Monday, November 10, 2014

Killer Instinct by Jennifer Lynn Barnes


Released: 11/4/14
Publisher: Disney Hyperion
Format: Print ARC

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.


ONCE AGAIN Barnes knocked it out of the park for me!!

I read THE NATURALS this past week then immediately started KILLER INSTINCT. This sequel picks up not too long after THE NATURALS ends and I was quickly engrossed in this story just like I was in the first book. I absolutely love this group of characters so I was excited to dive right in with Cassie, Dean, Michael, Sloane, and Lia once again. This time the group gets thrown into a case where someone is copying Dean's dad's serial killer MO. While the group does have trouble being allowed to actively be involved with this case due to the new agent, Sterling, that definitely does not keep them away. 

One of my favorite things about thriller books are the fact that they keep me guessing, I'm on edge, and have the hardest time putting them down. This one did not disappoint in those areas at all. I was constantly trying to figure out Daniel Redding and who was doing the killings that were happening. I had SEVERAL suspects while reading, some were right; some were definitely WAY off base. But the point was I never knew 100% and that's what I NEED when reading a book like this. I also could easily feel like I was part of the book. It was very natural to slip into Cassie's mind and see the things she was seeing, and feel the things she felt. I was also picking through all the clues just as much as the characters were and then trying to force myself not to skip ahead just to see if I was right. (Honestly, I ended up reading holding a piece of paper over anything past the line I was on.) 

At the end of THE NATURALS, Michael told Cassie to take some time and decide how she felt about Dean and him so she could "choose between them". HONESTLY I'm not so much a fan of this triangle scenario being played out in these books. It's one of those cases that I feel like it's just kind of there for no point. I REALLY feel like Cassie and Dean have a really strong connection and that they just mesh really well. They have actually gotten to know each other, and told each other some of their darkest secrets. On the other hand with Michael, there has been some flirting, but I mean that's about it. Don't get me wrong, I absolutely adore Michael, he cracks me up to no end, but I'm REALLY hoping to see him and Lia together. They just fit in my opinion. Now for all of those that aren't fans of the triangles at all, rest assured that this one is a very, VERY little side story going on, it definitely doesn't take over the book or the plot at all. 

There were definitely some dark turn of events in the end and the last 50 pages I think I read faster than any other part of the book. I'm REALLY hoping there will be more books after this one, I think the ending kind of leaves it open for more. (I would also love for The CW gods to hear my plea and make this into a show, because it would definitely appeal, as would these books, to the ever faithful Veronica Mars fans.) I can't recommend this book enough if you are a fan of thrillers! 



(Thanks to Disney Hyperion with providing me with this ARC)


  1. I have mostly skim-read the review since I haven't read the Naturals yet, but I'm glad to hear that this one is even better and you loved it, Crystal!

  2. I LOVED this one! Jennifer Lynn Barnes is an amazing author! A show based on these books would be so good!

    Great review!

    Em @

  3. I'm so happy you loved this one :-) I wish I'd had time to reread The Naturals beforehand so I'd have remembered the character interactions and relationships a bit more. I really enjoyed the book regardless and wasn't able to figure it out easily, which is a big plus!


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