Book Review: Killer Instinct by Robert W. Walker

Killer InstinctKiller Instinct
Instinct #1

Robert W. Walker
Read by Brian Nishii
Instinct INK Books, October 2013
Unabridged Downloaded Audio Book
Also available in trade paperback (2013) and ebook (2009)
Originally published in mass market paperback (1992)

From the author—


A brilliant and determined FBI medical examiner, she was an expert student of the criminal mind who thought she could face anything.

That was before Wisconsin. Before she saw one of his victims…


The FBI agent had a special code name for his unusual method of torture: Tort 9, the draining of the victim’s blood. The newspapers called him the Vampire-Killer. But his own twisted love letters were signed “Teach”… and were addressed to the one woman he wanted most of all: His hunter, his prey, Dr. Jessica Coran.

There are some authors who earn the designation “prolific” quite honestly and Robert W. Walker is one of them for sure. Last time I looked, he had something like 75 books published under the Walker name and various pseudonyms, not to mention a lot of nonfiction and short stories. The man makes me exhausted just thinking about it. Anyway, I first met Rob way back when my bookshop handled sales for the mystery authors (and some others) at the Virginia Festival of the Book. I think it may have been the 2007 festival but, whenever it was, he had a ton of books even then and I found him to be a most engaging person although some would call him curmudgeonly these days 😉

I had already read a couple of his books and my interest grew after meeting him so I dove into quite a few more but the demands of a bookstore and the need to read across a broad spectrum pulled me away and I never got back to Mr. Walker‘s books until I heard that he had developed audio editions. I love audio books inordinately and his news piqued my interest right away. I’d already read Killer Instinct in print years before but, let’s face it, I rarely remember details of a book—can count on my two hands the ones that have really stuck with me—and re-reading presents no problems at all.

Re-reading Killer Instinct was a real pleasure. From the vantage point of so many years, I can see flaws more readily especially since this book came pretty early in the author’s career, but they didn’t detract from the core story too much. I was kind of disgusted, for one thing, by the “petite skirt” at a crime scene; I’ve come to expect that nonsense on TV but would like to think authors know better than that (while reminding myself that this was first published in a very sexist 1992). Also, Jessica does do one or two pretty dumb things that put her perilously close to the TSTL line and I really couldn’t buy into the romantic element. I did think that Jessica is not as interesting as Teach at first and that’s not surprising in itself because the villain is often the more fascinating personality in books as in real life. That said, I do think Jessica is very engaging, capable, strong-minded and (mostly) highly intelligent.

Serial killers tend to be very nasty people and there is no lack of nastiness in this book. In fact, if you’re easily nauseated by gruesome violence, I’d suggest you go read something else. Bloodletting is only the beginning here.

And what does it say about me that I’m not usually nauseated by such things?

Now, as to the audio, I can’t say I thought it was great. This narrator comes across as inexperienced (although he’s not) and he makes quite a few pronunciation errors as well as being overly dramatic at times. However, I became more and more accustomed to his style as the recording moved along and I thought he did the different voices pretty well, well enough that I almost always knew which character was speaking. Mr. Nishii is not the worst I’ve ever listened to by any means and his being the narrator would not put me off trying other books. He’s the kind of narrator that I suspect would grow on me.

So, have I been pulled back into the Robert W. Walker fold? Why, yes, I believe so and I’ll be trying another audio edition sooner rather than later.

Reviewed by Lelia Taylor, October 2015.



4 thoughts on “Book Review: Killer Instinct by Robert W. Walker

  1. I simply have to read this book: for one, my family is from Ukraine and the burial ground of Prince Vladimer, the Impaler. Vampires are part of every culture, and this folklore was first reported in Africa over two thousand years ago around the Congo River. Most people are unaware that the draining and drinking of human blood is not only relatively common, but a blatant reason for murder. Blood letting has been hidden from the public in the news whenever a homicide is reported and broadcasted. The police ( in the STATES) find many bodies drained of blood and without any blood splatter in the crime scene. Consequently, humans ( not bats that fly and transform into people are the real vampires and quite alive and well. This novel sounds amazing.


  2. Interesting background you’ve got there 😉 I’ve always been fascinated with Vlad and the queen who bathed in young girls’ blood so I guess that’s why I like vampire stories so much, the non-sparkly kind, that is.


    • My maternal grandmother and her siblings lived in the Carpathian Mountain region, and on certain days, they would hike to his grave, make the Sign of the Cross , spit and say a few colorful curse words over his final resting place.


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