Review: Killer Instinct by S.E. Green

Title:  Killer Instinct
Author:  S.E. Green
Series:  None
Publisher:  Simon Pulse
Publication Date:  May 6, 2014
Pages:  257
Format/Source:  ARC/From Publisher
Age Group/Genre:  Young Adult/Mystery, Thriller

“A zippy, gripping psychological drama.” ~Kirkus Reviews

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…(Cover and synopsis from Goodreads.)

A Super Quick Read…

I don’t normally finish a book within a day, but I did with Killer Instinct!  It’s a super quick read, and the mystery pulled me in fairly early on.  I love making up different theories as I read a book and I had tons of theories as to who the Decapitator was throughout this book.

But I did have a few issues with the book.  First of all, I am not a fan of slut-shaming.  At all.  If you don’t know what slut-shaming is, it’s basically calling a girl a slut because of her actions.  Yes, this happens a lot, but it really needs to stop, because men can act the exact same way without being criticized. Who cares if a girl sleeps around?  If she’s not harming anyone else, it doesn’t matter.  Yes, she may get an STD or end up pregnant, but that’s her responsibility.  And in Killer Instinct, there are a couple of instances where Lane, the main character, calls her sister a slut, when Lane herself isn’t exactly the Virgin Mary.  Basically what I’m saying is, DON’T JUDGE.  I really don’t like it when characters in books judge others, especially if they don’t correct that behavior by the end of the book.  Okay, I’m off my soap box now.

I also feel like it was really strange that Lane just decided she was going to be a serial killer.  She decided she was going to kill criminals, which is better than killing innocent people, I guess, but she had already decided that she was going to be a serial killer BEFORE she decided she would kill criminals. Yes, the reason behind her serial killer-instinct is revealed at the end, but it’s still weird that she decided she wanted to be a serial killer, especially because she didn’t know about the reason behind that instinct.

And that ending.  It was just–wow.  Definitely a shocking ending.  I can’t go into it of course, because of spoilers, but yeah.  Wow.  But the epilogue was kind of lack-luster to me.  There were things that had happened in the book that made me think Lane would make some kind of choice as to whether she still wanted to be a serial killer, and she didn’t say anything about stopping or continuing in the epilogue.  And I don’t believe that this is going to be a series, so I feel like the ending wasn’t wrapped up enough.

My rating for Killer Instinct, by S.E. Green:

3 stars.  The mystery definitely pulled me in, but a lot of things kept this book from getting a higher rating from me.

Find it:  Goodreads │ Amazon │ Simon & Schuster
Disclaimer:  I received a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. (Thanks, Simon Pulse!) I was not compensated in any other way for this review.


  1. Brandi Kosiner

    May 2, 2014 at 7:23 pm

    The shock ending def has me wondering… As for the slut shaming I def agree that it needs to stop

  2. Natalie Natflixandbooks

    May 3, 2014 at 1:58 am

    I despised this book. The slut-shaming was a huge reason. There was absolutely nothing the sister did that showed how "annoying" she was, and Lane had a fairly healthy view of sex, so why was her sister a slut? The book was also such a huge rip-off of Dexter–I don't know if you are familiar–that I couldn't believe the book got away with it. I agree that the book was very quick, I read it in a day, too, and that the killer took me by surprise, but those aspects weren't enough to make me like this one. Great review!

  3. Kate Midnight Book Girl

    May 4, 2014 at 3:38 am

    I definitely want to read this book, although I'm sure the slut shaming will bug the shiz out of me.

    I briefly considered a career in serial killing. I was young when the whole Ted Bundy miniseries came out (Mark Harmon played Ted) and I watched it with my parents (which might explain why I'm a midnight book kind of lady). My dad made a comment about how only men were serial killers (which of course was wrong) and I, being ever argumentative and contrary, thought I'd prove him wrong by being the first female serial killer. Of course, I also wanted to be the 5th Bangle at the time, so really, what the hell did I know?

  4. Brittany S.

    May 10, 2014 at 2:38 pm

    I agree with mostly everything! I just didn't like the way the book was… put together? It was SUCH a quick read but all those little things just weirded me out. I wasn't really bothered by the slut shaming, I guess, because Lane was so unemotional and clearly had a lack of serious social skills and an idea of what is appropriate and what is not. I'm not saying it's okay to call her a slut, but I'm guessing in Lane's mind, she just didn't really understand one way or the other.
    The ending was… weird? Like, things were mildly believable and then that happened and I was like Ummmm what???
    It was okay, and interesting enough for me to read in one day too, but not the greatest!

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