Reading Level: Young Adult
Length: 384 pages
Release Date: November 4, 2014
Stand Alone or Series: 2nd book in The Naturals series
Source: eGalley from NetGalley.com
Rating: 4.5/5 stars
I got a copy of this book to review through NetGalley. This is the second book in Barnes’s Naturals series, which has been a wonderful mystery/thriller series full of really entertaining quirky characters. There is at least one more book planned in this series but I couldn’t find title or release date for book 3 yet.
Cassie is looking forward to solving some cold cases for a while after her and her fellow Naturals got a bit too involved in the last big serial killer case. However that is not destined to be the case. Another serial killer in on the loose and this one appears to be a copycat of Dean’s incarcerated serial killer father. Now The Naturals (the five teens in the FBIs elite program for teens with natural crime-fighting abilities) are once again getting drawn into active duty.
The last book centered around Cassie and some issues from her past that came to haunt her. This book centers on Dean and his super creepy serial killer father. I have enjoyed how each of these books has focused on different characters and how the events in their past are influencing present crimes. I am wondering which character the next book will focus on.
The characters in this series have been amazing. Cassie and Dean with their ability to profile and draw correct conclusions about a person’s past/present/future actions, Michael with his ability to read emotions, Lia with her ability to lie and detect lies, and Sloan with her ability to cipher through facts and make accurate predictions. Apart these characters would be very fun to read about, as a group they are amazing. Especially considering how much tension and emotional wreckage they have all brought with them.
There is a love triangle going on here between Cassie, Dean, and Michael. I am not a huge fan of love triangles. However it works well for this book, these characters are just so messed up that there are so many other elements that play into the “romance”. That being said there isn’t a ton of romance.
I love the plot as well. It is super fast paced with lots of mystery. You are constantly trying to work through who did what before the characters unravel the mystery. There are just so many twists and turns and the book just keeps you guessing. Nothing ever comes off as contrived and I was on the edge of my seat the whole time, this book was impossible to put down!
As with the first book the story is interspersed with small “outtakes” from the killer’s journal which are super creepy. The serial killings are vicious in description but never so gory as to be stomach-turning.
I enjoyed the writing style. Barnes gives each character such a distinct and natural sounding voice. The book was fast-paced and hard to put down, just very readable, witty and smart. I liked how the story wrapped up and am eager to see what happens next; The Naturals program takes an interesting turn right at the end of the book.
Overall a wonderful YA thriller. I love the characters, the fast-paced of the story, the great twists and turns and just how witty and smart this book is. This whole series is highly recommended to those who love thriller/mysteries, especially those involving serial killers. It does get quite creepy, so just a warning if you scare easily!