I Hunt Killers by Barry Lyga
Hardcover: 368 pages
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Release Date: 3 April 2012
Age Level: Young Adult
Source: Purchased for personal collection
Purchase: Amazon | Book Depository | B&N
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?
I was hesitant to start reading this book, but I'm glad I did. I Hunt Killers is definitely not something anyone would expect to see me reading (I was reading it without the dust jacket on... check it out below), but I simply couldn't deny my interest in it. I mean, a story about a teenage boy who grows up with one of the country's most notorious serial killers as his father? What the?! Being a huge fan of the show Criminal Minds, I really didn't see any way that I could resist. I am, admittedly, a huge chicken though. I wasn't sure if I would find this scary or nightmare-inducing, hence why I almost didn't pick it up. Thankfully, this story didn't so much scare me to nightmares as it made me incredibly... worried.
This poor boy! I really felt for Jazz and his struggles to find out whether or not he's destined to be just like his father. Sure, his Dear Old Dad groomed him since childhood to follow in his footsteps, but that doesn't mean he has to carry on the legacy. Right? Right. I wanted to hug, shake and cry reassurances to Jazz that he is absolutely nothing like his father! Then again, the poor kid has been so brainwashed, even I can't be 100% sure. It all boils down to faith, much as Jasper says. I have faith that he's not going to turn into a sociopath and go on a killing spree.
As a way to deal with what his father is - and try to deal with his own demons - Jazz decides he needs to figure out who has killed Jane Doe in his little sleepy town of Lobo's Nod. By the way, Jazz is fantastic. I can see how he could be dangerous, knowing all he knows, but I do believe he has a good heart. He's a charmer, but he worries a lot about his motives and tries to make sure he's being sincere, which I found to be incredibly admirable. Jasper really is just trying to be a good person and move on with his life. With him he has his trustworthy, seriously hemophiliac best friend, Howie. I absolutely loved Howie! He was funny and quirky and pretty insightful when he tried. Though the kid could start bleeding at a moments notice, he was always willing to go along with Jasper anywhere. With such a dark subject matter, Howie was like a bit of sunshine.
The descriptions of the crime scenes were definitely not as gory as they could have been, but they were still absolutely frightening. I really think the author worked hard to make this appropriate for a young adult audience in content, language and character development. With that said, this novel is still very intense and horrific. If you're prone to nightmares, reading this alone at night might not be the best idea.
I didn't know going into the book that it wasn't a stand-alone, so that surprised me. However, I think the author ended the book in the perfect spot. That ending! Oh my word! Let's just say that a lot happens, so don't be surprised when you find yourself on the edge of your seat. I definitely have to read the next one when it comes out, now! I'm interested to see where this story is going to lead us. I just hope it has a happy ending for our teenage (semi-anti) hero.
Overall, I Hunt Killers is a well-done debut novel from a very promising author. I definitely recommend picking this up when you're wanting a suspenseful, unique story.
A favorite quote: “Medicine cabinets are dangerous. Those doors, man. They'll just spring on you like a ninja.”
|Just look at how creepy this book is without the cover!|