Thursday, May 1, 2014

Killer Instinct by S.E. Green

Killer Instinct by S.E. Green
Release Date - May 6, 2014
Publisher Website - Simon and Schuster
Publisher Social Media - Twitter
Pages - 272 pages
My Rating - 2.5/5
**received in exchange for an honest review from the publisher**

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
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...
Killer Instinct revolves around a female character who is reminiscent of Dexter Morgan (from both the TV show and book series). This comparison right there piqued my interest in this book. While the plot shares many similarities to not only the character, but the premise itself, it was the differences that stood out for me. Much of the deeper, thought provoking aspects that this type of story benefits from were, sadly, not there for me.

The writing itself is quick and readable. The flow of the novel certainly lends itself to a quick, one sitting type of read. This, and the novel's length, will appeal to those who are looking for a fun, different type of beach read this summer. It's one that can easily be finished in a day at the beach, and provides a lighter take on this subject matter that was a little unexpected.

Lane, and her personality, are going to create strong opinions in readers. Her lack of connection to others, and abrasive nature perfectly match her character and what it's supposed to be. I felt she came across as detached but focused, and was exactly what I was expecting. The interesting aspect of her character is when we do get glimpses of her emotions. She has moments where she realizes that perhaps some people are important to her. This seems to be at odds with her stance that she has no emotions, but I felt it made sense. We've seen that people like Lane, especially in forms of entertainment, tend to have some emotional connection. It may be to a few people, animals, things, but it is there. They are not emotionless, and the author portrayed that nicely.

These types of stories tend to be driven by the question of nature vs. nurture. The pondering, and inner reflection was surprisingly lacking in this novel. I, personally, find that novels with a character like Lane work best if we can really get inside their head. I didn't feel I learned about Lane in this aspect. It didn't help me feel I got to know and understand this character and her motivations. As interesting, and intriguing as she is, I wanted that connection.

The end reveal, and how it is presented felt a bit rushed without more build up. I think, for myself, the pacing was what made me not connect to the book in the way I wanted to. There are side 'cases' (if you will) that Lane 'investigates' while the over-reaching story arc of the Decapitator is going on. I would have preferred the main story line be fleshed out instead. This aspect strongly resembled a 'case of the week' TV show format which, I feel,  did not translate as well into a novel. Those aspects were not developed enough, and it took focus off the driving plot which was much more interesting.

An intriguing concept that didn't quite come together as I hoped. While I enjoyed the Dexter vibe the novel offered,  I felt something was missing to make this story and the characters truly jump off the page. I am interested in checking out another novel  by this author, and do think perhaps others might like this more than I did.

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