Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Phantom Instinct” as Want to Read:
Phantom Instinct
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Phantom Instinct

3.56  ·  Rating details ·  1,416 ratings  ·  210 reviews
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 flam
Hardcover, 368 pages
Published June 26th 2014 by Dutton (first published June 25th 2014)
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.
This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.56  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,416 ratings  ·  210 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of Phantom Instinct
Aug 15, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Yup, I did it. I gave this book 5 stars. This was my first read by MG. I was blown away by it. She had me hooked by the first chapter. By the last few chapters my head was doing an Exorcist spin. I loved the strength of the h and the determination of the H. I wish she would do a series with these two or at least one more book. Great mystery, suspense, action and a spot of romance. Very unique plot. I look forward to reading more by this author.
Harper Flynn usually enjoyed her late night shift behind the bar, but this particular night there were literally hundreds of people milling about – her boyfriend Drew had just arrived through the back entrance and while talking to him, she suddenly noticed something terribly out of place in the crowded bar. Coming down the stairs were three men, hooded and wearing masks – the scariest sight was the vision of guns in their hands.

With shots ringing out across the room, panic immediately ensued. A
Phantom Instinct by Meg Gardiner is a standalone thriller. I've previously read the first books in Gardiner's Evan Delaney and Jo Beckett series. Both were entertaining. Phantom Instinct starts off with a bang and rarely lets its foot off the gas pedal. It's not perfect by any means and like most thrillers it can be a bit out there and far-fetched, but it entertains and is a page turner.

Harper Flynn is the hero of this story. As a child, she lived with a drunken mother who got her hooked up with
I read and loved UNSUB by this author when I read it earlier this year so I immediately went out in search of her other works. I settled on this one because it's a standalone and I was looking for something that didn't carry a potential series commitment with it. This was a good book but not great, not on the same level as Unsub, in my opinion And that's okay. This is an earlier work by the author and so it's reasonable for it to feel like one. The characters were interesting but some of the rel ...more
A nicely paced and interesting thriller. I had trouble following all that happened in Harper Flynn's past, but the ending and denoument was very satisfying.
May 22, 2014 rated it really liked it
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 takin
May 18, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: thrillers
Phantom Instinct by Meg gardiner is the first book i have read by this author & i enjoyed it it got me in from the first page & kept me turning right to the last the story starts when Harper Flynn works as a bar tender in xenon bar when 3 men walk in one with a molotov cocktail & sets fire to the place harpers boyfriend drew gets dragged out by Harper during all the commotion but dies so Harper enlists the help of former detective aiden Garrison's help but one problem he suffers from fregoli Syn ...more
Oct 17, 2016 rated it did not like it
I did not care for this at all. When I reached the end I thought, that's it? Then I thought, good! It's over and thanks for putting me out of my misery.
1 of 10 stars
Kris - My Novelesque Life

After listening to Gardiner's Unsub series (UNSUB: Book 1 and Into the Black Nowhere: Book 2) I really needed another gritty suspense audiobook. After such an emotional and suspense high I decided to try another Gardiner book and went with this standalone novel. I did not want to commit to another series so it seemed like a good idea. Unfortunately, I found that the plot and characters in this book were very forgettable. I would get distracted easily, and instead of rewinding it I
Jul 14, 2014 rated it really liked it
A shooting and a deliberate fire set at an L.A. Club resulted in the deaths of many, including Harper Flynn's boyfriend, Drew. Harper and Detective Aiden Garrison saw three gunmen, the third one being responsible for shooting Drew and throwing the Molotov cocktail that started the fire. Unfortunately, in the chaos that ensued, nobody else saw the third gunman. The presence of a drug lord at the club, the discovery of the bodies of the two gunmen, and with all the evidence burned in the fire, the ...more
Maureen DeLuca
May 11, 2018 rated it liked it
So many people liked this more than I did- had some trouble following the plot a few times.... then my eyes glazed over words......... oh well....
Jun 22, 2014 rated it really liked it
I love when an author that I have not read for a while comes back and surprises me. From the beginning there was not a dull moment in this book. I have to say that my favorite person in this book was Aiden. This condition brought such dimension to his character and the story. I had never heard of Fregoli syndrome.

