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The Naturals

Review

The Naturals

Seventeen-year-old Cassie can’t explain it. She’s just always been able to figure out what people want and what they’re thinking based on their facial expressions, mannerisms, what they say and don’t say and so forth. This special skill hasn’t helped her much in life --- except when she can sniff out who will give her a good tip at work --- so she’s shocked and perplexed when the FBI drop in unexpectedly and ask if she would be interested in putting her skills to work. Cassie soon learns that she’s being recruited for a program called The Naturals, a program that develops natural aptitudes in teenagers and puts them to work solving hard-to-crack cold cases.

For one thing, Cassie wasn’t prepared to be thrown into a house with other teenage Naturals. She meets Michael, who is able to read emotions and can use them for good or for harm. There’s Lia, who Cassie is immediately drawn to until she learns that she is a pathological liar who also knows when another person is lying. Sloane is amazing with facts and numbers, but isn’t allowed to have coffee since she won’t shut up. And then there’s Dean, who Cassie learns is a profiler like her, which makes it incredibly difficult to hide anything from him. Unlike the rest of the Naturals, Dean isn’t interested in getting to know Cassie at all, and Cassie has no idea why.

If you’ve ever been sucked into those TV crime dramas that feature serial killers and the small but devoted group of cops doing everything in their power to stop them, then you won’t want to miss THE NATURALS. 

Since they are teenagers and not allowed to go out into the field, all of the Naturals are regulated to working on cold cases that have never been solved. Most of the Naturals find it boring and monotonous, but for Cassie it’s a chance to solve a case that has been plaguing her for most of her life --- the death of her mother. Her mother died under mysterious circumstances with no witnesses and no explanation, and Cassie would jump at the chance to figure out what exactly happened. Of course, one of the stipulations of joining the Naturals program was that Cassie wouldn’t have access to her mother’s files, but all that changes in an instant when a new serial killer emerges.

Details trickle in from the FBI that the new serial killer is targeting young girls, but more specifically young girls that look like Cassie’s mother. Soon Cassie and the other Naturals are sent out into the field on a real case with real implications. Apparently, the killer is after Cassie and will stop at nothing until she’s dead. Cassie thought being part of the FBI meant that she would be safe, but if there’s one thing Cassie has learned as a natural profiler, nothing is ever as it seems. 

If you’ve ever been sucked into those TV crime dramas that feature serial killers and the small but devoted group of cops doing everything in their power to stop them, then you won’t want to miss THE NATURALS. Perhaps the best thing about THE NATURALS is that you get a strong idea of what goes through profilers’ minds as they weigh evidence, investigate crime scenes and try to piece together the mind and motives of a serial killer. I couldn’t get enough, and I hope that this is just the beginning to Cassie’s adventures as a Natural.

Reviewed by Benjamin Boche on December 17, 2013

The Naturals
by Jennifer Lynn Barnes