Title: All In
Series: The Naturals, #3
Author: Jennifer Lynn Barnes
Genre: Young Adult, Mystery, Thriller
Release Date: November 3rd, 2015
Length: 378 pages
Source: Borrowed from my local library
Three casinos. Three bodies. Three days.
After a string of brutal murders in Las Vegas, Cassie Hobbes and the Naturals are called in to investigate. But even with the team’s unique profiling talents, these murders seem baffling: unlike many serial killers, this one uses different methods every time. All of the victims were killed in public, yet the killer does not show up on any tape. And each victim has a string of numbers tattooed on their wrist. Hidden in the numbers is a code—and the closer the Naturals come to unraveling the mystery, the more perilous the case becomes.
Meanwhile, Cassie is dealing with an equally dangerous and much more painful mystery. For the first time in years, there’s been a break in her mother’s case. As personal issues and tensions between the team mount, Cassie and the Naturals will be faced with impossible odds—and impossible choices.
Up until about the 1/4 mark, I thought this was going to be the weakest book in the series. Everything just seemed….convenient. The angst was subdued and it felt The Cassie Show. Also, for some reason, Cassie and Dean profiling together, playing off one another, felt a little too deus ex machina. BUT. After that point, I was pretty much glued to my Kindle.
Here’s the things I love about this book, and this series:
⁂ The stakes always feel real. And personal. It’s never just a dead body (or three).
⁂ The farther we get into the series, the more vulnerable the characters are (opening up to each other, not just we the readers learning more about them). Even tertiary characters like Judd start to feel like people you care about.
⁂ The adults need the kids NOT because they’re bad at their jobs or inept or anything, but because the serial killers are so damned clever.
⁂ The serial killers feel like real people, too. The motive is never “they’re evil”. And the whodunnit aspect is always pretty punchy- I’ve had guesses near the mark but I have yet to be right about who the killer is, before the few chapters leading up to the reveal/the moment of reveal.
⁂ Sloane has been the least developed character in the first two books, but she’s front and center here, which is nice. I like my ensemble casts to get equal screen time.
⁂ Each of The Naturals is dealing with some heavy emotional stuff, between the last book and this one. It makes them compelling, and it also adds layers to the story. This one also has multiple layers of the main mystery, too.
⁂ The ending is a bit of a cliffhanger. And by bit, I mean I ordered the next book within 3 minutes of finishing this one.
In short, I loved it. I devoured it. I can’t wait to keep reading the rest of the series. And if you like shows like Criminal Minds, I highly recommend this series.
And in the author’s notes, Barnes mentions that she wrote this while she was planning her wedding. Guys, I can’t even imagine. I could barely function as an adult-type person during that stress. To do that while writing and editing a novel?! My hat is off to the author.