The Instinct Series

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James Patterson and Howard Roughan have gifted us with yet another fantastic suspenseful thriller. The Instinct series includes; Instinct (previously published as Murder Games in 2017), Killer Instinct, and the upcoming Steal.

This series also brought us the adaptation of Murder Games, two seasons of ‘INSTIИCT’. A police procedural drama television series that premiered on CBS, March 18, 2018.



This series will likely be a tough one to put down. It’s loaded with suspense and surprising twists and turns. It also includes the short fast-paced chapters that we have come to expect from James Patterson. The Instinct series is right up there with the Alex Cross Series in my eyes. The protagonists are extremely amiable and I hope we see a continuation of this series.


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1. Instinct (2018)

The Instinct Series-Instinct

Dr. Dylan Reinhart is a thirty-four-year-old Professor of Psychology who literally wrote the book on criminal behavior. He teaches Abnormal Behavioral Analysis at Yale. Dylan met Tracy McKay fifteen years ago at college. They have been married for four years now and are desperately trying to adopt.

Professor Reinhart was shocked when NYPD Detective, Elizabeth Needham burst into his lecture hall and interrupted with a warning. “I’m pretty sure someone wants to kill you!”

They later met at a local coffee shop and there Elizabeth informed Dylan that Allen Grimes (a writer for the New York Gazette) had received an anonymous package two days earlier.

The King of Clubs

Of course, that didn’t exactly sound like a crime nor did it explain who wanted to kill him. However, Elizabeth also informed Dylan that his book WAS the package and it came with a bookmark, a King of Clubs playing card to be exact. The playing card had a blotch of blood on the back. It was tested and found to be AB positive which is extremely rare. So rare in fact, that only around one percent of the population has it.

Even more, Dylan’s author photo on the back of his book had the eyes cut out and the rest of his face had been cut to shreds. There was also a note on the forehead that read Dead Wrong. Dead had been underlined in red.

Elizabeth also pulled out a photo of a brutal crime scene. Jared Louden, in a pool of his own AB positive blood, stabbed to death six days earlier. There had been no other unsolved murder cases since.

Elizabeth and Dylan team up to solve the case, The case that continues to reveal new victims along with, yes, you guessed it, new playing cards. The serial killer, named ‘The Dealer’ uses playing cards to point to the next victim and for reasons unknown, seems to be highly obsessed with Dr. Reinhart.

The Instinct Series

2. Killer Instinct (2019)

The Instinct Series-Killer Instinct

Dylan remembered that Tracy and their daughter Annabelle were heading to the Disney store in Times Square that day. He was desperately trying to make contact with Tracy after receiving the devastating news.

New York City had been attacked.  It was the worst attack on U.S soil since 9/11. IED’s destroyed buildings, drones dropped bombs over Times Square, and bodies were everywhere. New York was literally, a war zone.

Coincidentally, An Iranian nuclear physicist (Professor Jahan Darvish) was found dead in his Manhattan hotel suite the night before his speech at the nuclear symposium. It seems that this may somehow be connected to the attacks in New York.

Detective Elizabeth Needham is back and once again teaming up with Dr. Dylan Reinhart to bring down the sociopath behind the terrorism and prevent another attack. This time there is no book. They must get help from other officials and use all of their resources to end the terror.

Elizabeth herself becomes a prime target after a selfless act of heroism brings a great deal of attention her way. Additionally, a name on the casualty list threatens Dylan’s secret past which may be in danger of being exposed and put his family in harm’s way.

The terrorists are plotting another attack on an unknown target in New York and this “Sherlock and Watson’ like duo must race against time in order to save New York.


3. Steal (2022)

Imagine everyone’s surprise when Carter von Oehson, a sophomore in Dr. Dylan Reinhart’s Abnormal Psychology class, posts on Instagram that he plans to kill himself. 24 hours later and still no one has seen him.

Release the hounds. A massive search ensues. But when Carter’s sailboat rolls in with the tide without him or anyone else on it, the worst seems to be confirmed. He really did it… Or did he?

The one person convinced he’s still alive is his father, Mathias von Oehson, founder and CEO of the world’s largest hedge fund. But what Mathias knows and how he knows it would ultimately reveal a secret so damaging that it would be as if he were committing suicide himself. There’s no way he can go to the police. But there’s still someone he can turn to.

