Author: Jennifer Lynn Barnes
Series: The Naturals, #1
Cassie Hobbes has an uncanny ability to read people, a natural profiler who analyzes a subject’s innermost motivations. Approached with a mysterious offer by the FBI to join a team of Naturals, skillful individuals trained in the art of dissecting UNSUBs in murder investigations, Cassie must consider leaving her family behind to pursue the opportunity to exercise her natural ability.
I thoroughly enjoyed The Naturals. It was a refreshing change from the books I’ve been reading lately. After the last book I read, I was in dire need of something different and wonderful–Jennifer Lynn Barnes’ The Naturals fulfilled both these needs.
“You need to see them, I told the killer silently…Every time you kill, you need more. You need to be better. She needs to be better. Killing women on the street wasn’t enough anymore. You didn’t want a quickie in a back alley. You wanted a relationship.”
The team Cassie meets is comprised of very different individuals, including herself. Cassie is a damaged girl, haunted by the murder of her mother, who struggles when asked to see through the eyes of a serial killer. Sloane sees the world in a numerically analytical way, but finds it difficult to relate to people on an emotional level. Lia has the ability to spot lies and spends a lot of her time pushing boundaries with her own. Michael is adept at reading emotions, but rarely gives enough of himself away to be read himself. Dean, like Cassie, has a skill for slipping into the mind of others, but is plagued with the fear of becoming what he profiles.
Michael and Dean both provide an interesting dynamic with Cassie. One is relentless in his pursuit and the other can’t get away fast enough. The book hints at a messy past for both guys–pasts that I look forward to delving into. Personally, I found that Dean complimented Cassie more, but I couldn’t completely dismiss Michael as it’s obvious he cares about her a lot. That being said, I couldn’t get past the way Michael treated Dean which pretty much sealed it for me when deciding which one of these characters I liked better.
I do wish that Barnes would have spent a little more time developing the relationship between Cassie and one or both girls. A lot of books are too preoccupied with romance at the expense of friendships, especially female friendships. I also wanted to hear more about Lia, who I think projects a deceptive image of herself based on how she thinks others see her. I liked these five people together and hope to see them develop into of a functioning, unstoppable team which I believe they are more than capable of becoming.