Wednesday, January 07, 2015

Killer Instinct by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

This is a great second novel to series that will definitely have you coming back for more, although it is important to read these books in order. The book, like the first, is Criminal Minds for teens.

The Naturals program is a group of five extraordinary teens who help solve cold cases. The narrator Cassie is a profiler, as is Dean. There's also Sloane who is amazing with numbers and facts, Lia who can detect lies, and Michael who reads emotions. Together they work to solve cases that the FBI hasn't cracked and only cold cases because this program is a bit hush-hush and you can't have teens involved in active cases. But when the latest killer seems to be a copy of the murders Dean's father committed, it's impossible for the teens to take a backseat on this case. Even with the threat of someone shutting down the program, they break and bend the rules to help a friend and solve the case before some else dies. 

I know a number of people who hear "Young Adult" and don't want to give a book another shot. They think that given the teen audience, the books aren't as developed or might come off as superficial - they just don't have the depth that an adult book would have. While I have seen that in some books, that does not happen in this novel. I felt like this book had a great balance of teen connection with enjoyable and quirky teen characters, but it has the depth and development and complexities of an adult murder mystery. You feel for the characters, there are twists and turns with the story, and it is an overall enjoyable ride. Just make sure you read the first book first. Things that happen in the first book are brought up throughout this novel, so it is important to have that background knowledge. Sure there are enough references to get you through if you didn't read it, but it would be best to start this series at the beginning. 

I really enjoyed this novel and would definitely recommend it to anyone looking for a good murder mystery. It's not just blood and guts and whodunit. This novel does a great job getting into the mind of the murder and characters. Definitely pick this book up.

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