Friday, November 7, 2014

Phantom Instinct - Meg Gardiner

Summary: When shots ring out in a crowded L.A. club, bartender Harper Flynn watches helplessly as her boyfriend, Drew, is gunned down in the cross fire. Then somebody throws a Molotov cocktail, and the club is quickly engulfed in flames. L.A. Sheriff Deputy Aiden Garrison sees a gunman in a hoodie and gas mask taking aim at Harper, but before he can help her a wall collapses, bringing the building down and badly injuring him.

A year later, Harper is trying to rebuild her life. She has quit her job and gone back to college. Meanwhile, the investigation into the shoot-out has been closed. The two gunmen were killed when the building collapsed.

Certain that a third gunman escaped and is targeting the survivors, Harper enlists the help of Aiden Garrison, the only person willing to listen. But the traumatic brain injury he suffered has cut his career short and left him with Fregoli syndrome, a rare type of face blindness that causes the delusion that random people are actually a single person changing disguises.

As Harper and Aiden delve into the case, Harper realizes that her presence during the attack was no coincidence—and that her only ally is unstable, mistrustful of her, and seeing the same enemy everywhere he looks. (Summary and pic from

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

My Review:You know those books that start off with a bang (okay, I’m being funny here because this book literally does start out with a bang) and they suck you right in? This is one of those books. Right away you get this mental image of what is going on—your surroundings, the people, the sounds, the smells, and even if you’ve never been in a place like the one described, you know immediately what it’s like. And that’s cool. Because it isn’t every author that can make you feel that way. Oh, sure, most try (because who likes to be the author that no one can relate to?) but this book actually does bring you right to the spot and whisks you away and never stops.

This book was a really quick read. First off, it’s got a fun plot line, and one that isn’t necessarily static or what you might expect the entire time. Secondly, the characters are pretty realistic. I didn’t find myself loving or hating any of them (except for the obvious bad guys who deserve to be hated anyway, right?) because they were real enough feeling that they could be people that you know, or at least people that you know of. Third, there is some serious action that goes on, as all good books in this genre should have. If you’re not reading and page turning until the last second, the book has missed the boat. Not so with this book. It picks you up, takes you with it, and never lets you go until the end, at which point you’re still feeling a little unnerved because it didn’t resolve quite how you would have liked…the best way, right? Tidy little packages are for chick lit.

Another thing I liked about this book, and this is just because I’m a prude, is that it wasn’t unnecessarily gross or violent. Sure, there was some violence (cause it is a crime novel after all) but it isn’t like my mind will be haunted forever by images I wish I could scrub away with my trust Magic Eraser. It gave me enough to feel like a crime novel, but didn’t step over the line, which I appreciated. Also, the language wasn’t terrible, which can often be the case in a book like this. There is some language, don’t get me wrong, because toughened cops just talk like that (don’t they? I don’t know any), but it wasn’t overly shocking or overwhelming, which I certainly appreciated as well.

Overall, I would say this is a fun summer read. It’s fast; it’s not a huge commitment in that you’ll be slogging through. It’s interesting and a fun representation of the genre.

My rating: 3.5 stars

For the sensitive reader: This book has the normal violence, language, and sex associated with the genre. It is not excessive for the crime genre nor is it unnecessarily over the top.

1 comment:

MindySue said...

I can unequivocally confirm that toughened cops DO talk like that -- mine calls it 'speaking felon' :)


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