Tuesday, August 5, 2014

I Hunt Killers by Barry Lyga

The Basics:
I Hunt Killers by Barry Lyga
Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Book One in the Jasper Dent series
YA, Mystery
Published April 3, 2012
Source: Received via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Amazon.ca Kobo.com

Why I picked up this book:

There was something about it - maybe the Dexter-esque feel? - that called to me despite this being slightly outside my normal reading (which I'd characterize at this point as anything with a love story of any kind in it).


What if the world's worst serial killer...was your dad?

Jasper (Jazz) Dent is a likable teenager. A charmer, one might say.

But he's also the son of the world's most infamous serial killer, and for Dear Old Dad, Take Your Son to Work Day was year-round. Jazz has witnessed crime scenes the way cops wish they could--from the criminal's point of view.

And now bodies are piling up in Lobo's Nod.

In an effort to clear his name, Jazz joins the police in a hunt for a new serial killer. But Jazz has a secret--could he be more like his father than anyone knows?

My thoughts:

Completely outside of my normal genres, I Hunt Killers was all kinds of awesome for me.

The son of a serial killer, Jasper 'Jazz' Dent has more baggage than your average seventeen year-old. His father was locked up for murdering more than a hundred people when Jazz was thirteen, and four years later, Jazz still wrestles constantly with whether or not he'll grow up to be the ultimate serial killer that his dad dreamed of or if he can lead something resembling a normal life.

I loved the way that Jazz thought - okay, maybe not the thoughts themselves, because not only is he seriously tormented by his vast, often first-hand knowledge of serial killing, but rather I love how it was all written. Jazz' awareness is uncanny. It's fascinating to read how he processes the world - filtering it through the lens that his dad taught him to have, wherein he's aware of how to kill, how to manipulate, how to manage situations to his own benefit, all the while conscious of *not* wanting to be like his dad, of wanting to believe that people are important. I was completely draw into Jazz' inner struggle, let alone the external dangers that he faces.

The murder mystery plot was more complex than I anticipated - I hugely underestimated this title, thinking it would be easy to figure out and more about the thrills and chills of the murders than anything, well, complex. Whoa! I was so, so wrong. It was completely engaging, and even when I figured I had it all solved, I was glued to the page (and also so, so wrong).

Jazz' best friend Howie is a hoot - a hemophiliac, he copes by having an incredible sense of humour and unswerving loyalty to Jazz. Connie, Jazz' girlfriend, is crazy tough, an excellent touchstone for Jazz.

When I finished the book, I wanted *more,* because this was so darn good, and because I have to know what happens next.

Bottom line:

I Hunt Killers is an excellent book. It's poignant, it's creepy. I loved the mystery, but more than that, I loved seeing how Jazz thought. I want to spent more time with him, immediately, and if I had the next book on hand, I would have sunk into it right away. Strongly recommend this title.

5 stars
For fans of murder mysteries, psychological thrillers (but at a YA-ish level), really good books.

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