There’s darkness in the heart of Tranquility.
Society has developed reliable tests to detect psychopathy in individuals. Those with the disorder are re-classified as victims rather than monsters.
The question remains though, how does a liberal society deal with the inherently violent impulses of human predators who live among us.
In response a government think tank is launching an experiment, Tranquility; an island where psychopaths will be isolated and left to form their own community.
Zane King, an investigative journalist, has been given a tip-off by a high-level government source that something big is happening on a remote island. After a heart-stopping journey Zane manages to infiltrate Tranquility by persuading the citizens that he’s a psychopath just like them.
It doesn’t take Zane long to realise that something has gone very wrong with the experiment but by the time he fully understands what the island is really all about the community is already imploding in a wave of monstrous violence.
‘It’s fine now, you know. It’s officially a disability – the overwhelming desire to kill.’ He taps his head. ‘They say it’s all in the brain. We’re born like it. Not our fault. That’s the beauty of the new tests. No executions for us. We’re made differently. We just get put away and pitied. Scientists, huh? What will they come up with next? Me, I think it’s evolution. It’s the way mankind has to go. There’s so damn many of us on this planet. Nature’s made a couple of tweaks and come up with us. We’ve got a job to do. It’s like a calling.’
Yup, someone’s a bit crazy in the coconut! But goodness me, what a fabulous thriller this was, this one was right up my street!
If you checked out my post on stacking the shelves for #Fahrenbruary, you will have seen that one of the reasons I chose this book was the Shutter Island vibe emanating from the blurb. That same vibe runs through the entire book, in the sense that you feel unsettled and just a tiny bit on edge when you’re reading it, because you never really know what’s going on, you trust NO ONE and you’re suspicious of EVERYTHING (as well you should be). For those of you who have read Blake Crouch’s Wayward Pines trilogy: it has a similar vibe as that one as well. Zane King may think he knows what he signed up for (as opposed to Ethan, the protagonist from Wayward Pines), but he doesn’t fully realise what he’s getting himself into, although it doesn’t take very long for him to realise THAT particular fact.
In terms of violence and explicit scenes, I must say, it’s really not all that bad! (Or perhaps I’m getting so jaded and desensitised that it doesn’t even fully register anymore… Hmmm… Something to ponder…) In any case, I feel that there is no gratuitous bloodshed. The blood that’s spilled is spilled for a reason, and I loved every drop!
If I really wanted to nit-pick, I could tell you that a little more world-building wouldn’t have hurt. Very little background info was given and I would have liked a little more elaboration on the tests and how the powers-that-be came up with Tranquility. Then again, finding out one little titbit at a time throughout the novel does add to the general mysteriousness of it all, so I’m really not complaining. The premise did make me think: what if being sent to a remote island because you tested positive on a psychopathy test was a real possibility? Does having a certain gene necessarily entail that you will act upon it? A fascinating line of thinking, and one I hope will be explored further in the second book in the Tranquility series, which I’m dying to read right about now!
Checking Goodreads, I found surprisingly few reviews of Killer Instincts and I feel this little gem deserves A LOT MORE LOVE! So if you like books like Shutter Island or Wayward Pines, or if you’re looking for a solid thriller, give this one a chance!
Get Killer Instincts directly from Fahrenheit Press here.