Review of Killer Instinct by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

Killer Instinct (The Naturals, #2)Killer Instinct
By: Jennifer Lynn Barnes
Release Date: November 4th 2014
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
Format: Print ARC
Source: Publisher

A copy of this book was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

My Rating:

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:
I was a big fan of the first in this series, The Naturals. As with the first, Barnes has written another compelling mystery that kept me intrigued once I got back into the world and characters. Barnes’ knowledge of cognitive thought and psychology was evident in her characters motivations and behavior.

I chose not to reread the first book and this caused me a tad bit of struggle in the beginning because I had trouble recalling the characters and their dynamics with one another. It didn’t take long though and I was back into the story. The last book focused on Cassie and the mystery surrounding her mother’s death and the journey to find the person responsible for the killings that were similar to how her mother was murdered. Killer Instinct focused this time on a copycat of Dean’s father.

Dean was an easy favorite for me in both books because I can’t help but be fascinated with his character. The idea that his father was a convicted serial killer was as sad as it was intriguing. In this novel we get much more depth about Dean and his father’s interactions. I thought this was the most fascinating aspect of this book and am so happy that Barnes explored this element.

Though the story focused a good deal on Dean’s past it was told again from Cassie’s view point. Like the first book, Killer Instinct had a significant focus on a love triangle with Cassie struggling between her two interests. This element did detract from the story for me but I’m glad to see that it looks to be coming to a close sooner than later. Though the triangle wasn’t my favorite aspect I could see Cassie’s draw to both Dean and Michael.

Each of the secondary characters were true to their character from the first book. Michael was the welcomed humor in a story focused so much on death. It’s hard not to love him solely for his witty dialog. The reader was given more insight into each of these characters and I felt that as the series continues we’ll continue to get to know them even more.

As with the first book we get small chapters told from the killer’s point of view. I love that these are included since we get to witness the psychological make-up of the killer. It helps to give hints into who it is and kept me invested and intrigued in the mystery.

Final Thoughts:
Killer Instinct was a fast paced mystery that was unpredictable and intriguing. I love Barnes’ use of profiling basics and her ability to keep me guessing who the killer might be. Though there was a love triangle I felt that the story was done well enough to cancel out that aspect and keep me loving this series.


  1. says

    Awesome review Kristen. <3 I'm so glad you enjoyed this book 🙂 And that you loved book one. I don't think these books are for me, though they do look pretty amazing 😀 and you make it sound interesting. Thank you for sharing sweetie. <3 (Also, I LOVE the new blog look 😀 SO PRETTY!)

  2. says

    Fantastic review Kristen!
    I’m glad that even if the love triangle bothered you a bit, it didn’t really detract so much out of your enjoyment of the book!
    I really need to get to read these two books soon!

  3. says


    I loved the first book so will definitely have to pick this one up soon. I actually forgot that it was released this month, what with life catching up to me and whatnot. I think I may have the same problem as you though, in that, I won't remember the character dynamics at the beginning. Hmmm…and I'm not a fan of the love triangle at all so we'll have to see. But I will check this one out, because I'm desperate for a little more of this triller. Plus, I love how we get the killer's POV which really spices things up. Fantastic review, Kristen! x

  4. says

    It didn’t take too long to get back into the swing of the characters but I think it might have been best to reread…but I never have time to do that 🙁 I doubt you do either. I hope you really like it Jess. And thank you! I’m so happy the new site looks seems to have gone over well with my readers.

  5. says

    I wasn’t planning on re-reading the first, happy to hear it doesn’t take too long to get back into the groove, haha. Also, no love triangle please, sigh. I’m also happy to hear it didn’t deter from the good parts of the book though! Thanks for the review, Kristen!

    PS, love the new look for the blog!

    • says

      Thank you Cyn!! I wish I’d had the time to do a reread but goodness, none of us have the time for that (sadly). It took maybe 20 pages or so and I started to get back into it. I might not have been as emotionally invested in the romance aspect because of the length of time in between books but I still really enjoyed it.

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