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Publisher's Summary

DI Ben Kitto needs a second chance. After 10 years working for the murder squad in London, a traumatic event has left him grief-stricken. He’s tried to resign from his job, but his boss has persuaded him to take three months to reconsider.   

Ben plans to work in his uncle Ray’s boatyard, on the tiny Scilly island of Bryher, where he was born, hoping to mend his shattered nerves. His plans go awry when the body of 16-year-old Laura Trescothick is found on the beach at Hell Bay. Her attacker must still be on the island because no ferries have sailed during a two-day storm.    

Everyone on the island is under suspicion. Dark secrets are about to resurface. And the murderer could strike again at any time.

©2018 Kate Rhodes (P)2018 Simon & Schuster UK

Critic Reviews

"Gripping, clever and impossible to put down. I’ve been a Kate Rhodes fan for years and in Ben Kitto she has created a detective who is just as complex and compelling as Kate’s elegant plotting and stunning prose. The claustrophobia and paranoia of the island are so brilliant evoked, I could almost feel the tide encroaching as time ran out to find the killer." (Erin Kelly, author of He Said, She Said)
 

What listeners say about Hell Bay

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  • Salter
  • 05-18-18

An enjoyable murder/mystery...

Firstly, I want to make clear I enjoyed this murder/mystery, and would recommend it.
However, I thought it could have been better in many ways. I notice other reviews have referenced Peter May's Hebridean trilogy as a comparison, so I will too - and i'd agree they're similar in many ways, however I think putting them on the same level would be wrong.
I feel Hell Bay lacks the depth and feeling that is apparent in May's books. The characters lack the personalities apparent in the Hebridean trilogy, and the story isn't quite as compelling. That said, the lead character (Ben Kitto) is quite a complex individual, and is similar in many ways to Finn Mcleod.
Listeners won't be left disappointed, but those (like me) that found Peter May's work truly exceptional will feel that Hell Bay lacks that special spark that would bring it to parity.
Similarly, I thought Stephen Perring performed well, but lacked that feeling and intensity that would have brought something special to the finished product. I think of Peter Forbes reading May's work, or Anton Lesser reading Phil Pullman and this doesn't reach that sort of level.
This review is probably overly critical, but when comparing to similar stories then it just doesn't quite get there...

44 people found this helpful

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  • Simon
  • 05-12-18

Atmospheric and Evocative!

Hell Bay does for the Scilly Islands what Peter May's The Blackhouse did for the Outer Hebrides. A talented but conflicted detective returns to his remote rural roots and is plunged into a disturbing investigation involving many of the people he once called friends. The atmospheric evocation of the islands and the people that live there is a genuine triumph. While I never like to compare authors as everyone gets different things from each of them the feeling of being transported to a place that Kate Rhodes achieves here is reminiscent of May's efforts. It really is that good.

The plot twists and turns and while it never quite hits fever pitch it's very satisfying as DI Ben Kitto unravels the strands of paranoia that the conflicting evidence weaves around him. Stephen Perring does a fine job of the narration being clear, articulate and providing a good range of voices for the characters without resorting to caricature accents.

This book is definitely at its most impressive in bringing a remote island to life both in the warmly emotional intelligence used to draw the characters and the starkly beautiful yet cold-hearted nature of a small, remote island. I'd thoroughly recommend this if you like darkly atmospheric murder mysteries.

29 people found this helpful

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  • Stacey
  • 10-04-18

Ok

This may have been better had the narrator been better. A very flat delivery that made the book slightly dull.

15 people found this helpful

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  • Kirstine
  • 02-20-20

Started well then deteriorated

Detective fiction is a crowded category so I would hope that any new entrant would try to avoid all the usual cliches and inject some freshness into the genre. Unfortunately not here: we are presented with yet another psychologically damaged detective who is considering leaving the force and has escaped to a lonely place. Predictably the lonely place has a murder and our troubled hero is co-opted to help. True to form his new boss is a hectoring bully who doesn't appreciate the maverick DI. Good grief can't we ever have senior policeman who are supportive of their juniors.

Despite all the above the Scilly Isles is an interesting location: I suppose the success of Peter May's Hebridean Island trilogy is an inspiration, however Hell Bay is not in the same class as a novel, not least because the characters are so two-dimensional and so numerous that I found it difficult to keep track of who was whom. We get far two much about how they are dressed and not enough about their personalities. The few that stand out are caricatures.

I skipped over the love scenes are they are so schmaltzy with endless descriptions of the woman's beauty. Why do so many writers depict all their young female characters as being exceptionally beautiful: few are in real life?
It was a bad sign that I several times checked to see how much of the recording was left as I was hoping it would end soon. I persevered to find out who was the culprit only to find the revelation preposterous.
The narrator is fine: it'swhat he has to read that's poor.

8 people found this helpful

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  • Rogayah
  • 08-10-18

A locked room but bigger

Gripped by the thought that a killer is on an island of 72 people. Which one of these people could be the killer and why?

