The Quick Review:
Killer instinct is an excellent murder-mystery, and the first in what should be a very strong series. This is my first murder-mystery, and I believe anyone not common with the genre would do well to start here. I felt like I was reading a good ‘cop show.’ I pictured the main character to be very much like Kate Beckett from Castle, but in more of CSI type of story. I could see the entire series potentially coming back to events in this story, this story sets the pace for the Instinct series to go very far and get more thrilling throughout the series
The Longer Review:
Robert Walker writes a very realistic, full depth character in Dr. Jessica Coran. The murder scenes in Killer Instinct leave little to the imagination and really give you a shocking picture in your head. The story seemed uncharacteristic for a first in a series. The murder takes on a very supernatural persona and is not the typical serial killer. Turn of events for both Dr. Coran and Detective Otto Boutine take surprising turns at the end of the novel. This story line would be one I expect later in a series, but Walker digs deep and puts his characters to the test in the very first novel.
The story has a lot of focus on the politics of the fictional FBI. Dr. Coran being a strong woman in a man’s world makes for a good, realistic character. At times I though too many of the male characters felt crotchety, yet even these characters opinions change as the story goes.
I have 2 big critiques. First, most of the story seemed in the realm of possibility, even if a real expert would deem the actions inaccurate to what actually happens. However, Dr. Coran going to a house completely alone…in a taxi… just didn’t work for me. It set up a very dark and exciting ending that I enjoyed very much. I just didn’t like how the story led up to it when Dr. Coran went at it alone.
Second critique is the relationship between Dr. Coran and Otto just didn’t connect for me. I am perfectly fine with a relationship with a big age gap; I just couldn’t understand why Jessica Coran found Otto so appealing. It felt like her emotions really played the pity card, like she fell for a wounded puppy. She is young and a stunner and Otto is near retirement and nothing special in the looks department, so physical attraction is not a factor for Jessica. She didn’t really seem to fall for him because of his status or out of respect. She seemed to care for him based on proximity to each other and because she felt bad for him in his current relationship status. The relationship could have been left at a close friendship with no detriment to the story. A relationship with JT would have struck me as more believable and interesting.
(Taken from Goodreads) Dr. Jessica Coran, a brilliant and determined FBI medical examiner, was an expert student of the criminal mind who thought she could face anything. That was before Wisconsin. Before she saw one of his victims… The FBI had a special code name for his unusual method of torture: Tort 9, the draining of the victim’s blood. The newspapers called him the Vampire-Killer. But his own twisted love letters were signed ‘Teach’…and were addressed to the one woman he wanted most of all: His hunter, his prey, Dr. Jessica Coran
Walker creates excellent, graphic visuals. At times I cringed because I can stand to see some of the crime scene visuals; and I did feel like I could see them.
He creates perspective from both the FBI and killer POV’s, which makes for better understanding of the ‘why’ behind the ‘who’ of the story. Most of the story is set from the POV of Dr. Coran, and much of the story progress as if we are in her head and can hear what she is thinking
Walker’s main cast has very deep backgrounds and depth. Dr. Jessica Coran’s and Otto Boutine’s characters are very in depth right from the beginning, while their progression really layers them as the story progresses. Dr. Coran is going to make for a great main series character moving forward. I can see her being taken in a variety of different directions and am interested to see how her story unfolds.
Walker brought a level of understanding to his murderer. Not enough to sympathize with him, but enough to understand him and really help round out the story. This particular killer has the potential to come back over and over, opening many avenues for the series.
I really enjoyed this book. It is not what I normally read, yet kept me entertained. I think first time murder-mystery readers will really get hooked to the series and potentially the genre after reading Killer Instant.