Phantom Instinct by Meg Gardiner

July 21st, 2014 Kimberly Review 64 Comments

21st Jul
Phantom Instinct by Meg Gardiner
Phantom Instinct
by Meg Gardiner
Genres: Mystery, Suspense Thriller
Source: Publisher
Purchase*: Amazon *affiliate
Rating: One StarOne StarOne StarOne StarHalf a Star

In Edgar Award winning author Meg Gardiner’s new stand-alone thriller, an injured cop and an ex-thief hunt down a killer nobody else believes exists. When shots ring out in a crowded L.A. club, bartender Harper Flynn watches helplessly as her boyfriend, Drew, is gunned down in the cross fire. Then somebody throws a Molotov cocktail, and the club is quickly engulfed in flames. L.A. Sheriff Deputy Aiden Garrison sees a gunman in a hoodie and gas mask taking aim at Harper, but before he can help her a wall collapses, bringing the building down and badly injuring him. A year later, Harper is trying to rebuild her life. She has quit her job and gone back to college. Meanwhile, the investigation into the shoot-out has been closed. The two gunmen were killed when the building collapsed. Certain that a third gunman escaped and is targeting the survivors, Harper enlists the help of Aiden Garrison, the only person willing to listen. But the traumatic brain injury he suffered has cut his career short and left him with Fregoli syndrome, a rare type of face blindness that causes the delusion that random people are actually a single person changing disguises. As Harper and Aiden delve into the case, Harper realizes that her presence during the attack was no coincidence—and that her only ally is unstable, mistrustful of her, and seeing the same enemy everywhere he looks.

There is nothing like a good thriller to get your heart racing as the world slips away, and you become completely absorbed in the characters and their fates. Phantom Instinct by Meg Gardiner was one heck of a heart-stopping thriller with fleshed out characters and a climatic ending that had me holding my breath.

Five reasons to grab an iced coffee and curl up with Phantom Instinct:

1. Phantom Instinct is a heart-stopping mystery with twists and turns that will keep you flipping the pages until the wee hours of the night. Harper Flynn is a college student working as a bartender when all hell breaks loose as gunman take out patrons and her boyfriend becomes caught in the crossfire. Then the unthinkable happens and a Molotov cocktail is thrown into the crowd. L.A. Sheriff, Aiden Garrison sees a gunman taking aim at Harper, as a collapsing wall badly injures him. The tale moves forward a year and the police consider the case closed believing both shooters died in the fire. Harper knows there was a third shooter and he is still out there. The tale that unfolds reveals secrets and deadly games.

2. Harper is a fearless heroine with a multitude of badass skills. She is a curiosity from her skills to her tenacious need to seek the truth, and protect. Her kick-ass, take no prisoners’ attitude made her character one I easily connected with. Gardnier did a wonderful job of relaying Harper’s back-story and endearing her to the reader.

3. Our hero Aiden Garrison has suffered a traumatic brain injury from the night of the fire. He too believes there was a third shooter but spent months in the hospital recovering and sadly, not even his partner thinks the third shooter is real. His career was cut short when he was diagnosed with Fregoli syndrome. A rare disorder that makes him suspect total strangers are actually someone else in disguise. Aiden is strong, proud, and determined.  I enjoyed interactions with him. While Harper gets most of the spotlight Aiden is a powerful presence.

4. Gardiner created strong, exciting and colorful secondary characters from Aiden’s partner to the perps behind the shooting. While they were not as developed as Aiden and Flynn, Gardiner brought them to life and gave them each a distinct voice. She tied characters, places and events together seamlessly weaving in all of the players.

5. Action, suspense,  and goose bumps are all wrapped into Phantom Instinct. The main plot is unraveling and stopping the third shooter and the diabolical plan that is in play, but we get a slow-building sweet romance that enhances the reader’s enjoyment. The ending was intense with nail-biting action that had me trying to catch my breath. Gardiner made it feel very realistic and did not squelch on the details.

Phantom Instinct is a standalone and had all of the elements I crave in a good thriller. An engaging plot that kept me up reading just one more chapter.

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About Kimberly
Kimberly is a coffee loving book addict who reads and listens to fictional stories in all genres. Whovian, Ravenclaw, Howler and proud Nonna. She owns and manages Caffeinated PR. The coffee is always on and she is ready to chat. Twitter | Facebook | Instagram

64 Responses to “Phantom Instinct by Meg Gardiner”

    • kimbacaffeinate

      I was impressed and couldn’t stop reading Lorna!

  1. Trish

    I love twisty, turney thrillers and that surge of excitement tinged with fear that they give me. I think I’d enjoy this one.

    • kimbacaffeinate

      this was my first spin with the author and gads it was really good Trish!

  2. Michelle

    Sounds like an intense book! I’m happy that this is a standalone! Poor Harper… to witness something like this…

    • kimbacaffeinate

      Agreed, and yes it was great to read standalone for a change 🙂

  3. Lark

    Fregoli syndrome sounds fascinating, and I’ve never come across it before. What a great choice on Ms. Gardiner’s part — I can just imagine the twists and complications it adds to the book.

  4. Stephanie

    What an awesome cover! The book sounds amazing. I love that it is a book full of suspense that the reader can get lost in. 😉 Excellent review!

    • kimbacaffeinate

      thanks Stephanie, I really enjoyed this from beginning to end.

  5. Angela Adams

    Wow! Great review for a great author. Meg Gardiner is one of the best when it comes to suspense!! Thanks for the post!!!

