Review: Killer Instinct by S.E. Green

December 21, 2014 Book Review, Young Adult 4 ★★½

I received this book for free from Gifted in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Killer InstinctKiller Instinct by S.E. Green
Published by Simon Pulse on May 6th 2014
Genres: Mystery, Thriller, Young Adult
Format: ARC
Source: Gifted
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“A zippy, gripping psychological drama.” ~Kirkus ReviewsShe’s not evil, but she has certain... urges.Lane is a typical teenager. Loving family. Good grades. Afterschool job at the local animal hospital. Martial arts enthusiast. But her secret obsession is studying serial killers. She understands them, knows what makes them tick.Why?Because she might be one herself.Lane channels her dark impulses by hunting criminals—delivering justice when the law fails. The vigilantism stops shy of murder. But with each visceral rush the line of self-control blurs.
And then a young preschool teacher goes missing. Only to return... in parts.
When Lane excitedly gets involved in the hunt for “the Decapitator,” the vicious serial murderer that has come to her hometown, she gets dangerously caught up in a web of lies about her birth dad and her own dark past. And once the Decapitator contacts Lane directly, Lane knows she is no longer invisible or safe. Now she needs to use her unique talents to find the true killer’s identity before she—or someone she loves—becomes the next victim...

Initial thought as soon as I finished Killer Instinct: What the hell did I just read?!

Now lets back it up a bit and talk about the overall novel. Our main character, Lane, has an obsession with crime, murder, and serial killers. She’s initially unsure just where exactly this stemmed from but with a mom and step-father in the FBI, she credits the fascination partly with them. Lane is one of those characters who is incredibly smart but emotionally detached. She loves her brother and seems to love her family in general but she’s a hard one to crack to actually show it. She isn’t interested in boys or romance or any of that typical teenaged mumbo jumbo. She’d rather spend her time researching serial killers and trying to take them down. She feels like there is a darkness inside her and to help quench that thirst, she goes on a vigilante spree. When Lane starts investigating a serial killer called the Decapitator, she realizes she may have gotten herself more involved than she ever imagine when she is personally contacted by the killer. Someone who is watching her every move.

I must admit the mystery of the Decapitator was very interesting and kept me guessing on the identity of just who it might be. Quite a few times revelations were made that I never saw coming and that was exciting to read. But as far as the overall plotline, I can’t be sure just on how much I liked of it. I mean, obviously with a premise like this you must suspend some disbelief but there was a lot more of that going on than I expected, or cared for. First off, Lane had a best friend who apparently has hacking skills better than the FBI. I mean, Lane was constantly asking her to research everything and anything having to do with small local crimes to the Decapitator, even hacking into the FBI database. This felt a little too convenient for

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me. It took away a little bit of the element of surprise at times because you just knew where Lane would find the information she needed. I also wasn’t too big on how easy it was for Lane to take down local criminals. There was no real struggle there. She’s apparently a lot smarter than law enforcement and could figure out whodunit, find them and make them

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pay all within a few days time with barely a scratch. I realize her character had done a lot of research on how to take people down and was involved in martial arts but after a time or two the ease of it got a little too far fetched for me.

As I mentioned before, Lane is an emotionally detached type of girl. Sometimes it can be hard to connect to a character like that for obvious reasons. And I did have that problem. But I honestly was okay with that to begin with because I not only expected it but also had hopes to connect with one of the other characters but alas, it never happened. Maybe it was part of the whole plan, to keep us guessing and suspicious of everyone but it did a disservice for me. Lane’s sister is shown only as a girl who likes to perform fellatio, a lot. I’m serious. The little brother is cute but not around much. There is a vet Lane has a semi-crush on, or as much as she is capable of, but obviously he is much older and out of her league. We really don’t find out much about him at all. And then there is the love interest? Not sure I’d call it a love interest, really. His name is Zach and I had high hopes when we first meet him but then that all went downhill. He becomes aloof and just another guy who only seems to care about getting a certain something from a girl. Which I guess fit with Lane. It was a bizarre dynamic.

I really enjoyed all of the unraveling pieces of Lane’s past and the mystery of the Decapitator and the shock value at the end. But like my initial reaction stated, I was going through some serious thoughts in my head about what I just read and how much I liked it, leaving me feeling at an impasse. If you like mind-fuckery, I’d definitely recommend this thriller. If you are looking for more in terms of characters and believability within this genre, I’d probably say this book might not be for you.


About S.E. Green

S. E. Green or Shannon Greenland is the author of the award winning Middle Grade spy series, The Specialists, which was an ALA top pick and a National Reader’s Choice Recipient. Killer Instinct marks her debut into the world of thrillers. It’s due out in hardcover 5.6.14 under her pseudonym, S. E. Green.

Sara @ Forever 17 Books

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