I Hunt Killers by Barry Lyga

Title: I Hunt Killers
Author: Barry Lyga
Publisher: Little Brown Books for Young Readers
Format: Hardcover
Publication Date: April 3, 2012
Overall: 4/5
Source: Borrowed

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?

 Review:
Jazz is the teenage son of one of the most infamous serial killers out there, Billy Dent. Fortunately, Billy’s been locked up for the last five years. Unfortunately, all that killer training (literally) and impulses Billy left with his son still clings to Jazz, and Jazz can’t seem to shake his serial killer nature (or maybe it’s nurture). Or maybe that’s not so unfortunate. Because as soon as the body of Jane Doe shows up in Jazz’s little town, he’s convinced it’s the work of another serial killer. Only, the police won’t believe him. So Jazz decides he is going to use all the training Dear Old Dad left him with the track down this killer, and prove to everyone (and himself) that he’s not a bad guy. He’s not a serial killer like his dad.

It’ll come as no surprise to the people who know me that when I heard about a YA thriller about serial killers, I knew that book would be right up my alley. (And yet, I’ve never watched Dexter. Why haven’t I? I keep hearing this book compared to it.)

I loved I HUNT KILLERS. Jazz was a perfect protagonist, and such a complex character. He’s a bit scary (after all, he could easily kill you and everyone knows it), but he’s also really sympathetic. That’s a really hard to achieve when you’re writing about a potential serial killer. But Jazz doesn’t WANT to be a serial killer. He doesn’t want to give into those impulses and desires his dad tried so hard to instill in him. He wants to prove he’s a good person. Only . . . he doesn’t know if he can resist those desires so deeply ingrained in him.

Of course, the other characters were great too. There’s Billy, who’s locked away in prison, but still manages to be this ever looming threat, perhaps because he saw Jazz as his protege. So Billy’s threat is still there in Jazz.

Then there’s Howie, Jazz’s hilarious hemophiliac best friend. What an odd combination, those two, but also perfect. The potential serial killer and the kid who bruises way too easily. Connie, Jazz’s girlfriend, is also a good character. And, without spoilers, her character is a great way to show how Jazz navigates his killer instincts. I also thought Jazz’s relationship with the police was great.

One thing I loved about this book was how funny it was. In a really dark sort of way. I quite like dark humor. For instance, there’s one line that had me giggling for a really long time:

“Making a duplicate key from a wax impression was an extremely useful skill to have if you were the sort of person who liked invading other people’s homes and killing them.”

And, of course, I can’t talk about a book about serial killers without talking about the obvious: the violence. If you’re the type of person to get squeamish or upset with gore and violence (I’m not), don’t worry. It’s exactly how you would expect it to be done. It’s there, of course, but it’s not over the top or gratuitous or anything. It’s . . . tasteful, if that word is at all appropriate.

So, finally. Why did I only give this book four stars? Well, mostly because I guessed everything that would happen. I won’t get into HOW I knew what would happen, because that would be getting into character analyses, and plot analysis, which would get into spoiler territory. Ha.

HOWEVER, this book was SO GOOD that the fact that I knew what would happen didn’t take any enjoyment away from it. In fact, I quite liked seeing how it all came together.

I definitely, DEFINITELY, hope we see more thrillers and more dark books like this in YA. That is something I can get on board with.

So I recommend I HUNT KILLERS to anyone who likes thrillers, dark humor, and all that serial killer stuff 🙂 Also, those who like Dexter, apparently, even though I’ve never seen the show. Ha!

moonlight4
 
An Enjoyable Read, Well Written, Recommended

 

**Please Note: This review is my honest opinion and I received no monetary compensation from it.**
Find Barry Lyga online:
Buy I Hunt Killers online: