Sunday, May 4, 2014

Killer Instinct by S.E. Green (ARC Review + Interview)

Young Adult, Realistic Fiction, Mystery, Suspense
Publication.Date:May 6, 2014
Pages:271 (ARC paperback)
Published By:  Simon Pulse
Website:S.E. Green 

Killer Instinct on Goodreads
My review copy:
Review copy provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review

Where to get:

“A zippy, gripping psychological drama.” ~Kirkus Reviews

She’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.


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...


Lane is obsessed with serial killers. She's studies them and learns their methods to find what makes them all tick. She knows there isn't quite something right with her. She doesn't feel emotions like her family and doesn't make an effort to pretend that she does. Both her parents (well, mother and step-dad, but he's been around since she was three as her birth father died before she was born), work for the FBI. This connection comes in handy when The Decapitator comes to the DC area. Lane becomes even more fascinated, especially once The Decapitator starts to contact her.

I was intrigued to find out who The Decapitator was and why the killer was contacting Lane, so the intrigue was there. I find these areas of the novel to be more interesting than when Lane goes after the people who get away with their crimes: a rapist, an animal abuser, etc. Yes, noble gestures and I appreciate the fact that she is annoyed by her nickname The Masked Savior, but I want more focus on the main baddie. These little mini-bad guys she decides to deal with, while the big bad is on the prowl, take away from the big mystery. It's more like their purpose is to fill empty space within the plot and show her abilities.

I definitely could have really really done without the slut-shaming of her sister, Daisy. For instance, Lane walks into her sister's room as she is giving her boyfriend a blowjob. Her sister notices her but doesn't stop and the next day informs Lane that he reciprocated. Why? Why is the necessary to the plot?

That's not to say everything about this novel is bad. I did enjoy it. S.E. creates a compelling mystery and an interesting character out of Lane. I would like to have a more in-depth look into Lane's character and more of her friendship with Reggie. She really only calls Reggie when she needs her to some investigating and breaking into FBI computer files.

Regarding the ending (Oh my gosh - the ending!), I have to admit that I am amazed. I don't normally use gifs in my reviews, but when the twist came . . .

All joking aside, this is exactly what I did
The ending is above and beyond my favorite part. S.E. really took readers on a ride in that aspect. While I still have some questions, I found the ending to be extremely well done. (Dexter spoiler: No lumberjacks here!) I'm usually pretty iffy on epilogues, more often than not I don't find them necessary, but I like how this epilogue was approached. I wish I could tell you more, but being about the epilogue, it would be pretty spoliery.

Killer Instinct is not a bad book. I was interested throughout the novel and didn't feel as if it were a chore to read. I do think it could use another round of editing and some polishing, but I would recommend it, especially if you find yourself to be a fan of psychological thrillers with a healthy mix of mystery.

Welcome to Bookish, Shannon!​ I'm so excited to have you here with us today! If you had to describe Killer Instinct in five words, which ones would it be?

Dark. Thrilling. Shocking. Violent. Fast. ​

You previously wrote The Specialists series which has a very different vibe than Killer Instinct, which is definitely a turn into darker material. Could you tell us a little bit about the inspiration behind it? 

I am a huge fan of shows like Hannibal, The Following, and Dexter. So when I decided to write a new series, the “serial killer” theme fit.

You're no strange to mystery novels, but given the different vibe of this one, did you have to overcome any fears the first time you sat down to write it?

Not at all. I wrote exactly how and why I wanted to and did not hold a single thing back. I took chances and embraced my own dark side. The whole process was liberating, and I hope readers embrace their own dark side as well!

What is the hardest part of the writing process?

That sagging middle. I tend to throw things in just to liven the book up, only to go back and delete them because they make no sense. I suppose I should try actually outlining the whole book first. But that just seems so boring to me. ​

Favorite part?

Those unexpected scenes or characters are definitely my favorite part. I’m like, “Hello, where did you come from? Welcome!”​ ​

What's next in line for you? Are you working on a new book now?

My editor and I are putting the final touches on the 2nd book in the series. It will be out in 2015 and is aptly titled Killer Within.

This really isn't a questions, more of just something I wanted to say: Awesome ending! I loved it and think you did a fabulous job with that.

Thank you. That is my favorite part of the whole book, and I think other readers will be just as surprised!

Fill in the blanks:

One time I spontaneously . . . Took a selfie with a plumbers crack. I know! I was a teenager. Cut me some slack.

I'm addicted to . . . Veggie chips. Especially the mixture that comes with beets.

If I could live in any TV/movie/book universe, it would be . . . Dirty Dancing. I want Patrick to teach me how to mamba.

If I could tell the world just one thing, it'd be . . . Try new things. Be adventurous!

The last book I bought was . . . I’m currently reading Fighting to Forgive by J B Salsbury. I’m a big UFC (Ultimate Fighting) fan, so her fighting books are a natural fit for me.

Thank you for stopping by Shannon! It was great chatting with you :)

And thank you!

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.

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