I Hunt Killers
Author: Barry Lyga
Publication Date: 4/3/12
Publisher: Little Brown
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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.
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?
Jazz himself is worried about becoming a killer. He knew about a lot of his father's victims and he keeps having nightmares (or are they memories?) about helping his father kill something/someone but he can't put the pieces together. He knows the history and evidence from his father's kills in and out and believes he understands the mind of a serial killer, so when the new killer starts racking up victims, Jazz attempts to help the local police solve the crime. The chief humors him more than I believe to be likely, but the funnier parts of the novel, and it IS funny, involve Jazz and his hemophiliac best friend Howie doing a little crime-solving work on their own. A lot of humor is also added by Jazz's grandmother, with whom he lives. She has increasing memory loss and often does wacky things and mistakes people for others. Of all the points in the novel that I could've been offended by, I was a little disheartened by the fact that Jazz essentially drugs his grandmother several times to keep her sleeping. Also, in regards to his grandmother, I felt like the child services worker, though well-intentioned, was unrealistic. Anybody who has worked in or around the system would probably raise an eyebrow at a worker making such an effort over someone who is healthy, not abused, able to support himself, and 6 months from aging out of the system. Sad, but true.
Fans of thrillers and horror novels will probably enjoy this, regardless of its YA categorization. When I was trying to think of readalikes, the only thing similar in the YA genre that I am aware of is the John Cleaver series by Dan Wells and I signed out of that series after the first book added in a paranormal element. This book had more gory elements, funny dialogue, more realism, and it was scarier. I was fully engaged for the entirety of the novel so to me, it is the clear winner. I Hunt Killers ends with a bang. It can stand alone but I sincerely hope that Lyga writes more about Jazz and company. Please don't leave me hanging like this, Mr. Lyga!
Thanks to Wendy Darling at The Midnight Garden for touring her ARC of this book. I loved it!