Phantom Instinct

Phantom Instinct

  • Hardcover
  • ISBN 9780525954316
  • 368 Pages
  • Dutton
  • Adult


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 flames. L.A. Sheriff Deputy Aiden Garrison sees a gunman in a hoodie and gas mask taking aim at Harper, but before he can help her a wall collapses, bringing the building down and badly injuring him.

A year later, Harper is trying to rebuild her life. She has quit her job and gone back to college. Meanwhile, the investigation into the shoot-out has been closed. The two gunmen were killed when the building collapsed.

Certain that a third gunman escaped and is targeting the survivors, Harper enlists the help of Aiden Garrison, the only person willing to listen. But the traumatic brain injury he suffered has cut his career short and left him with Fregoli syndrome, a rare type of face blindness that causes the delusion that random people are actually a single person changing disguises.

As Harper and Aiden delve into the case, Harper realizes that her presence during the attack was no coincidence—and that her only ally is unstable, mistrustful of her, and seeing the same enemy everywhere he looks.
Phantom Instinct

Phantom Instinct

Meg Gardiner


Phantom Instinct  is simply a fantastic story, told at breakneck speed. Gardiner is one of the best thriller writers around, and this is arguably her best work yet.” – Associated Press 

“An excellent plot, this one will keep readers up all night with non-stop, unforgettable action.” - Suspense Magazine

“The action sequences…are never less than breathtaking.” - Kirkus

“Meg Gardiner’s trademark strengths are working better than ever here–characters as real as your friends, and a plot as real as your nightmares.”
-Lee Child

“Meg Gardiner is one of my favorite authors.  She always delivers a terrific read.  Phantom Instinct should go to the top of your ‘to be read’ pile.”
-Karin Slaughter

“A suspense-building unpredictability that thriller fans will love.” - Booklist

“Page after page of intrigue, horror, suspense, and a bone chilling narrative…If the reader appreciates a well written, dark, psychological tale with multi-layered facets, PHANTOM INSTINCT is the book.” – Reader to Reader

“Edgar Award winner Meg Gardiner has written another gripping thriller.” – I Love a Mystery



In Phantom Instinct, two wounded warriors must work together to catch a killer. A killer who wants them dead, and who will cut down innocent bystanders to get to them.

The problem: nobody else believes he exists.

Harper Flynn survived a shootout at the club where she was a bartender, but couldn’t save her boyfriend. L.A. Sheriff’s detective Aiden Garrison was severely injured trying to stop the attack. A year later, Harper and Aiden are trying to rebuild their lives. But both of them are certain that the shooter who led the attack got away. The cops have closed the case. But Harper and Aiden are convinced that a killer escaped, and that he will kill again.

To catch him, they have to work with each other. But there’s another problem: they don’t trust each other.

Harper has been hiding her past. She’s not just a Navy veteran—she’s an ex-thief. Maybe she isn’t the hero Aiden thought she was. Maybe she has a secret agenda.

Aiden has his own problems. During the attack he sustained a traumatic brain injury. It has resulted in a rare kind of face blindness. Fregoli Syndrome causes the mistaken belief that the person you’re looking at is actually somebody else in disguise. Now, at unpredictable moments, Aiden thinks he sees the shooter coming after him… when it’s actually a friend, or a colleague, or a passerby. The Sheriff’s Department no longer trusts him. Can Harper? After all, Aiden can no longer trust his own eyes.

The more Harper and Aiden learn about the shootout, the more dangerous things get. The more they’re drawn to each other. And the more each of them fears that the other might betray them.

They have to choose whether to trust their hearts and their instincts. Because the killer is closing in, and there’s not much time before he puts Harper and Aiden—and those they love—in the line of fire.

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