A brief explanation of this condition courtesy of Wikipedia: The Fregoli delusion, or the delusion of doubles, is a rare disorder in which a person holds a delusional belief that diffe
Darlene Quinn
Sep 28, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Have made it a habit to read a book by a novel I have not read previously. Meg Gardiner is now on my prefered author lists for page turning suspense and strong characters.
Jul 26, 2018 rated it it was ok
Hmmmm so.....I could not finish this. 94 pages in and I had no interest—too much high tech stuff plus I don’t know if I am having a stroke or what, but I simply could not seem to follow this plot. And I must add that I like this author so it will not stop me from reading more by her but....not this one.
Linda Sherman
Jun 09, 2020 rated it really liked it
Meg Gardiner keeps you on the edge of your seat. I enjoyed this thriller which had a surprise twist at the end. I did not see that coming. I enjoyed seeing her at an author's talk recently. She had just released her third Unsub novel. I will now start the second in that series.
May 30, 2014 rated it liked it
Harper and Aiden are both devastated in different ways by the fire/shooting spree at the Xenon club. Both of them swear there was a third shooter, nobody wants to believe them. Harper is a former juvenile delinquent and Aiden suffered a traumatic brain injury that makes him think he sees the third shooter everywhere and impedes his ability to recognize faces. It really doesn't matter that Aiden was a cop. Anyway...everything that happened that night and the following year seems to be an act of r ...more
Feb 10, 2015 rated it did not like it
Shelves: book-club-reads
Meh. Really meh. Our whole book club agreed that the story line had a lot of potential, but became very convoluted with lots of loose ends and unexplained aspects. I personally didn't like the style of writing either. I felt that it was like reading a screenplay for a big budget action/adventure film, with lots of cuts from here to there and overly detailed information about outrageous and unbelievable situations and heroics. So, again I say, meh.
Aug 07, 2014 rated it it was ok
I had to struggle to finish this. So boring. Too bad, as I have liked her other books.
Karen San Diego
I have added China Lake and The Dirty Secrets Club to my shelf some months ago but I never got around to it, mostly because of lack of interest. That said, I have never read Meg Gardiner before. I see she’s being highly promoted by the King himself, saying she’s the ‘next suspense superstar

“If you read Sue Grafton, Lee Child, Janet Evanovich, Michael Connelly, or Nelson DeMille, you’re going to think Meg Gardiner is a gift from heaven.”
- Stephen King

Gardiner is also an Edgar Award winner, so th
Laura (crofteereader)
This one was a wild ride. Impossible to believe, but if you turn off your reality meter, it's definitely fun and more than a little crazy.

Harper is hard to nail down - and not just because that's a necessity with the life she's had. She has so much really random knowledge and life experience for someone who is pretty young. I won't get too far into this because that would verge on spoilers, but the surprises just keep on coming with her.

Aiden doesn't feel like a real person. I think part of that
Jul 05, 2018 rated it really liked it
~ 3.5 Stars ~
Nov 01, 2019 rated it liked it
A good, fast-paced thriller. I tried the audio version first but just didn’t care for the narrator. Having read other novels by Gardiner, though, I knew it probably wasn't the novel that was giving me difficulty so I switched to the print book and was able to enjoy the ride.
Amanda Kimball
Jun 17, 2014 rated it really liked it
I won this as a First Reads giveaway, and it was just delivered, today. I will be reading it over the next few days, and posting a review. Thank you to GoodReads and the publisher :-)

I really enjoyed Harper's story and all of the twists and turns that came with it. I did feel for the characters and draw a connections with some of them. The writing was fast-paced and lively, and really kept me engaged. I read the book almost in one sitting.

What I really liked about the book was that it was filled
Robert Grant
Jul 08, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery, thriller, crime
Another pulse pounder from this excellent writer. Really enjoy her style of writing and her plots move at blistering pace. Good stuff!!
Jonelle Patrick
Jul 01, 2014 rated it really liked it
Meg Gardiner isn’t just one of the best thriller writers out there, she’s one of the best writers, period. Phantom Instinct actually made me sorry that my plane from San Francisco was already landing in New York.

