Serial Killer 101

Killer Instinct

Killer Instinct by S.E. Green

Read by Emily Woo Zeller

Summary from Goodreads:

“She s not evil, but she has certain urges.”

Lane is a typical teenager loving family, good grades, afterschool job at the local animal Killer Instincthospital, martial arts enthusiast but her secret obsession is studying serial killers. She understands them, knows what makes them tick. Why? 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.


This book is a bit strange, not your typical YA psychological thriller.  Mostly because of the main character, Lane. I was never sure whether or not I liked her, or could sympathize with her.  I kept switching my opinion of her from Asperger’s syndrome to high functioning socio-path.  Most of the time I was leaning towards socio-path.  I was also a little disturbed by the message that revenge was the answer.  Lane spent most of the book stalking ‘bad’ people and making sure they paid for their crimes.  Her vigilantism gets a little out of hand sometimes, although I agree with her that people who abuse animals, should have the same done to them.

But Lane has a soft side, seen mostly when she interacts with her little brother and with the animals she helps care for at the local vets and with her best friend.   I also admired the way she went about trying to figure out her past, and the decapitators true identity. She is tenacious, smart and determined to get to the truth.

The mystery aspect of the story, who was stalking her and who was the killer, was well done.  It certainly kept me guessing, and I was surprised when the reveal came.  How Lane handled the situation was a bit silly and unbelievable though.  Not sure that could happen in real life, but maybe?  The message at the end of the book is nature vs. nurture and how a traumatic event in our past can impact our personalities and our futures.  All in all it was an interesting but somewhat disturbing listen. Emily Woo, however, did an excellent job with the narration.  She at times conveyed the unemotional Lane very well, but was able to convey some emotion when needed.

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