Title: I Hunt Killers
Author: Barry Lyga
Release Date: Available
Jasper Dent, commonly referred to as “Jazz”, cannot say he has lived a normal childhood. Jazz’s unusual life is thanks to his serial killer father, Billy Dent, recently placed in jail after his homicidal urges got the better of him. Jazz must live with the social stigma his father left behind while taking care of his senile grandmother and going to school. Socially rejected by his peers, Jazz can only trust two people — his girlfriend Connie and his best friend Howie, a hemophiliac.
The book begins with Jazz hiding in the brush and watching a crime scene. A woman has been found dead and the police are trying to figure out what happened. Jazz expresses his belief that a serial killer is behind her death to the police chief, who in turn tells Jazz to mind his own business and not worry. But Jazz ignores that advice, deciding to go along on his own and weave the distasteful mystery together piece by piece, with the help of Howie and Connie.
The motivation behind Jazz’s need to solve the crime does not revolve around the fact that he’s committed to justice. Rather, as the son of a serial killer, the first person civilians would suspect is Jazz. He’s compelled by his desire to show his town that he’s nothing like his father and is, rather, a normal, compassionate human being. There are many flashbacks that show Billy teaching Jazz how to be a serial killer and Jazz uses these techniques to understand the antagonist and stop him before his next attack. The ‘murder scenes’ aren’t particularly graphic, but can leave you feeling creeped out. For those who are used to the horror genre, this book won’t be scary at all.
I Hunt Killers by Barry Lyga had a satisfactory story that definitely set itself apart from other books in the Young Adult section. Billy Dent’s background was intriguing, while appalling, and the amount of research to make the serial killer’s character believable was apparent. There were just a few things that negatively impacted the book. Jazz asked of himself too many questions because of his deep ‘inner turmoil’ resulting from being trained to be a serial killer. In a book such as this, one would presume it to be filled with action, but Jazz spent a majority of the book trying to ‘find’ himself. The rest of the characters felt half developed and the comedic quips such as ‘Dear Old Dad’ became overused. Still, some of the descriptions really stood out and there were numerous attempts at humor. I Hunt Killers is a unique idea that has great potential and I look forward to the next installments.
Review by Sophia
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