    • kimbacaffeinate

      Good to know Angela, this was my first spin with her and I loved it.

    • kimbacaffeinate

      That was an interesting twist and explained fairly well, of course I had to research more:)

  6. Katherine

    This sounds fun! I’ve been watching Perception on TNT (have you seen that one? This kind of reminds me of it) so I’m up for rare brain disorders. I’ve been in the mood for a non-paranormal thriller and this sounds like a good one!

    • kimbacaffeinate

      I love Perception Katherine..see we really could be BFFs

  7. Melissa (Books and Things)

    I really like thrillers but don’t always enjoy the characters… especially the women characters. I really like the sound of Harper. Oh I do think I need to check out more of her works! Brilly review!

  8. Mary

    It’s been ages since I’ve read a Meg Gardiner! She writes excellent characters (Harper sounds fab) and tingle-worthy suspense/action.

    • kimbacaffeinate

      It was my first by her and I am glad I popped that cherry!

  9. Tanja

    I haven’t heard of this one, but now after reading your review I’ll make sure to hear plenty. I love the sound of mystery and all those twist and turns are something I’d love to experience. Also Harper sounds like someone I’d add to my fictional best friend list 🙂 Great review, Kim 🙂

  10. Kim { Book Swoon }

    Wow, I tend not to read as many mysteries, but just for the sound of Harper and her fearless attitude and being a heroine with some serious badass skills makes me want to check this out some more. I love those kinds of heroines no matter what genre. Glad you enjoyed Phantom Instinct, Kimba 🙂

    • kimbacaffeinate

      Thanks Kim, I love to mix things up and this was a great ride!

  11. Candace

    Heart stopping mystery/thriller sounds like a win to me! I’ve been in the mood for more mysteries lately!

    • kimbacaffeinate

      I have been craving darker reads myself Candace. I just finished two fun romances and now I am ready to devour some suspense and paranormal woo-woo 🙂

  12. Sophia

    I’ll take a Frozen yogurt. 😉

    Anyhoo… Thrillers are always fun. But currently… I’m in a Horror phase. Too bad it’s not Halloween (darn)

    Ooo, I sees you have The Fire Wish review up. *hops over*

    • kimbacaffeinate

      Hahaha..I am too, but it’s all good because I am scheduling them to post in October 🙂

  13. Siiri

    This sounds something that Nick would love. I’m glad to hear that Harper has bad-a persona and is a great character through and through. Aiden sounds like a very interesting charactr that I’d love to meet. Yay for an overall great cast of characters 🙂 Whooop! I’m glad that there’s a sweet romance to this mysterious story. So glad you enjoyed 🙂

    Siiri @ Little Pieces of Imagination

  14. Braine

    I can and would read this. I am a suspense addict and books like this reads like a movie to me.

    • kimbacaffeinate

      It was quite good Braine, hope you get to read it!

  15. Rita

    I read this last month and loved it! The beginning in the nightclub was so intense I remember holding my kindle in one hand while cooking with the other! I discovered Ms. Gardiner a couple of years ago and read her last 5 books. This one and the one before it, also a stand-alone, were awesome–thanks for spreading the word.

    • kimbacaffeinate

      I remember you enjoyed this and I will certainly read this author again

  16. kindlemom1

    I love a strong heroine and a good mystery, I just know I will love Harper. Why havent’ I seen this one around Kim? It sounds fantastic!

    • kimbacaffeinate

      It was fantastic, I hope you get to try it Ali 🙂

  17. Debbie Haupt

    You are not going believe this but she is still an unread author for me, one I’ve been meaning to read but just never have. I think this is where I’ll start 🙂
    Thanks Kimba

    • kimbacaffeinate

      Psst *whispers* This was my first time reading her books 🙂

  18. Jenea

    This sounds like a great thriller and it is a new one to me. I like it! Great review.

    • kimbacaffeinate

      Thanks Jenea, I was glad I got to read it 🙂

    • kimbacaffeinate

      It was really good, I hope you get a chance to read it 🙂

  19. Bea

    I haven’t read her before but this sounds good. I haven’t read a straight up thriller in a while.

    • kimbacaffeinate

      This was my first experience with this author Bea, but I will certainly be reading more 🙂

  20. Nick

    This sounds like an intense and action-packed story with great characters, the perfect book to read an evening by yourself! I must check it out for sure.
    Great review, Kim!

  21. Franny

    I’m not much into thrillers, but your review makes me want to reconsider, Kimberly!

    • kimbacaffeinate

      I love mixing them into my reads, especially when they are as satisfying as this one.

  22. Teddyree

    heart-stopping and goosebumps … just the type I like. Sounds awesome, it’s going on my wishlist 🙂

  23. Silvia

    This one sounds like a wonderful thriller! You definitely piqued my interest, Kimberly. Thanks for the great review!

  24. Lily

    This one sounds so good and i’m glad you were kept in suspense with this one! I’ll have to give her a try!

    • kimbacaffeinate

      Thanks Lily it had just the right amount of twists and turns.

  25. Lola

    OMG, this does seem exciting! I’m usually not that into those kinds of books because I prefer contemporary romance or fantasy or supernatural but I read some of those from time to time so maybe since you liked it so much (and gave good reasons to read it!!) 🙂

    • kimbacaffeinate

      I really enjoyed this Lola and hope you snag a copy 🙂

  26. Melliane

    you’re right, I love a good thriller like that as well, it’s always a nice surprise. I heard great things about this author, I should try her. good review!