Sunday, November 9, 2014

*Gizmos Book Reviews* Killer Instinct (The Naturals #2) by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

**I received this book for free from Disney-Hyperion via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.**


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?

*My Thoughts*

Killer Instinct is the second installment in the The Naturals series. A series that is reminiscent of the Cold Case TV series but with teenagers who have exceptional abilities like profiling, lie detecting, facial expression reader, and a walking talking encyclopedia. The Naturals Program had been designed to track and solve cold cases, but has altered somewhat after facing danger after danger.

The series protagonist, Seventeen-year-old Cassie Hobbes, has a gift for profiling people and getting into their mindset to find what makes them tick. Cassie has now been part of the FBI's Naturals Program for the past 2 months after spending the past 5 years with her sperm donor father's family. In that time, Cassie has put herself into dangerous situations to bring down villains who have left a trail of bodies behind, but hasn't come to close to learning the reasons behind her own mothers disappearance.

The rest of Cassie's teammates include love interest(s) Dean Redding and Michael Townsend, as well as Sloane, and Lia Zhang. JLB reveals a few interesting tidbits about all of Cassie's teammates this time around. Nobody in this case of misfits has had the perfect lives, and they cling to each other because they have nobody else.

The team is lead by Special Agent Tanner Briggs, and now Special Agent Veronica Sterling has joined the cast and crew after evaluating the Naturals Program for reliability and value after being duped and outfoxed by one of their own. Veronica has a story all her own to tell, and it definitely ties into Dean's family tragedy and what brought him to the attention of the Naturals program.

If you haven't read The Naturals yet, you are missing a huge chunk of the series. Cassie is a character that truly believes in doing the right thing even though she ends up in precarious situations time and time again. She's faced a killer tied to her mother, and now, faces a serial killer tied to Dean Redding father. It's nice that Barnes has shifted gears a bit and uncovered what brought Dean to the program and what makes him tick. Kind of reminds me of the I Hunt Killers series in that regards.

It still sucks for me that things have not been resolved with the triangle. I keep hoping that Barnes wakes up one day and realizes that not everyone likes them. It's fine to have a character who feels emotions for different people, but we've now had 2 books, and nothing is resolved. It's time to make a choice and live with your decision. Period.

I think the mystery behind who the killer was well done and one again Barnes shows that she actually spent time and effort into researching her topic. The story's mystery left me scratching my head right until THIS person is revealed. I would encourage readers to make yourself a list of characters that Barnes introduces. You will thank me later once you realize that she's given you pieces of the puzzle to solve.

Will be patiently waiting for the next installment which should release about this time in 2015. Now that things have been shaken up a bit, Barnes can definitely take this series in numerous directions. Perhaps next time, the story will resolve around either Michael, Lia, or Sloane.

Author - Jennifer Lynn Barnes
Title - Killer Instinct (The Naturals # 2)
Published by Disney-Hyperion
Released - November 4, 2014
Genre - Young Adult, Thriller
Format - E-Book, 386 pages

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