The Naturals was one of my most highly anticipated reads of this season; I loved Barnes’ werewolf series and I am a massive fan of Criminal Minds which it had been compared to. Therefore I think I may have been naturally predisposed to enjoy this book as much as I did, especially as it combined my love of YA and crime shows/novels.
The Naturals tells the story of Cassie, a teenager with an extraordinary gift for being able to read people. When she’s recruited to The Naturals, a group of highly skilled teenagers being trained up for the FBI and trying to crack cold cases, Cassie finds herself trying to find out more about her mother’s own murder at the same time. As Cassie collides with a current investigation, Cassie herself finds out she could be in danger.
The Naturals team was built up well by Barnes and every character had something different about them. There was a love triangle of sorts, which can be so hard to do right, however I didn’t mind it too much. I loved the character of Dean in particular; troubled, broody and with a disturbing gift of insight into a criminal’s mind – something I think Barnes’ evoked well.
The overall mystery to the book was well done and the inclusion of the serial killer’s POV worked well in enhancing the threat and malice within the book. The scenes involving the killer were chilling and I was trying to guess throughout the book who the murderer might be. There was one scene in particular that I found really chilling, which I won’t spoil, but (and possible spoiler ahead) may explain the American cover.
Filled with action, psychology, a mystery and a dash of romance, The Naturals has a lot to offer and I think fans of crime shows, like Bones or in particular Criminal Minds, and YA will love this combination. There’s a real series potential in this book and I hope to see more Naturals books soon. It’s easy to read and there is a real TV vibe to it that I think makes it very easy to picture as you read. I read the whole book in one sitting and the final third is incredibly tense and full of action.
I received a free proof copy from Quercus for reviewing purposes. As always how I receive a book does not affect the tone or content of my review. The Originals is available to buy now. Also the lovely folk at Quercus are offering two copies for me to giveaway to UK readers of this blog.