Mar 2, 2013

[Review] I Hunt Killers by Barry Lyga

I Hunt Killers (Jasper Dent, #1)
Barry Lyga
Pages: 361 
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
Format: Hardcover
Source: Library
Age Group: Upper YA
Date Published: April 3, 2012
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?

This book was intense. I was constantly amazed at how Lyga wrote what was going on in Jazz's head- well, amazed and kinda freaked out. He wrote not only a traumatized teenage boy with learned sociopathic tendencies, but the advice and "tips" his serial killer dad gave him. I kept thinking "God, I hope he researched online." Needless to say, I'd be a little worried to come to a signing of his. (Which I suppose is the intention of the book...)

So, Jasper Dent is hot and he uses it to his advantage. He grew up with a serial killer for a father and constantly needs to remind himself "People are real. People matter" because his daddy taught him differently. More like brainwashed. Jazz's father has been in prison for the past 4 years, so when people start dying again in Lobo's Nod (the small town Jazz lives in), Jazz feels like he needs to be in on the investigation. G. William, the cop who caught Dear Old Dad (this is how Jazz refers to his father throughout the book), won't let Jazz in on the case because he's just a kid and he wants Jazz to be normal (as normal as he can get anyways). Jazz and G. William have a sort of father-son relationship throughout the book, and it's kind of neat. Jazz decides to run his own investigation, and when anything illegal is about to go down, Jazz brings his hemophiliac BFF Howie with. So, Jazz and Howie begin investigating, and Jazz is sure that there is another serial killer in Lobo's Nod. This book is sick and vulgar and gory in the ways you'd expect, and it's honestly really freaky. (This means try not to read it after midnight)

I have to say I genuinely liked Jazz. He was so afraid of being like his father but he was also kind of scary. He continually saw how to kill people and thought like a serial killer. Freaky. But, he was so determined to be one of the good guys, and I admired that about him. He's manipulative, but likeable. I also adored his girlfriend, Connie. She was funny and clearly the brains of this operation. Howie was afraid of her. She was sassy and cute and I just really liked her. Howie made me giggle too. So, for a book about serial killers, the main characters were all really likeable.

The one thing I missed in this book is that it would have been so much better in first person. I feel like the third person added a level of detachment (which may have kept my sanity...) and first would have made everything much darker and pulled me in more. I wanted that vivid feeling of being in Jazz's head and the darkness that surrounded him and I didn't get that as much as I would have liked.

Overall though, this was an amazing book. It was dark and twisted and sick and I loved it. Because of the third person issue though, I'm giving it 4.5 'staches and rounding it to 4.

Warning: I recommend this book for older YA readers, because there are some vulgar remarks made and really crude language from some characters, and I wouldn't want to see my 13 year old neighbor reading it.

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  1. Hi Megan!
    YAY! I'm so glad you enjoyed it as much as I did! Yes, I completely agree. Having this written from first person POV would have been much more intense, though I'm slightly glad that it wasn't. My sanity would have been lost if it were!

    Great review!

  2. This book sounds great. Serial killers are creepy and the fact that Jazz keeps thinking like one, sounds interesting. Great review :)


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