The Third Instinct by Kent Lester #BookReview #Thriller

A high-octane thriller that sets Dan Clifford against ancient secret societies vying for power in the modern world; in the vein of Dan Brown’s Robert Langdon series.

In The Third Instinct, author Kent Lester brings his signature blend of cutting-edge science, history, and pulse-pounding action to the next Dan Clifford adventure.

A shadowy group of bio-hackers called the Firemen threaten to worsen the Covid pandemic by releasing an even more lethal version of the pathogen. But what drives the Firemen and how do their motivations relate to the wealth of the Roman Empire and to the third basic human instinct?

The answers may lie with prediction scientist Dan Clifford. Unemployed and struggling with two years of pandemic isolation, he is rebuilding both his career and personal life. His plans to propose to his adrenaline-junkie girlfriend, Rachel Sullivan, are interrupted by the FBI. Dan must connect a maze of clues from the shadowy underworld of Savannah’s hacker community, to the ancient powerbrokers of Rome and in doing so, uncover a hidden agenda of big Pharma and a two-thousand-year-old battle for control of public opinion.

What’s it about (in a nutshell):

The Third Instinct by Kent Lester is a heart-stopping techno-thriller that pulls together biological and technological warfare into a story that feels eerily relevant.

Actual Reading Experience:

This is the second book in a series, and though I could tell this based on references in the story, it did not impact my enjoyment or understanding of the story at all.  I love when books in a thriller series can act as standalone.  It makes it so much easier for me as a reader.  Do I want to go back and read book 1?  I would love to because if it is anything like The Third Instinct, I will love it!

I loved the NerdVana event and was only disappointed because it’s not real, or at least not that I could find.  I’m such a techno-geek that a convention featuring the latest technology would keep m entertained for days.  I wouldn’t be able to hang with the hackers because I have no idea how to do that, but I would be happy walking around and exploring what each booth offers.

Not only is there lots of cutting-edge technology, there’s also a historical secret society which I found endlessly fascinating, and a biological component that referenced Covid and brought in a more poignant plot thread in the story. I absolutely adored this humanity within the story.  It gave it a depth that other similar types of thrillers never achieve.

Of course, it has a breakneck pace with lots of unexpected twists that floored me every time. I think that probably goes without saying, but I will say it anyway.


Dan Clifford is a solver of puzzles and a fixer of wrongs.  He listens and processes then acts.  But make no mistake – he will act swiftly and definitively.  I liked his character.  He was willing to take the brunt of things to protect others – how can you not like someone like that?

Rachel Sullivan is Dan’s significant other and specializes in all things biological.  I loved her guts and determination.  She didn’t always make the right choices, but I loved that she owned her decisions.

Read if you like:

  • Fast-paced thrillers
  • Mind-blowing twists
  • A blend of history and SciFi (technology and biological aspects)

Overall Rating:⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Writing Quality10
Character Development8
‘Couldn’t Put It Down’-ness10
Use of Setting10
All scores, except the overall rating, are on a scale of 1-10. The overall rating is converted to the standard 5-point system.

8 Replies to “The Third Instinct by Kent Lester #BookReview #Thriller”

  1. It makes it so much easier when thrillers can act as a standalone as well as a series especially when reading ARCs as you haven’t always read the others, great review 😊

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  2. If NerdVana was a real thing, I’d totally wait in line for tickets, lol. This sounds like a book I wouldn’t be able to put down. Adding to my list, Tessa!


  3. I’ve not heard of this book or series, but it sounds like it would be one I enjoy, and 5 stars to boot. I like the sound of Dan Clifford. I will have to see if I can find this one and the previous one in the series. Great review, Tessa.

    Liked by 1 person

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