Killer Instinct (Instinct #2), by James Patterson and Howard Roughan

Eight stars

In another thrilling collaborative effort, James Patterson and Howard Roughan bring another thriller full of geo-politicking and some criminal elements to readers who have been hungering for another stellar novel. Dr. Dylan Reinhart is still living off the glory of uncovering a serial killer when a new situation makes his blood run cold. There has been another terrifying attack on New York City (shocking, no?!) and the casualty count is quite large. One name in particular causes Reinhart to squirm, but not simply because of the loss of life. Reunited with his old partner, Detective Elizabeth Needham, Reinhart begins to sift through the rubble—both literal and figurative—in order to find out who might be behind the attack. There are whispers that an apparent auto-erotic event that left an Ivy League professor dead could be tied into all this, though the parallels are weak. However, any time ‘Iran’ and ‘nuclear’ can be put into the same sentence, there is at least some red flag being raised. With Reinhart and Needham working every angle, they soon learn that the strike could be more than a simple act of terror, but an international play to move policy in a certain direction. However, it would seem the blast was only the beginning, with more attacks planned at unknown locations. As time ticks away, Reinhart and Needham will have to use all the resources at their disposal to get answers, but there’s a wrinkle or two they could not have expected, which sends the entire case in new and troubling directions. Patterson and Roughan do well to develop a strong story and keep the reader engrossed until the final page-turn. Recommended for those who enjoy some light thriller reading, especially the reader who enjoys Patterson when he’s on his game.

While it is sometimes a risk when James Patterson’s name appears on a book jacket, this novel is a strong collaborative effort. Everything seems to come together nicely and the end result is a book the reader can enjoy, even if they are forced to endure some cheesy jokes along the way. Dylan Reinhart and Elizabeth Needham are strong co-protagonists, working angles independently and together with much ease. Mixing some of their great personal backstories with strong character development allows the reader to feel a connection to them both, while not being left that the case is left on the back burner. The plethora of secondary characters offer wonderful tangents in an already strong piece. Patterson and Roughan serve up interesting interpretations of those working the case and stirring up trouble, including their own spin on geo-politics. The story emerges from these strong characterisations and keeps the reader engaged with the plot. Using Patterson’s short chapters and constant cliffhangers, the reader cannot help but want to forge onwards to get to the core of the story at hand. Well-paced and with just the right amount of sarcasm, this is one of Patterson’s stronger novels of the year. One can hope it is not lost in the shuffle.

Kudos, Messrs. Patterson and Roughan, for a strong collaborative effort. I enjoy how well you work together and look forward for other joint ventures soon.

A Book for All Seasons, a different sort of Book Challenge: