Thursday, November 6, 2014

Review: Killer Instinct

Killer Instinct
By Jennifer Lynn Barnes
Published: November 4, 2014

Seventeen-year-old Cassie Hobbes has a gift for profiling people. Her talent has landed her a spot in an elite FBI program for teens with innate crime-solving abilities, and into some harrowing situations. After barely escaping a confrontation with an unbalanced killer obsessed with her mother’s murder, Cassie hopes she and the rest of the team can stick to solving cold cases from a distance.

But when victims of a brutal new serial killer start turning up, the Naturals are pulled into an active case that strikes too close to home: the killer is a perfect copycat of Dean’s incarcerated father—a man he’d do anything to forget. Forced deeper into a murderer’s psyche than ever before, will the Naturals be able to outsmart the enigmatic killer’s brutal mind games before this copycat twists them into his web for good?

With her trademark wit, brilliant plotting, and twists that no one will see coming, Jennifer Lynn Barnes will keep readers on the edge of their seats (and looking over their shoulders) as they race through the pages of this thrilling novel.

My review:

It is no secret that I am a big fan of Jennifer Lynn Barnes's teen novels. I loved her Raised by Wolves series but I am enjoying her new contemporary suspense novels even more. Killer Instinct is a sequel to The Naturals, a novel about teens with unusual gifts like being able to profile people, read emotions from facial expressions, or tell when someone is lying. 

In the first book, Cassie joins the Naturals program and the teens help to catch a serial killer with ties to the murder of Cassie's mom. In Killer Instinct, Cassie is dealing with the aftermath of that case and the emotional trauma. Now it looks like someone is copying the murders committed by Dean's dad, the serial killer Daniel Redding. The teens are supposed to stay behind the scenes but they end up involved as things escalate and murders occur on a college campus. 

Killer Instinct is a fast-paced and suspenseful book. The serial killer storyline is well done. A lot of times I can figure out who the bad guy is well before the protagonist does but that was not the case here. There are so many twists and turns that took me by surprise. 

Even though this is a thriller, there are also moments of character growth. Cassie is still reeling from loss and learning how to relate to the other teens in the program. She also has to work through her feelings regarding Michael and Dean and her complicated relationships with her roommate Sloane and prickly Lia. Cassie wants to help Dean without causing him further pain. The author does a good job of looking at what emotional turmoil is involved when you have experienced such darkness. Dean grew up as the son of a serial killer and that haunts him. Cassie is haunted by what happened to her mom and the killings in the previous book. Michael, Sloane and Lia also have their own dark issues to face. Cassie may be the main character but the other teen characters are also well developed. 

I think fans of suspense would love this series. If you haven't already read The Naturals, pick that one up first since there are spoilers in this book. This series is not as gory as suspense novels written for adults can be but there are some dark themes (serial killers, descriptions of crime scenes and victims, etc.) so keep that in mind.

Note: I received an ARC for review purposes courtesy of Netgalley and the publisher

1 comment:

  1. I generally do not read YA but I certainly read Suspense, Murder, Mayhem and Mysteries!! I think that I might truly like this book--on my TBR list.


Reading Extensively is now an award free blog. Thanks for stopping by! Please leave a comment. I enjoy receiving feedback! Due to increase in spam, I've enabled comment moderation. Sorry for any inconvenience!