Author: Jennifer Lynn Barnes
Release: November 3rd 2015
Genre: Mystery, Crime, Thriller, YA
#3 in the Naturals quartet
Series: The Naturals (#1), Killer Instinct (#2), Bad Blood (#4)
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.
That fucking ending, oh my god. Shit. Damn. When's the fourth one coming out? I need to know.
It was the perfect blend of personal enough to make the reader empathize and feel with the characters, but not too tragic that it would have been too much to handle. The plot was perfectly paced and once again, Jennifer Lynn Barnes has done it again: She managed to connect two things, two random things that seem completely, totally unrelated at first, so intricately that you are left gaping towards the end. It's these what the fuck moments that I love best about reading this series, and Barnes does it so wonderfully.
Aside from that, the story was thrilling, it was fast and intense and you get so engrossed in the events, in trying to put the dots together and uncover the murderer yourself that time literally flies by; these books are simply the perfect murder mystery, because you are so involved in what happens, it feels like you're really there with all of them, trying to solve a case. And that's because Jennifer Lynn Barnes lets you, she drops enough hints and clues over the course of the novel that you can do your own bit of investigation and try to piece everything together in hopes of finding the culprit. It's ingenious, really, and I'm in love with it.
The characters, obviously, were great again. I loved the fact that we get to know Sloane and Lia so much better, with each of them laying bare another piece of themselves bit by bit, so you get to snatch up parts over the course of the novel while still having enough time to soak them up and mull it all over. Especially the things we get to know about Lia's past were extremely interesting and unexpected, it just made her so much more intriguing as a character. Sloane, too, my heart really went out for her. Barnes is simply too good at what she does.
All in all (ha!), this was the perfect sequel and an extremely satisfying read, making me all hyped up for the next and final book in this series, while also a bit melancholy because then it'll finally be over and I don't want that. I really hope that we won't have to wait too long for the fourth installment.