Monday, April 28, 2014

Review: Killer Instinct by S.E. Green

Posted by

I received this book for free from Simon & Schuster in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: Killer Instinct by S.E. GreenKiller Instinct by S.E. Green
Published by Simon Pulse on May 6th 2014
Genres: Contemporary, Thriller, YA
Source: Simon & Schuster
Buy on Amazon

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...

Well poo! Where do I even start?

I guess at Lane. Her characterization felt as if it was based on a bullet point list. Let’s build a serial killer, shall we?
-She has to be quiet. Check.
-She should show a lack of emotion, especially uncaring of romance and sex. Check.
-She should have a dark passenger an internal “kill” itch. Check.
-She should be awkward, blunt, and kind of an outsider. Check.
-She should have a hidden dark past. Check.

So ok, that’s all things we “know” about her, but only because she tells us. Several times. In reality, she comes off as a flat, one dimensional character with a lot of inconsistencies in her personality. For instance she keeps saying how much she dislikes her sister and is indifferent towards Zach but when she’s threatened with their well being she’s heartbroken to the point of it clouding her judgment. She’s also so skinny her nickname is Slim, yet she takes down gunned men, rapists, and animal torturers by herself. Yeah yeah, she takes aikido classes or whatnot, but that was nothing but a weak attempt of added detail to try and make this realistic.

The plot itself is full of conveniences, randomness, and more unrealism. It felt as if Lane was living through episodes of a generic crime TV series where new cases land in their lap each week, then filed away when credits roll. Except… Lane is a teenage girl, not in the CSI. Let’s see: A quarter through the book this housekeeper we’d never heard of arrives at Lane’s house with a missing brother who was being brought over from El Salvado. Next thing you know Lane is a savior for sex trade victims, then we never hear of this woman again. Afterwards (or maybe it was before) we have a sudden mention of a fundraiser for a family who lost their house due to arson and… wait for it…

*Spider man.. Spider-Man does whatever a spider can*

We go through several of these randomly occurring crime-solving adventures throughout the story. Also, her nickname for her superhero persona is the Masked Savior. *Snort*

What else…
-A best friend who’s a hacker to such epic degree she even hacks into the FBI database. *High five*
-A mother and step-father both in the FBI. (How else would she be made privy to such confidential information. Aside from the best friend who finds all of the missing info needed, of course.)
-A genetic explanation for her killer urges. Because that’s how it works.
-An ex who comes into the story (again with the random) just to be annoying.
-A serial killer of 14 years sending texts to Lane which include txtspeak and things like “I GET IT. I’M ANNOYING U. GOOD.” when she doesn’t respond.

And drum roll for this next one….

“I whip around and take [their] head off with one slice.”


Nothing that this story introduces is even interconnected: Her job at the vet, her weird relationship with the doctor, the fling – or whatever this is – with Zach, his psychotic ex, her sister’s sexual endeavors… It all feels so out of place. Then the big reveal at the end, while I didn’t expect that person to be the guilty one (small props for that) it still left me bored. It was a good attempt at an exciting plot and the writing itself isn’t bad, but, aside from its poor execution, it lacked the psychological depth this kind of story needs. Overall, it was a huge disappointment.

I recommend you stick to Dexter.


2 Hot Espressos

The following two tabs change content below.
Canadian blogger, wife, mother, coffee lover, and sarcastic at heart! She has had a love for all things bookish since before Amazon and eReaders existed *le gasp*. You can also find her organizing tours and other fun things at Xpresso Book Tours.

Latest posts by Giselle (see all)

21 Responses to “Review: Killer Instinct by S.E. Green”

  1. Nick @ Nick's Book Blog

    I’m sorry to hear that this was a disappointment for you, Giselle. I was looking forward to reading it when I found out that the MC was a killer, but now I’m honestly thinking of just skipping it. It sounds like there’s a lot of telling instead of showing and a lot of it seems unrealistic. At least, the reveal was decent enough.

    “Spider man.. Spider-Man does whatever a spider can”
    Ha! This reminds me of an episode of TBBT where Sheldon claims that that’s not true.
    ” I can think of many things Spider-Man can’t do that a spider can. One, crawl in your ear and die. Two, legally leave Guatemala without a passport. Three, have sex with a spider.”


