest crime thriller ‘Scared To Death’, the first book in the Detective Kay Hunter series.

Promotional Image Of The Blog Tour For 'Scared To Death' By Rachel Amphlett

To mark the part of Fiction Books in this extensive undertaking, Rachel has provided this great guest post, which really interests me, as I can relate to so much of what she is saying from personal experience. In fact I could have pretty much written this about myself, although unlike Rachel, I have not gone on to secure a much respected and recognised place in the crime thriller genre, good enough to rival that of hers and my own, debut adult author; and I’m not sure that my father ever knew about the extra person reading his library books!


Cover Image of 'Sacred To Death' by Rachel AmphlettA serial killer murdering for kicks…

A detective seeking revenge…

When the body of a snatched schoolgirl is found in an abandoned biosciences building, the case is first treated as a kidnapping gone wrong.

But Detective Kay Hunter isn’t convinced, especially when a man is found dead with the ransom money still in his possession.

When a second schoolgirl is taken, Kay’s worst fears are realised.

With her career in jeopardy and desperate to conceal a disturbing secret, Kay’s hunt for the killer becomes a race against time before he claims another life.

For the killer, the game has only just begun…

Clicking on the book’s title will link you with its dedicated Goodreads page

Check out those all important ‘First Lines’ here


Image Of Author Rachel Amphlett

Pre 2005 I lived in the UK, where included in a varied employment portfolio, I helped run a pub, played guitar in bands, worked as a television 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.

I now call Australia home and proudly boast my dual passport status, although I am a voracious traveller, notching up 15 different countries to date … and counting!

I even manages to find time for a few more hobbies, including skiing, horse riding, going to the cinema and playing guitar. I am also a member of the International Thriller Writers and the Crime Writers Association.

An advocate for knowledge within the publishing industry, I am always happy to share my experiences to a wider audience through my blogging and speaking engagements.

Catch up with all the latest news at my website

Follow me on Twitter

Connect with me on Facebook

Image Of Author Rachel Amphlett


The first crime fiction book I recall reading was Nerve by the late Dick Francis.

My mum had an old second hand copy on the bookshelf in the living room at home when I was about 12 or 13, and I’d outgrown all the books available to 12-year olds at the time (there were no Hunger Games back then!). Bored, I started to browse my parents’ bookshelves and mum, seeing me pull out paperback after paperback, took pity and handed me the copy of Nerve. The opening line gripped my over-active imagination, and soon I was devouring the rest of the story.

Dick Francis novels are often considered to be “cosy mysteries”, and that’s a huge mistake.

Nerve is a psychological thriller as good as any – Francis was writing them before the genre name had even been coined. It has a fast-paced plot, plenty of chilling moments, and a killer who has a unique “hands off” approach to his victims. It’s a very, very clever piece of writing. There are no police detectives in this story. Once the protagonist, a jockey whose rise to fame has been meteoric due to his rivals’ demise, finds himself being targeted, he starts to question everything that has happened around him for the past few months – a colleague committing suicide; rumours swirling around the racing industry that destroy another jockey’s career. When he finally realises who is behind the cruel scheme, he sets out to wreak his revenge – and prove once and for all that he hasn’t lost his nerve.

For me, being able to read crime fiction at such a formative reading age that had a strong connection with where I grew up was an added bonus. We were surrounded by racing stables in the Berkshire countryside where I lived, and that’s where most of books are set. After devouring Nerve I spent all my birthday and Christmas book tokens over the following years completing the back catalogue of Francis’ novels. I still have them, and recently re-read Nerve for the first time in about five years. It remains a thrilling read.


Rob Finn was a bit of a misfit: a struggling young jockey in a family of accomplished musicians, a man in love with a beautiful woman who wouldn’t have him — he suddenly looked like a rider who had lost his nerve. Could it be, though, that the horses were unusually sluggish, and that there was something more sinister attempting to sabotage him…?

Added to the history of my reading all of Dick Francis’ books in my teens was the discovery at the same time that while my dad had been a postman before I was born, he’d delivered the post to the Francis’ household in Blewbury, Oxfordshire – including the annual Christmas telegram from the Queen Mother. Upon hearing that I’d be meeting Felix Francis, Dick’s son at CrimeFest earlier this year, my dad said to me “Tell Felix I remember him in short trousers”.

I did, and a delighted Felix Francis signed a copy of Crossfire for my dad with the line “To my postman”.

Image Of Author Rachel Amphlett

Written by

I can’t remember a time, even as a child, when I haven’t been passionate about books and reading.
I began blogging, when I realised just how many other people out there shared my passion for the written word and I have been continually amazed at the wealth of books that are available and the amount of great new friends I have made, from literally 'The Four Corners Of The World'.

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  • Great guest post. Wow, 15 countries and counting. That’s great. And that’s a nice touch to include Nerve and the story of her dad when he was a postman. It all seems to have come full circle.
    Happy weekend Yvonne

    • Hi Naida,

      I don’t know how Rachel finds time to fit in any writing, let alone all the other hobbies she lists, she must spend much of her time getting on and off planes and being on sensory overload with all the new sights and cultures she has encountered along the way. I am from the generation before Rachels and those opportunities just weren’t available to us then, so I am perhaps a little envious. However It is so good to see someone taking advantage of the changing world in which we live and all it has to offer the adventurous.

      I really enjoy collating and publishing guest posts where the author has given some thought to the content and the human story. Those personal touches make all the difference, especially in this case, when I can relate so closely to what Rachel is saying.

      Thanks for stopping by. I hope that all is well with you and that you too have a Happy Weekend 🙂

    • Hi
      Thank you for your lovely comments – yes, it was quite fun to see the look on Felix’s face when I told him the story in May. Even better was my Dad’s face when I handed over his signed book 😉

  • I enjoyed everything the author shared here! Though I love crime fiction, I cut my teeth on adult novels in the historical fiction genre.

    I’ve never read any Dick Francis and have always been tempted to! I love the horse-racing connection and am thinking that’s a theme in many of his books? Anyway… I might have to check out ‘Nerve’ at some point – and ‘Scared to Death’, too, of course!

    Glad you got to be part of her blog tour, Yvonne.

    • Hi Kelly,

      Back in the day, children weren’t allowed into the adult library until you were a certain age. As my reading ability was far ahead of that age, ‘borrowing’ my parents library books was about my only other option. My dad was into westerns and crime thrillers, whilst mum preferred the romantic novels, so between them both my eclectic mix of genres was nurtured.

      Horse racing is very much the trademark of any Dick Francis novel, as prior to becoming a writer, he was a very successful jockey, even riding for the Queen Mother for a time. His writing was very much a collaboration between himself and his wife, and after her death, his son Felix, who still continues to write under his own name, with his older brother Merrick, himself involved in racing, providing the basis for many of the newer storylines.


      ‘Scared To Death’ is enjoying a very full blog tour schedule and is receiving some very respectable ratings and reviews. Rachel is an amazing author to work with, fully engaged with both readers and bloggers alike and always looking to provide fresh and unique content for each of the book’s promotional articles.

      Thanks for sharing your comments about the post, I always appreciate your visits. Have a good weekend 🙂

      • It’s been great chatting with you, Yvonne while we’ve been setting up this tour and thanks again for hosting me – I had a lot of fun going back over my Dick Francis collection for this guest post!

        • Rachel,

          I hadn’t really noticed just how many Dick Francis novels I have on my shelves until I read your guest post. I have rearranged them all together on one shelf and I can feel some re-reads coming on 🙂

          Enjoy the rest of the tour and good luck for the continued success of ‘Scared To Death’

Written by Yvonne