As a longtime fan of Robert W. Walker’s Instinct series, I was eager to get my hands in his latest Jessica Coran story. It was worth the wait, because Walker’s novel made my skin want to slide from my bones.
The killer in Absolute Instinct exhibits his evil nature at the ripe age of seven when his mother catches him sucking the marrow of her dead cat’s spine. That scene actually made my blood boil, and I said a curse out loud.
Not to become political in a book review, but I immediately thought of research that shows most serial killers start by killing or torturing animals. I nearly stopped reading in order to write my Congressman a letter pleading for stricter animal cruelty laws. However, I was hooked into finishing this book in hopes that Walker’s character, Jessica Coran, would track down this demon child (as the adult he becomes, of course).
In a twist of cruel reality, the child became a man, and that man is obsessed with the human spine. He is tracking his victims and actually removing the spine while the victim is alive. Of course, he doesn’t want to be wasteful, and it seems that he is turning the spines into grotesque artwork.
If you have ever wondered if serial killers are born or created from the environment, Walker offers the idea that they are born. The killer is driven and haunted by not knowing who his father is. His mother tormented with tales of his father being a monster, and he is accused of being just like him until the day she dies.
On her death bed, she gives her son a box that contains all the information that explains who the spine sucker is the spawn of. The killer does not open it for most of the story, but when he does long time readers and newcomers alike will be in for a big surprise.
At the same time that the reader is following the killer through his tribulations, we are with Jessica Coran as she works to figure these bizarre murders. One problem is that they are happening across the country, and one state has already convicted someone for the crime. Coran finds herself in a race to not only catch a killer, but to save an innocent man.
It is a fast-paced, well-written, and extremely creepy mystery suspense novel. The kind of book that I Absolutely love.