    Anyways, great review, Giselle!

  2. Maddy @ Symphony of Words

    Aw, I’m sorry you didn’t like it, Giselle. I just stumbled upon this book a few days ago and it sounded so good from the blurb! But if the protagonist herself is so one-dimensional, this really can’t be for me. (Also, I don’t think you’re kidding about her superhero persona nickname. MASKED SAVIOR??? :O)

  3. Christina (A Reader of Fictions)

    Yeah, no. I saw your review and a couple others and promptly deleted this egalley. Like, Killer Instinct, what? I never downloaded that. Sure didn’t. What are you talking about?

    Spider-pig. Spider-pig. Does whatever a spider-big does. Can he swing from a web? No, he can’t, cause he’s a pig.

  4. Jessica @ Rabid Reads

    Oh yuck. I hate it when a character tells you (over and over again) what kind of person they. Actions and words, dollface! Actions and words! And how convenient to have several FBI connections to get the lowdown on peeps who need killin’. *rolls eyes* Yes ma’am! I do believe I will be taking your advice and sticking to Dexter.

  5. Amanda @ Book Badger

    I hadn’t heard of this book at all until you started it, and I think I’ll forget about it pretty soon too. Nothing about this book sounds appealing, it doesn’t even look that appealing, and I’m a huge fan of CSI, so to read about a cheaper, less entertaining version would just pee me off. Thank you for being so blunt and honest here Giselle, people need to hear it 🙂

  6. ShootingStarsMag

    Sorry this one was such a disappointment for you. It sounds like such an interesting story and it seems like it could have been better if the psychological aspect has been focused on more.

  7. kimbacaffeinate

    Wow, this sounds like one hot mess..from cliche characters to weird plots…love the Dexter references..and think I will stick with that 🙂 Fun review Giselle 🙂

  8. Melanie (YA Midnight Reads)

    Oh le sigh, I was hoping that this was a good murder/thriller novel. Looks like I had to search elsewhere. PFFT. The descriptions here seem ludicrous. Kudos to you for reading it!

    Lovely informative review, Giselle! <33

  9. Kayla

    It’s too bad that you find this book disappointing since it looks really good. Looks like this is another case of the actual story not doing the cover justice, sigh.

  10. A Canadian Girl

    I was so excited about the premise of this one but all the reviews I’ve seen for it have been not so great. And it looks like you agree 🙁 Sigh, I’m so sad that this one doesn’t live up to its potential.

  11. Jenea @ Books Live Forever

    Ha! As I am typing this, I am watching Dexter on Netflix. 🙂 Being in law enforcement as long as I was, I love books like these. Too bad this isn’t as good as it sounds though. Thanks for sharing your honest thought on it. I will steer clear of this one.

  12. Melliane

    I didn’t know this one but sorry it wasn’t for you. It’s already really difficult when a character is like that but if more than that the plot isn’t that good, it’s a big proble. It’s so complicated when the story isn’t really realistic because we stay out of the story…

  13. Pili

    Well, it sounded intriguing, but not enough to make me want to add it to the TBR list, and now after reading your review I’m quite glad that I didn’t!
    Thank you for a very honest review, Giselle!

  14. Michelle @ Book Briefs

    It seems like this one would be a little too convenient for me. But I do love how she seems like the female dexter, so I don’t know. On the surface it looks like something that would really work for me, but I completely understand where you are coming from. I think her character would bother me too.

    Great review Giselle. I’m sorry this one didn’t work out for you.

    Michelle @ Book Briefs

  15. Jennifer Bielman

    LOL, dark passenger. So I read the blurb of this right when I saw your review and then went to go buy it on amazon right away because this is sooooooo my kind of book. But then I saw low ratings there, so I thought, “Well, maybe I should read her review first, duh.” Thank God I did. The MC sounds like a horrible murder by numbers type of character. No dimension at all. And I hate when things don’t make sense, like a small girl taking down all these killers. Come on!!!!

  16. Vi

    Lol, dark passenger. Ugh, this one def sounds like something I need to skip, even though the “Dexter” premise would’ve enticed me. You me, if the MC doesn’t do it, that pretty much means the book is a dud. Great review!