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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 bloodstains 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?

USA Today bestselling author Rachel Amphlett took some time out to talk to The Big Thrill about the eighth installment of her Detective Kay Hunter series, CRADLE TO GRAVE:

Which took shape first: plot, character, or setting?

Usually, I’ll get an idea while I’m mooching around scanning through various news websites from around the world, or I’ll overhear something on the radio, or perhaps a snippet of an overheard conversation or flippant remark.

With CRADLE TO GRAVE (Book 8 in the Detective Kay Hunter series) however, the idea just popped into my head one day when I was writing my last standalone novel, The Friend Who Lied:

What if a dead man was seen floating along the River Medway one fine summer’s day and when Kay turns up, she finds out that his face has been shot away?

That was it. That’s all I had.

No spoilers, but what can you tell us about your book that we won’t find in the jacket copy or the PR material?

I hope readers will be surprised by the twist in the middle, and the finale—I know I was when I was writing it!

What authors or books have influenced your career as a writer, and why?

Michael Connelly, Robert Crais, and Lee Child have all been massive influences on my writing—they continue to hone their craft, are generous about giving advice when interviewed, and must be admired for the longevity of their careers. I hope my writing career lasts as long!

What attracts you to this book’s genre?

It’s what I love to read, and have done since my early teens—it’s the enjoyment of the puzzle in a mystery. I have no idea how my detectives are going to solve the investigation when I start a new book!

How does this book make a contribution to the genre?

Rather than a detective with a disastrous home life and work issues, the Detective Kay Hunter series focuses on the teamwork involved in solving a murder. Readers enjoy the humor amongst the terror, as well as the adherence to British policing procedures.


Before turning to writing, USA Today bestselling author 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 fast-paced Dan Taylor and English Assassins espionage novels, and the Detective Kay Hunter British murder mystery series.

After 13 years in Australia, Rachel has returned to the UK and is now based in the picturesque county of Dorset.

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.

To learn more about the author and her work, please visit her website.