Dylan now finds himself wrapped up in multi-million-dollar secrets and danger and it’s going to take every bit of his wit, and the brilliant and headstrong NYPD Detective, Elizabeth Needham, to stay ahead of both his enemy… and his employer.


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Happy Reading!

I hope you get the chance to read this series, if you do, please come back to share your thoughts. You may also like the NYPD Red series. Don’t forget to SUBSCRIBE to Alex Cross Addict today!

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  1. daniel

    I like the layout of your website. I’ve watched Instinct and I think it’s a great show. Thanks for this wonderful review of murder thriller stories. I anxiously await your next thriller article. Great work here.

  • Tracy

    Thank you Daniel! I’m glad that you liked the show, ‘Instinct’ and I hope that you give the books a try as well. I believe they are usually better than their adaptaions. Have a wonderful Day!

  • Paul

    Hi Tracy,

    Nice article I really enjoyed the content and in the manner that you presented. Your article certainly created the urge and interest in me to read this series.

    After reading your article, The Instinct Series is on my list. I am a fan of thriller suspense and really love to read these types of books. Having Kindle subscription the price is very very less and Thank you for this recommendation.

    Always there will be positive and negative reviews for everything. When I checked the reviews and ratings for Instinct series a lot of great and positive reviews.

    • Tracy

      Hi Paul, Thank you I’m glad that you enjoyed the article. The reviews for the Instinct series are very good indeed. You are right about the Kindle subscription, books are so much cheaper and you can have all of your favorites in one place. Let me know your thoughts on the series. Happy Reading!

  • Ron

    The Instinct series sounds interesting and I’ll have to check it out. One of my favorite TV Series is Bones, I think the way the characters play off each other is very important to the story line. I believe developing good characters is Key to Good writing. I mean who doesn’t know The Name “Gibbs” for example?  Thanks for the insight.

    Regards, Ron

    • Tracy

      Hey Ron, thank you for reading my post. It’s nice to read a book with likeable and memorable characters. I have not watched bones yet, but I probably will now. I hope that you enjoy the series. Happy Reading!

  • Jannette

    One of my favorite authors is James Patterson, I  have not read any or watched TV series due to college studies. Now that I am done with studies will catch up on reading James Patterson’s books you mentioned and look up the TV series Instinct on Netflex or on Amazon to watch. Any other James Patterson books you recommend besides the ones mention in this post? I am a fast paced reader and usually read two books a week if its very interesting. 

    • Tracy

      Hi Janette! Thanks for visiting! I do love my fellow J.P. fans and I’m glad to hear that you’re ready to get back to reading. You can find Instinct on Amazon Prime Video. As for other recommendations, there are so many to choose from, depending on what you like. Check out my other posts and I am sure that you will find many that you will be interested in. My first choice is the Alex Cross series, start with Along Came A Spider. Come on back and tell me about what you have read, I can’t wait to hear what you think. Happy Reading!

  • Donny

    Hello Tracy thanks for this interesting review of this book. I love novels about detectives and crimes and love and families. A friend of mine encouraged me to read this novel , says it is a hit and will keep me awake all night. From what I have read here it looks really good and I can’t wait to read it as soon as I get finished with my exams, this is the only thing that is keeping me from reading the instinct series books. Thanks a lot

    • Tracy

      Thank you for visiting Donny! I can’t wait for you to read the Instinct series, but yes, study hard and get those exams finished first : ) This series seems to be a hit for many people, I hope it is for you as well. Happy Reading!

  • Travis

    I am a huge James Patterson fan! I cannot wait to get started on this new series. Do you know if they plan on making this a trilogy or make it into a longer series. Or is it done after these two books? I don’t know about you, I hate finding a new series then having to wait for each subsequent book to come out while the author finishes writing it. Thank you for the help! 

    • Tracy

      Hi Travis! James Patterson is pretty great, huh? I’m excited for you to start this series as well : ) I have not heard yet if there will be more, but I have a feeling that it will. I can see it going on for awhile like the Alex Cross series. I don’t like having to wait for the next book in a series either, but it does make it that much more exciting to read! For anything written by J.P., I will wait, lol. Happy Reading!

  • Randy

    I love suspense thrillers, especially when there’s a series with a continuing main character like Jack Ryan, or in this case, Dylan Reinhart.

    Your previews had me in suspense. I will definitely start with the 1st one. Are there plans for movies?

    • Tracy

      Let me know what you think of the Instinct series : ) I have not heard about any movies just yet but, that would be great! Thanks for visiting, Happy Reading!

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