The Naturals – finished 5th November 2016
Seventeen year old Cassie has a special talent for reading people. She has never thought it a particular skill, until the FBI come calling with the revelation that they are setting up a group to help profile cold cases – a group of teenagers with very unique skills.
Cassie has never really got over the death of her mother, and she is convinced that involvement in this process will allow her to gather clues as to the identity of her mother’s killer. It soon becomes clear that nobody in this program is quite what they seem, and when we receive information about a new killer it seems that this one might be closer to Cassie than was previously thought.
Admittedly the idea is quite preposterous, but it was highly engaging and has appealed to teen readers – both boys and girls – in school.
Killer Instinct – finished 22nd November 2016
Having already been caught up in some rather uncomfortable events, the Naturals hope to be focusing on cold cases. The teenagers are left reeling after the events of the first book, and it’s hardly surprising that they are worried about Locke’s replacement.
Agent Veronica Sterling is Briggs’s ex-wife and the FBI Director’s daughter. She was also one of Daniel Redding’s intended victims, and has a close relationship with Dean. From the off, she’s an intriguing character and her presence brings a little more to the characters.
This story focuses on a killer who seems to be copying Redding’s MO. The intercutting of the killer’s thoughts is quite unsettling, but this was a cracker of a story.
There was, for my liking, just a little too much angst over Cassie’s dilemma regarding whether she fancies Dean or Michael more. It was a bit of a distraction, but I suppose it made her seem a little more human.
All In – finished 2nd December 2016
Cassie and the other Naturals are called to Las Vegas after three bodies are discovered on three consecutive days. Initially thought to be accidental deaths, with the different killing methods it soon becomes evident that this bears the marks of a serial killer.
I loved how we got to learn a little more about Sloane and her background, and the other Naturals are developed clearly. Cassie is also dealing with issues arising from her past, but the group worked so well together as they tried to get to the bottom of this.
In a development from the earlier books we are told that these killings are linked to many others, and that a shadowy cult may well have a bigger part to play in this than anyone realised.
The story was well-plotted and I really was gripped as we started to get more background to the events. I’m just desperate to find out what happens in ‘Bad Blood’.
Bad Blood – finished 24th December 2016
Cassie’s journey with the FBI Naturals program is drawing to a close and, in this finale, we watch as Cassie and her companions try to work out exactly what is going on. Everything Cassie thought she knew about her mother’s disappearance is being called into question. There’s an awful lot going on behind the scenes, and it’s all too apparent that the Naturals themselves are being hunted.
We are led down one or two garden paths here-quite literally. Following their discovery that the deadly killer Nightshade is linked to the group known as the Masters, Cassie becomes convinced that this case could well be linked to her mother’s disappearance.
There remains a fascinating insight into the procedure of profiling, and the psychology behind a killer. What I particularly liked in this novel was the growing understanding that we see Cassie coming to of herself and her situation.
While the story itself reached what could be deemed a satisfying conclusion in many ways, I was totally unprepared for the shocks we were given regarding one or two characters. These revelations cast into doubt a lot of what had come beforehand, and lent a somewhat more creepy air to the earlier novels in the series.
My main gripe with this was that certain characters, who I’d come to have more than a little soft spot for, were slightly more in the background than I’d have expected. I also can’t help but wonder whether Barnes will be tempted to add to this series as we watch characters such as Laurel develop.
All in all this series was a surprise hit for me – and one that I wish had been around when I was younger.