Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Killer instinct by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

Killer instinct is the second book in The naturals series so this review contains ***SPOILERS*** if you have not read the first book in the series.  This is one series where you really need to read the books in order so make sure you read The naturals before you read Killer instinct.

Cassie is a gifted natural profiler, but all her skill and instinct counted for nothing when it really counted - or at least that is how she feels.  For weeks she worked alongside a killer and was completely oblivious, but then again so were the other naturals including fellow profiler Dean.  As if professional challenges were not enough for Cassie to deal with, she also has to deal with her attraction to both Dean and Michael, a confusing set of emotions and tangled feelings that is keeping all three of them on edge.  It doesn't help that a new case is about to rock their world - a case that involves Dean's dad.

They find the first body not long after Agent Sterling arrives at the house, a distant and calculating presence in a house that is already on edge.  Agent Sterling makes it clear from the start that she is there to assess the programme and make sure that all the i's are dotted and all the t's are crossed -and she seems to take some perverse pleasure out of pushing their buttons.  Agent Sterling has a lot to prove to herself, her father, and her ex-husband - and she is not going to let the naturals rummage around in active cases getting underfoot and into danger.  That becomes more of a challenge than she expected when a body appears that has all the hallmarks of Dean's dear old dad.  In a deadly game of cat and mouse Cassie and the other naturals have to figure out who the killer is before they take their next victim - and they have to do it all under the watchful eye of Agent Sterling.

Killer instinct had to live up to some seriously high expectations, and I am thrilled to say that not only did the book meet my expectations - it exceeded them.  Writing a follow up to a compelling and enthralling first novel in a series is always a challenge, and when that first novel is a stand out in a field of similar themes and plots that gets even harder.  I have read my fair share of teen and adult thrillers and there is something compelling about the naturals series, something that makes them just that much better than other books of this type - and that includes some of the adult books I have read as well.

Jennifer Lynn Barnes is a brilliant writer and has only gotten better at her craft over the past few years, and while the naturals is an unusual genre choice for her she has blown the competition out of the water.  There is a fine balance here between character development and plot development, and keeping the high octane pace of the story.  Some other authors may do a better job of developing strong characters and lengthy, involved plot twists - but here you see the master of fast paced action at work.  This series is a stepping stone into the world of adult thrillers for older teen readers, yet it is not so gory or gross that younger teens can't read it as well.

I am really looking forward to seeing what happens next for Cassie, Dean, Michael, Lia and Sloane because there is some real potential here for a long lasting series.

If you like this book then try:
  • I hunt killers by Barry Lyga
  • Acceleration by Graham McNamee
  • Hate list by Jennifer Brown
  • Guy Langman, crime scene procrastinator by Josh Berk
  • A girl named Digit by Annabel Monahgan
  • The Christopher killer by Alane Ferguson
  • Nickel plated by Aric Davis
  • Dead to you by Lisa McMann
  • Crime seen by Jenny Pausacker
  • Burning blue by Paul Griffin
  • Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson
  • Such a pretty girl by Laura Wiess
  • Living dead girl by Elizabeth Scott

Reviewed by Brilla

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