Today is the release day for my twelfth book (and the first in a new series!), The Naturals. It is, essentially, a book about teenagers using psychology to fight crime. (My PhD is in psychology! Yay, psychology!)
More specifically, the characters in The Naturals are using their insight into the way the mind works to profile and catch serial killers.
What people are saying about The Naturals
"In an intense CSI-type thriller… Barnes shows every card at just the right moment, catching readers off-guard at the final reveal. It’s a stay-up-late-to-finish kind of book, and it doesn’t disappoint." - Publisher’s Weekly
"This savvy thriller grabs readers right away." - Kirkus
"In this high-adrenaline series opener… Even a psychic won’t anticipate all the twists and turns." - Booklist
“The Naturals is Criminal Minds for the YA world, and I loved every page.” -New York Times best-selling author Ally Carter
What is a “natural”?
Each of the five teens in the book is a “Natural,” meaning that they have incredibly honed instincts in a specific area. Each of the teens’ abilities is the kind of thing than can and does exist. There’s nothing supernatural about them—these are abilities that we all have, to a certain extent. The ability to read other people’s emotions, based on their facial expressions and postures. The ability to tell when someone is lying to you, based on what they say and how they say it. The ability to understand other people’s personalities and motivations based on their behavior and what you know about their backgrounds. The ability to turn experiences into probabilities, to know whether something is likely or unlikely—and just how likely or unlikely it is.
Some people are better at each of these things than others—and in the case of the teen characters in this book, you’re dealing with people who are in the top .00000001% of the population. We’re not just talking one in a million—more like one in ten million.
The Naturals explores what happens when you take five teenagers who fit this classification and put them in a single house. A game of Truth or Dare looks very different when there’s a girl in the room who can spot lies (and is also a self-professed pathological liar herself). Trying to figure out how you feel—romantically and otherwise—about someone is that much harder when the aforementioned someone can take one look at you and tell the exact mix of emotions you’re feeling.
Amidst all of this, narrator Cassie and the other Naturals are being taught how to use their abilities to crack cold cases. For Cassie, that means learning to use her understanding of human behavior and motivation to profile the dark and twisted psychology of serial killers. A lot of what Cassie learns comes from the actual science of criminal profiling—so readers can pick up some profiling tips themselves as they read.
And, of course, since this is a thriller, the Naturals aren’t just dealing with cold cases. There’s a killer out there now. And ultimately, no one is safe.
You can read the first 50 pages HERE.