Review: Survival Instinct by Janie Crouch

survival instinctTitle: Survival Instinct

Author: Janie Crouch

Year of publication: 2017

The heroine: TV show creator and writer Chloe Jeffries

The hero: Ex Special Forces soldier/bodyguard Shane Westman

The blurb: The voices in her head have decided to kill her.

Most people joke about hearing voices in their heads. For Chloe Jeffries, they’re real. And as the creative force behind one of the most popular shows on television, she has used the constant flood of voices in her mind to her advantage: fuel for entertainment.

But now one of the voices has decided it wants Chloe all for itself.

Ex-Special Forces soldier Shane Westman just wants to make it back to his ranch in Wyoming to begin to heal from the horrors of war. The last thing he needs, even as a favor for a good friend, is to take on bodyguard duty of a flighty television writer. But once he does, he realizes there are threats at play he doesn’t understand. And the woman who has somehow begun to thaw his frozen heart is in desperate danger from a menace they can’t see, but is always close.

Someone determined to be the last voice Chloe ever hears.

Standalone or series: Book three in the Instinct series, but can be read as a standalone.

The review: This is the final in the trilogy about the Jeffries triplets, all of whom have a gift. Chloe is the creator of one of the biggest TV shows out, Day’s End, a paranormal show filmed in Black Mountain, North Carolina. As an aside, I was excited when I saw where it was set because I’ve been to Black Mountain several times on holiday and I love it there!

So Chloe, like her sisters Adrienne and Paige, has a gift. She can hear other people talking in her head. She has one voice in particular that bothers her; a man she refers to as Conversation Hearts because all he talks about is a woman he’s obsessed with. When he’s loud enough, Chloe screams in pain, blacks out and gets nosebleeds. She also has something else to worry about – someone is stalking the cast and crew of Day’s End and making threats.

Shane Westman is in Black Mountain after the recent death of his beloved grandmother, who raised him. He’s cleaning out the house he’s inherited when he’s asked to take a side job on the set of Day’s End for the private security firm he’s about to head to Wyoming to join. He’s reluctant at first, but eventually agrees to co-ordinate and head the security team until the stalker is caught.

Chloe very reluctantly allows security on set at the studio’s insistence. At first, Chloe tries to fire Shane. She doesn’t want him there because he rubs her the wrong way. She surrounds herself with the other writers on set – Nadine, her best friend since childhood; Travis, who’s been on the show for years and has recently started dating Nadine; and Justin, a temperamental, unreliable person who’s also a fabulous writer. She doesn’t want anyone else around her constantly, but Shane takes his job seriously and finds himself attracted to Chloe.

The attraction is mutual, even though Chloe doesn’t want it to be. It’s only because she’s fighting with Shane in the early hours of one morning that she avoids being killed when an explosion takes place on set, and combined with a few other near misses with the crew, Chloe realises they have to find this stalker, no matter what it takes.

The lead actress on the show is Alexandra Adams, and she’s all over Shane like a rash, which annoys Chloe to no end. When the threats become specific and Alexandra is targeted, Chloe has no choice but to give in to Alexandra’s demand that Shane personally guard her body.

Chloe doesn’t want to fall in love with Shane because she knows he’s heading to Wyoming once the stalker is caught. Shane doesn’t want to fall in love with Chloe because he doesn’t think she wants him to stay. Chloe realises that the voices become quiet when Shane is near her and she takes solace in that. She doesn’t want him to go.

All is revealed in the end. I was correct about the identity of the stalker, although I was surprised by the twist revealed when he was discovered. I was also correct about the identity of Conversation Hearts and the woman he was obsessed with (I so rarely get these things right when reading!), but there were quite a few possible suspects that it was hard to know for sure if you were on the right track. Another great book from Janie! This series is definitely worth reading.

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