ARC Book Review: Killer Instinct

Killer Instinct CoverBook: Killer Instinct by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

Expected Publication is November 4, 2014 by Disney-Hyperion|384 pages

Where I Got It: I got the ARC from netgalley.com, which hasn’t influenced my review in any way.  Promise!

Series: The Naturals #1

Genre: YA Slightly Paranormal Mystery/Thriller

You can find Killer Instinct on goodreads and Jennifer Lynn Barnes on Twitter, tumblr, and her website

Goodreads Summary: 

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.

What I Thought:

So, after listening to The Naturals earlier this year, I was looking forward to reading the next book, and I’m really glad I was able to read an advance copy of the book, because I really liked it!

I really liked seeing where the story picked up after the events of the last book, and I was quite surprised by all of the connections that somehow made the first book make sense in a way I didn’t realize was possible.  It’s actually a good thing, though, because there is so much more to this story than I realized.  This makes so much more curious about where the story is going, because Killer Instinct really threw me for a loop!

I liked that the kids continued to work together as a team, and I liked learning more about the kids, and the people they work with- namely Judd and Agent Briggs.

I am so curious about so many things that I don’t want to spoil, but there’s a lot of mystery that I wasn’t expecting, and I was definitely kept guessing throughout the entire book.  I actually think I like this story more than the one in The Naturals, partly because we get we’re past the introducing part of the series but mostly because so much more of this world is revealed to us.

It’s such a creepy book, and I’m actually looking forward to listening to the audio book, because I actually really liked the first book on audio, and I’m sure this one will just as good (if not better) as an audio book.  I like that each book has a different serial killer, because Barnes does a great job at exploring their motivations, but I also like the relationships between the kids and how they work together to solve the case.

There is a little bit of a love triangle, but the romance really takes a back seat to everything else going on.  Plus, Michael, Dean and Cassie all have their own issues that complicate things.  It’s such a small part of the book that I’ve found I don’t particularly care about the romance,  but with 5 kids in one house, it’s bound to happen.

It definitely seems like each book is going to focus on each kid, because The Naturals primarily focused on Cassie, while this one mostly focused on Dean.  And yet, the overall story story seems to be about Cassie and the death of her mother, so I’m wondering some things.  Like, is each book going to focus on a different kid?  And is each book going to bring us closer to learning what really happened?  I know we’ll have to wait and see, but I still want to know right now.

Let’s Rate It:

I’m definitely looking forward to reading the rest of the series, because I have more questions than answers at this point. I really like where the story is going, and I love the relationships between the kids and adults they work with.  Killer Instinct gets 4 stars.

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