In her latest page-turner, a young woman who watched her lover’s life slip through her fingers in a rave club massacre teams up with the only other person who believes one of the gunmen got away – a cop whose career ended in that same firefight. A year after the tragedy, both of them are
Pedal to the metal action....Cyber-octane suspense....Unique characters....Imaginative plot with hairpin twists and turns.

Yesterday may be gone, but for Harper, it's far from over. Revenge has come calling, with a Molotov Cocktail in hand. The sins of her youth have resurrected to play a deadly game of cat and mouse. Should she keep her friends close and her enemies closer? But how can she tell them apart, when they all look the same - especially in the eyes of the one she trusts?

Not a perfect
Feb 15, 2019 rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Tricia Douglas
Feb 01, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: mystery-suspense
A quick thriller by an author I had almost forgotten about. The story takes place in Los Angeles where a shooting and fire destroy a night club. Harper, the bartender at the time, knows she saw three gunmen, but no one believes her. A year later she begins the real search after discovering a clue and realizes that she actually knows the third gunmen. If you like easy-reading suspense, Gardiner has a book for you.
Mar 20, 2017 rated it it was ok
I swear the last 20-25 pages of this book were the longest pages of MY LIFE...this is that book where you have to know how it ends but while reading you're screaming 'JUST END ALREADY'!

2 stars for suspense but this book went fast then took forever to end. There is a slight twist to it and the way it ends tells me that there must be a follow up book maybe, but il probably skip it ...
Mary Keen
Jun 10, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: audio-overdrive
Seemed interesting at first, then too many twists, some completely unlikely.

i couldn't listen for a couple of days, then when i got back to it realized i didn't care about the characters or even like them and deleted it.

I got to part 7 of 11 --chapter 34.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Saucy Wenches Boo...: Phantom Instinct [August 2018] 16 14 Aug 28, 2018 06:58PM  
The narrator can make or break the book 1 6 Sep 12, 2015 03:35AM  

Readers also enjoyed

  • The Evil Men Do (Detective P. T. Marsh, #2)
  • When You See Me (Detective D.D. Warren, #11; Gardner Universe, #20)
  • Sleight of Hand (Dana Cutler, #4)
  • Masked Prey (Lucas Davenport #30)
  • City of Windows (Lucas Page, #1)
  • Now That She's Gone (Waterman and Stark, #2)
  • Mercy
  • The Warsaw Protocol (Cotton Malone, #15)
  • The Third to Die
  • Near Dark (Scot Harvath #19)
  • One Right Thing (Marty Singer #3)
  • Just Watch Me (Riley Wolfe #1)
  • Naked Came the Florida Man (Serge A. Storms #23)
  • White Colander Crime (Vintage Kitchen Mystery, #5)
  • Salt River (Doc Ford Mystery #26)
  • Airtight
  • Nothing More Dangerous
  • Butchers Hill (Tess Monaghan #3)
See similar books…
Meg Gardiner is the author of fifteen thrillers. Her latest is The Dark Corners of the Night, the third novel in the UNSUB series featuring FBI profiler Caitlin Hendrix. Stephen King says, "Don't miss it. This is a great one." It's been bought by Amazon Studios for development as a television series. The first novel in the series, UNSUB, won the 2018 Barry Award for Best Thriller.

Meg was born in

Related Articles

There's something great about a paperback book: They're perfect book club choices, you can throw them in your bag and go, and they've been out in...
49 likes · 11 comments
“The thing was, Zero liked breaking things. He saw no reason why the world should be allowed to stay hole.” 1 likes
“She didn't want to wait. Didn't want caution, or care, or tender exploration. She needed touch, sensation, raw blank sex to overwhelm her circuits. She held on to him, and they were all arms and elbows and grasping hands...She didn't want to talk-to talk would be to break the spell, the new thing that was happening, herself coming back into the world, with another damaged person as her guide.” 0 likes
More quotes…