by Jennifer Lynn Barnes
Amazon / Goodreads
Plot Summary:Seventeen-year-old Cassie Hobbes has a gift for profiling people. Her talent has landed her a spot in an elite FBI program for teens with innate crime-solving abilities, and into some harrowing situations. After barely escaping a confrontation with an unbalanced killer obsessed with her mother’s murder, Cassie hopes she and the rest of the team can stick to solving cold cases from a distance.
But when victims of a brutal new serial killer start turning up, the Naturals are pulled into an active case that strikes too close to home: the killer is a perfect copycat of Dean’s incarcerated father—a man he’d do anything to forget. Forced deeper into a murderer’s psyche than ever before, will the Naturals be able to outsmart the enigmatic killer’s brutal mind games before this copycat twists them into his web for good?
Review:This series continues to be engaging with it's myriad of twists and turns, and details about behavior and psychology. I think I enjoyed the second book a bit more than the first because the characters are further developed and they feel even more like a real team. There's still a lot of issues they have with each other though, so there's plenty of emotional drama that each character needs to deal with. Character development is necessary in this series because of how much it delves into psychology, and it's great fun to understand how they think.
Even though this story revolves around some gruesome murders (although thankfully it's not heavily detailed in that aspect) and it does follow the mindset of a serial killer, the story feels more like a light and entertaining read. It's not overly grim which is a big plus for me. I find it very interesting how the author maintains the lighter YA feel despite the darker aspects of the story. While I did enjoy the psychological profiling information that we often get when Cassie evaluates other people, I did think it was a little too much at times - there were moments when I really wanted to advance with the story instead of stopping to go over the details of someone's face and posture. I think the information was interesting, but sometimes wished it was balanced better with more action.
The first book has a bit of a love triangle, but the romance hasn't overwhelmed the story in both books so far which makes me happy. With such terrible things occurring, it would not seem right if Cassie was more focused on which guy she liked more. The resolution of this story was a highlight because it was so suspenseful and thrilling. The mystery was set up well and delivered with many unexpected twists and revelations. I really enjoyed this read, and am looking forward to the last book as I think it will address the mystery surrounding Cassie's mom which was set up in the first book!
(I received this book from the publisher or author for a fair and honest review. I was not compensated for this review.)