Wednesday, December 9, 2015

#Wednesday Review - All In by Jennifer Lynn Barnes (Young Adult)

Series: The Naturals # 3
Format: Hardcover, 378 pages
Release Date: November 3, 2015
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
Source: Library
Genre: Young Adult, Mystery, Thriller

Three casinos. Three bodies. Three days.

After a string of brutal murders in Las Vegas, Cassie Hobbes and the Naturals are called in to investigate. But even with the team's unique profiling talents, these murders seem baffling: unlike many serial killers, this one uses different methods every time. All of the victims were killed in public, yet the killer does not show up on any tape. And each victim has a string of numbers tattooed on their wrist. Hidden in the numbers is a code—and the closer the Naturals come to unraveling the mystery, the more perilous the case becomes.

Meanwhile, Cassie is dealing with an equally dangerous and much more painful mystery. For the first time in years, there's been a break in her mother's case. As personal issues and tensions between the team mount, Cassie and the Naturals will be faced with impossible odds—and impossible choices.

ALL IN is the third installment in Jennifer Lynn Barnes The Naturals series. Told in the first person narrative by Cassie Hobbes, and by the villain of the story who Barnes calls YOU, ALL IN takes place mostly in Las Vegas. After a string of 3 murders in 3 days in 3 different Casinos, the FBI and their Naturals travel to Vegas to investigate. Cassie, who has the gift of profiling people, has been a member of the Naturals for about six months now. She's come to accept her role in the group as a profiler. But, one huge revelation may change everything she knows about her mother's disappearance. 

Since the beginning of this series, Cassie has had a bad habit of being captured by crazy lunatics. Going into the story, I had hoped that this trend would end and thankfully it does. Cassie, along with fellow profiler Dean, Michael (good at picking up expressions), Sloane (genius with numbers), and Lia (ability to know when someone is lying) make up the Naturals. Each has their own story to tell. Each character brings so much to the table that you can't help but pick up the next installment to see what Barnes is going to write about next.

"Home is the people who love you most, the people who will always love, forever and ever, no matter what."

ALL IN isn't just a story about a serial killer who uses a diabolical way of killing people, or the new revelation that a cult might be behind a whole lot of killings, or that readers will finally get their first look at a serial killer that has haunted Judd and Special Agent Sterling for years. This time around, there is a rather large Elephant in the room after Cassie's father reveals that a body, presumed to be her mother Lorelai Hobbes, has been found. That revelation hangs over Cassie's every move, but she can't allow it to get in the way of capturing the Vegas killer.

I do like the fact that Barnes gives readers a better look into the lives of Sloane, Lia, and yes, even Michael after spending the first two books with mostly Cassie and Dean. Sloane's story is a bitter one, that is fraught with heartache, tears, and loss. I am glad that Barnes took the time to sort out Sloane's past, and her relationship with a father who has nothing to do with her. Barnes does a fantastic job of putting readers into Sloane's shoes so that they feel the sadness, the hurt, and the anger. But, Sloane is also brilliant, and important to the groups success in stopping a serial killer. 

“Pretend for a moment," Lia told her, "that we're all very,very slow."

"I'm not very good at pretending," Sloane told her seriously.

"But I think I can do that.”

As with Sloane, readers gets hints about Lia's past after she plays a game of Two Truths and a Lie. Holy Cats, that just blew me away. Lia tries to play as though she has nothing to fear, but her past still molded her into who she is today. We do get a bit of what happened to Michael while the group was on vacation, but I do hope that we get a better idea of how he was able to survive this long without breaking the law.  

Apparently and thankfully there will be a fourth novel in this series since the mystery behind Lorelai Hobbes disappearance hasn't been resolved, nor has the identity of the group behind a whole lot of past killings been revealed. There was a rather stunning cliffhanger ending to this book, and this quote stuck a dagger right into Cassie's heart.

“Forever and ever,” Laurel whispered, each word a knife in my gut. “No matter what.” 

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