Jennifer Lynn Barnes is a brilliant human being. Getting ready for the release of the final novel in the Naturals series, ‘Bad Blood’, I finally got around to reading the third novel in the series, ‘All In‘. This novel was just as good as its two predecessors – Barnes dove into the characterisation more to give us a better understanding of them as characters.
Barnes has always been good at characterisation in all of her novels that I’ve read so far – she really gets into their heads and makes them come alive on paper. Most of the characters in the Naturals series are emotionally damaged in some way or other, and she paints this in such a delicate way that you can’t help but identify with them. I love all of the Naturals characters, and Barnes’ plots always give them a chance to shine.
I’ve always wondered how authors go about plotting thriller novels, and this novel in particular made me wonder how Barnes managed to pull her narrative together in such a neat way. It was so cleverly plotted and Barnes’ pacing did the plot justice. She threw plot twist after plot twist at you and kept you hooked to the page – I read most of it in one sitting because the plot was so gripping!
There was blatantly a bigger plot leading up to the next and final novel in the series, which left a lot of unanswered questions that you reeeally wanted to know the answer to! Though this was more towards the end of the novel after the reveal of who the killer is – it felt similar to the recent Bond films leading up to the fight in Spectre.
I really loved this novel, and was glued right up until the last page. Some of the revelations that Barnes gives us in this novel are astounding – Cassie’s mother for one thing – and these were portrayed brilliantly. I liked how all the little plot points knitted together neatly at the end, even ones you hadn’t realised had been clues to the bigger picture. Some of these later revelations did detract from the original plot of the novel, but I think this was the end point for ‘All In’ anyway, to lead up to ‘Bad Blood‘.
I would give it a 4/5, and can’t wait to read the final novel in the series!