by Jennifer Lynn Barnes
YA Crime Procedural
Amazon / Goodreads
Plot Summary:Seventeen-year-old Cassie is a natural at reading people. Piecing together the tiniest details, she can tell you who you are and what you want. But it’s not a skill that she’s ever taken seriously. That is, until the FBI come knocking: they’ve begun a classified program that uses exceptional teenagers to crack infamous cold cases, and they need Cassie.
What Cassie doesn’t realize is that there’s more at risk than a few unsolved homicides— especially when she’s sent to live with a group of teens whose gifts are as unusual as her own.
Sarcastic, privileged Michael has a knack for reading emotions, which he uses to get inside Cassie’s head—and under her skin. Brooding Dean shares Cassie’s gift for profiling, but keeps her at arm’s length.
Soon, it becomes clear that no one in the Naturals program is what they seem. And when a new killer strikes, danger looms closer than Cassie could ever have imagined. Caught in a lethal game of cat and mouse with a killer, the Naturals are going to have to use all of their gifts just to survive.
Review:This was a great, immersive read! I love the idea that people who are more attuned to psychological tells and body language can use those skills to fight crime - it's like they are super-human but it's an attainable power. Well if you are born with the knack. The author assembles a great team of Naturals in this book too - they all have their quirks and their secrets which kept their unit sometimes tense, and in this case sometimes suspicious. There are lots more to explore with the individual characters especially because some of the characters are initially a bit unlikable but I think there is definitely more to them and it will probably change my opinion of them.
The love triangle is the only thing that disappointed me in this story. It felt unnecessary and a bit unexpected considering how standoffish Cassie always is, and it was hard to believe that two guys are suddenly interested in her. I was also frustrated by how much the two guys conformed to stereotype - with fun, charming Michael vs. brooding, damaged Dean. Although I am a bit torn between them - I'm not sure if have a preference for who Cassie should pick yet.
Although the love triangle aspect took up more time than I cared for, the story moved along at a great pace, and the mystery of who the serial killer was, was very well done. I was surprised by the reveal and the series of clues that led us to the solution was clever and intriguing. I loved that each Natural's gift was important to the story and helped Cassie figure out the clues. And the look into the science of the mind was very interesting for me. I don't normally watch C.S.I. type shows so reading about the investigation process in this book was fascinating. This was a very quick read for me and if you love mysteries and stories rooted in psychology you should give this a try!