Saturday, February 14, 2015

Phantom Instinct by Meg Gardiner ~ 2014

An injured cop and an ex-thief hunt down a killer no one else believes exists

Author: Meg Gardiner
Publisher: Dutton Books
Publication: June 26th, 2014
Pages: 368
ISBN: 9780525954316
Language: English
Jacket Design by Anthony Ramondo
Jacket Photography © Guillermo Rodriguez Carballa / Trevillion Images
Author Photography by Stuart Boreham

5 Stars

Meg Gardiner
From the Edgar Award-Winning (The Shadow Tracer) author Meg Gardiner, Phantom Instinct delivers a stand-alone page-turner putting all cop Thrill Seekers in arresting satisfaction.

Harper Flynn, bad-girl-gone-good has been turning her life around and has pretty much what any young twenty-something lady would want. Job, boyfriend, and a future looking bright.

Then it happened - one night all hell breaks loose in the crowded L.A. club Xenon where she works as a bartender - gun shots ring out and she witnesses her bartender/friend Sanita looking down at her chest, watching the blood ooze out of her. Someone throws a Molotov cocktail - the bar is quickly engulfed in flames.

She sees pandemonium erupt as quickly as the flames and if that's not enough - she watches her boyfriend, Drew Westerman, get gunned down in crossfire.

The gunman took aim at Harper and L.A. Sheriff Deputy Aiden Garrison sees it, but, before he could react a wall collapses seriously injuring him. The floor opens up, swallowing.

A year later, Aiden Garrison is fighting (from the accident) with Fregoli syndrome, a rare type of face blindness that causes the delusion that random people are actually a single person changing disguises. Harper Flynn had quit her job and went back to college. Both of them are convinced they saw three gunman, not two, but a fire destroys the evidence and their eyewitness accounts are dismissed.

Now at a memorial service at Clearview Park for Drew, Harper sees a man's silhouette standing surreptitiously aloof in the tree line. As sure as hell is, it's the same stance she saw that dreadful night. Contrary to the lack of evidence, she knows there were not only two shooters who could not escape their own chaos, but, a third gunman who did. She's positive.

Meg Gardiner has a cop no one in the police department can take his word on and a young lady who has claimed adamantly for over a year there was a third shooter. There's no evidence.

Aiden and Harper team up after a shaky start and soon understand she was purposely tracked down. The chaotic night that killed innocent people - no spoiler here - it was her they were after. 

Phantom Instinct is a fast paced mystery with nonstop cinematic action. I loved the way Meg Gardiner described some events in detail and others she left you to imagine the gruesome scene. You have to turn the pages.

Her description of scenes and events are poignant to the level of actual taste. You know how smells waft from the kitchen and actually touch your taste buds? okay, you got the picture. I caught myself totally immersed at times.

Her characters are authentic and very believable. Maybe they'll even remind you of some folks you already know. My favorite character was Harper Flynn - she had moxie permeating from her pores. A very strong heroine. Gardiner has characters you could love, some you would hope for in the worst way, and there are the ones you will have Zero love for.

Throughout the book I had felt emotions rip in all directions. In alternating third-person points of view, feelings of fear and loathing (and no this was not based in Las Vegas) to dread and suspenseful anxieties to excitement and satisfaction were alive and kicking. As a reader of Thrills & Chills, Meg Gardiner has a style of writing that should not be missed. Especially this ending - Wow, what a great plot-twist!

Here's where you can get your finger's on Phantom Instinct:
  • Amazon  ~  Kindle ~ $10.99  Hardcover ~ $18.97 USD

About the author:

Edgar-winning novelist Meg Gardiner writes thrillers. Fast-paced and full of twists, her books have been called “Hitchcockian” (USA Today) and “nailbiting and moving” (Guardian). They have been bestsellers in the U.S. and internationally and have been translated into more than 20 languages.

Into the Black Nowhere, her current title, is the second novel in the UNSUB series, featuring rookie FBI agent Caitlin Hendrix. Publishers Weekly calls it “excellent.” The Minneapolis Star Tribune calls it “thrilling and un-put-downable.” The first novel in the series, UNSUB, won the 2018 Barry Award for Best Thriller, and is in development as a television series by CBS.

The Evan Delaney novels feature a feisty journalist from Santa Barbara, California. Stephen King calls them “simply put, the finest crime-suspense series I’ve come across in the last twenty years.”
China Lake won the 2009 Edgar Award for Best Paperback Original. Later it was a finalist for NPR’s 100 Best Thrillers Ever.

The Jo Beckett series features a San Francisco forensic psychiatrist. It includes The Liar’s Lullaby, The Memory Collector, and The Dirty Secrets Club, which was chosen one of the Top Ten thrillers of 2008 by Amazon and won the Romantic Times Reviewers’ Choice Award for Best Procedural Novel of the year. 

The Nightmare Thief, featuring both Jo Beckett and Evan Delaney, won the 2012 Audie Award for Thriller/Suspense audiobook of the year.

Meg’s stand alone novel The Shadow Tracer was named one of Kirkus Reviews’ Best Books of 2013. Phantom Instinct was chosen one of “The Best Books of Summer” by O, the Oprah magazine.
Meg was born in Oklahoma City and raised in Santa Barbara, California. She graduated from Stanford University, where she lettered in varsity cross country and earned a B.A. in Economics. She went on to graduate from Stanford Law School.

She practiced law in Los Angeles and taught in the Writing Program at the University of California Santa Barbara. Later she moved with her husband and three young children to London, where she began writing suspense novels.

She hasn’t stopped. Writing thrillers is a job she’s immensely lucky to have.

In addition to her fourteen novels, Meg has published short stories in American and British magazines and the anthology Echoes of Sherlock Holmes. She’s contributed essays to Now, Write! Mysteries, The Mystery Writers of America Cookbook, and the Anthony Award winning Books to Die For.

Beyond writing, Meg is a three-time Jeopardy! champion and a citizen of the Chickasaw Nation. She lives in Austin, Texas.

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