There are atmospheric descriptions of the Island and good descriptions of the islanders. The narrator is excellent and the story gripping. I look forward to the next book, if there is one.

8 people found this helpful

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  • Spikyjules
  • 07-31-19

Really good story and narration

This is the first book I have read by Kate Rhodes and I can't wait to read another (will be downloading next book in series in next 5 minutes). Convincing characters and lots of twist and turns and never guessed who the murderer was until it was revealed at the end. Plenty of emotion and variation in Stephen Perring's narration.

6 people found this helpful

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  • korky
  • 09-28-18

A thoroughly enjoyable novel

A good reader and a good book what's not to enjoy as the nights draw in

6 people found this helpful

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  • P1977
  • 03-09-19

Not bad but stop with the description of everyone

This story is okay, if clearly unlikely. The protagonist is somewhat smug and self-satisfied but not entirely detestable. Stopping off to describe everybody and all the supposedly perfect looking women is grating. An easy listen if you want an unchallenging story. There are no gripping moments and you could take it or leave it but it’ll keep you going if you like crime drama.

5 people found this helpful

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  • Jacqueline
  • 09-11-18

Brilliant

Brilliant performance and great story. Can’t wait for Audible to record the next one in the Hell Bay series.

5 people found this helpful

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  • Chris P
  • 05-14-18

Bryher is a wonderful place!

Had a fantastic two week holiday there some years ago, the book picks at my memories I loved it, Hell Bay in my humble opinion is best viewed on a wet windy day after a walk around the island, we stayed in a chalet opposite hangman’s rock and conveniently by the pub, all of this book picks away at the place wonderfully we hope to return one day.
Fantastic listen thank you.

4 people found this helpful

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  • Lesley Mac
  • 06-24-20

Murders in Scilly Paradise.

Hell Bay is a satisfying crime novel with a very likeable protagonist and his (ultimately) faithful hound, Shadow. Set on the Isles of Scilly, 28 miles SW of Land’s End, it is a ‘gentle’ crime story—meaning there is a refreshing lack of psychopaths and blood and gore with every turn of the page. Admittedly, I do enjoy those sorts of crime novels, but occasionally, less is more, if the mood strikes.

The setting of Scilly is a surprise, and though I had heard of the Isles of Scilly, it was only a vague knowledge, but I have since Googled the place and if I had the money and Covid19 wasn’t lurking around, I would go there in s shot.

Kate Rhodes has written a very refreshing novel and Stephen Perring’s narration hits the right spot.

Give it a go.

6 people found this helpful

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  • Annie6525
  • 03-09-19

excellent

great story, characters and evocative locations. will definitely read the next in series. makes me want to visit Scilly Islands

2 people found this helpful

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  • soo jay
  • 06-01-21

I couldn't finish it.

Confusing array of characters about whom I cared nothing. The narrator read so fast I had to slow him down. Ridiculous female voices. I wish I had been allowed to return this book after the first chapter but, since I couldn't, at least I can leave this review to warn others.

1 person found this helpful

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  • elizabeth
  • 05-07-21

Silly plot set on Scilly isles

This is a silly plotted book with a pleasant setting implausible events and characters that are hard to fix in the readers mind.

1 person found this helpful

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  • asthecrowflies
  • 02-12-21

Not quite hell but at times it was purgatory.

Smart, sensitive, sexy and well-loved detective runs in circles around small island while people get killed. Smart, sensitive, sexy and traumatised woman just happens to be on same island. Passable book to pass the time.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Bonnie B
  • 01-20-21

Mournful, Atmospheric Murder Mystery

Hell Bay is a good, fast-paced read. The characters are interesting and the detail in surroundings fascinating. It really does pull you into the story. The story itself has a mournful tone, and while answers are eventually found, it did not feel successful. I found the romance aspect to the story completely unnecessary and a little embarrassing to read. A small subplot in the same genre of the story would have performed better.

Overall, it was a good one to read with only a few scraps left unexplained.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Anne
  • 12-24-20

Really enjoyable.

This is my first Kate Rhodes novel and I will go back for more. As an Aussie who loves Cornwall I felt like I was really there with her beautiful descriptions of the sea and islands. It was a nice easy read with likeable characters and well read by Stephen Perring.

1 person found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Anonymous User
  • 11-29-20

Disappointing

Struggled to connect with this book. I felt that it was formulaic and uninteresting. The author clearly tried to create a twist in the end but it was unconvincing.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Loretta.
  • 02-24-22

Hell Bay by Kate Rhodes

enjoyed this book Thank you Kate
& Thank you Stephen Perring for reading to me much appreciated. 💜💜💜

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  • Anonymous User
  • 08-08-21

Great mystery murder

Stephen Perring does justice to this book.
I loved every twist and turn!
Couldn’t wait to get back to it!