Saturday, April 28, 2012

I Hunt Killers by Barry Lyga

Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Pages: 359
Series or Stand Alone: Book One in the Jasper Dent series
Summary: 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?

When I got an ARC of this book I was completely jazzed (I’m not punning on purpose here. It’s not my fault that ‘jazzed’ happens to contain the main character’s name). I loved Barry Lyga’s Boy Toy and was ecstatic to hear that he wrote a book about the teenage son of a serial killer. It’s like this one was written for me.

How do I love thee, book? Let me count the ways.
1. Your narrator was fantastic. Seriously. Jasper “Jazz” Dent goes on the list of favorite narrators ever. He can go over and hang out with Katniss Everdeen and Cassel Sharpe. They can all bask in each others’ well-developed awesomeness. Jazz is the teenage son of infamous serial killer Billy Dent, a teenage boy who’s just trying to continue on with his life after his father’s arrest. He’s also a completely unreliable narrator, which is totally awesome.
2. I love how complicated Jazz’s identity is--he’s a charming, attractive, smart young man who is absolutely terrified that he is going to end up to be a sociopathic murderer. He’s constantly worrying about whether or not the feelings and caring he has for other people are legitimate or pale imitations of what he thinks he should feel. Of course, I feel like this worrying PROVES that he’s not an unfeeling serial killer.
3. I love that all of the secondary characters were practically as well developed as Jazz. From his sassy, badass girlfriend Connie to his batshit crazy grandmother, the cast of characters in this book could easily stand on their own.
4. I love that it was a serial killer-flavored murder mystery. I’m not going to say that I was completely stumped, but the mystery was so well done. It was suspenseful and creepy. Barry Lyga clearly did a whole lot of research into painful ways to end a person’s life. And, of course, into the psychology behind a serial killer’s behavior. Seriously, it’s like this book was written for me. Now that I’m writing this, I just want to go re-read it and watch all four Scream films while doing so.
5. I love that this story has a complete ending, but that I still have enough questions about Jazz’s past history and what his future holds that I feel like I need to read the sequel right now.

Not that I really need to say this if you’re reading to the end of this review, but I LOVED THIS BOOK SO MUCH. Barry Lyga’s I Hunt Killers is a thrilling, completely engrossing read that explores the mind of a serial killer’s teenage son and all of the complications his father brought into his life and mind. I just moved it to a more prominent part of the new shelf in my library because I didn’t think it was visible enough. I know that it definitely isn’t for everyone, but if you have the vaguest interest in this book, GO READ IT!

Rating: 5 - shelf of favorites ALL THE WAY

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