May 14, 2012

Review: I Hunt Killers by Barry Lyga

4 yummy chocolate chip peanut butter cookies.

Cover Love:
Yes.  Totally creepy.  Fits the tone of the book really well.

Why I Wanted to Read This:
How many YA books are out there that are about serial killers?  Not a lot.  And how many books total (MG/YA/A) that are told from the child of a serial killers point of view?  How could I NOT want to read this?!  Here's the synopsis from GoodReads:

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 Kept Reading Because: It was fascinating!

Romance?:  Yes, Jasper does have a girlfriend.  She is an anchor for him.

What I Liked (& Didn't):
First of all, great mystery/murder books are my favorite kind of adult books.  I mean, have you read Gillian Flynn's books?  SO good!!  So, to have that sophistication and suspense in a YA is a nice surprise.  This one should win the Edgar for YA next year.

You just have to love Jazz.  He is so conflicted and when he tells you the things he saw growing up you realize how could he not be?  This feels like such a well researched book too.  You have to wonder how many serial killers grow up wondering if what they are feeling is normal or not and how to mask their abnormalities.  Because Jazz is so conflicted it makes you feel reassured that he is not a sociopath until he points out that maybe that is what makes him a sociopath.  I would love to know what kind of research Mr. Lyga did on serial killers.  Jazz's thoughts just feel so authentic!

I also love the sheriff, G. William Tanner.  The relationship he and Jazz share is so interesting.  He is trying to keep Jazz normal and grounded.   In most novels you never see the aftermath of a serial killer on a town--that's what makes this novel so different.  After his dad is caught Jazz goes right no living in the town his dad was caught in.  People keep a wide berth and how could you not?  This daily reminder of the horrors that went on in your town.  I am surprised that he was able to keep on living there (and his grandma--the woman who raised Billy).  I am really surprised they weren't run out of town.  I bet the sheriff had a lot to do with the fact that they were able to go on living there and they weren't harassed.

The mystery and the murders and the twists and the ending--all awesome.   I totally want to be around to help Jazz solve the next mystery!

To Sum Up:  I think this one might be a good addition to a middle school library (for older readers).  High schools for sure!

Book won from a Little Brown School Twitter giveaway.  Thanks!


  1. sounds awesome. i really, really want to read this one, so i'm glad you enjoyed it. i actually thought of a story once about a child of a serial killer. i guess these things CAN be published, so maybe I should try working on it sometime. LOL


  2. Barry Lyga has created a dark story with interesting twists. In the past 5 years I have read over 800 books and this is one of the best. I could not put it down, literally. I stayed up so late one night I only got 3 hours sleep before needing to get up for work, and I read the book in 2 sittings. The characters are incredible. The pace of the plot breathtaking; from the beginning it races to the climax. It will stir something primal in you as you read.

    Jasper 'Jazz' Francis Dent is the son of serial killer Billy Dent. He is almost 18 and a likeable teen. But after a suspicious killing in Lobo's Nod, Jazz is convinced a serial killer is afoot, and is doing what he can to help, whether the sheriff wants the help or not. For Jazz has a deep seated fear - he fears he is just like his father. After all, his father has raised him his whole life to be the perfect killer. His father was known by many names, as he changed his methods often and worked hard to not get caught. His father was known as The Artist, Green Jack, Gentle Killer, Hand-in-Glove and more. Wherever Billy hunted he became known by a different name. But Jazz has started using that knowledge and training, and is working on catching a killer.