“It wasn’t that he wanted to hurt anyone… It’s just that he couldn’t. Stop. Thinking about it.”
I Hunt Killers, by Barry Lyga
#1 in the Jasper Dent series
Little, Brown and Company, April 2012
young adult thriller
277 pages (ebook)
Jazz is a likable teenager. A charmer, some 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 criminals’ point of view.
And now, even though Dad has been in jail for years, bodies are piling up in the sleepy town of Lobo’s Nod. Again.
In an effort to prove murder doesn’t run in the family, Jazz joins the police in the hunt for this new serial killer. But Jazz has a secret – could he be more like his father than anyone knows?
*** I requested this review copy through NetGalley. ***
I don’t read a lot of YA. When I do, it’s usually the fantasies or dystopias that are getting a ton of attention, just so I can see what it’s all about. I usually enjoy the story for the most part (though I would like them more without the obligatory romance) and then go back to reading adult.
But I finally decided it was time to try one of the YA thrillers I’ve seen here and there… never quite as popular as the big titles, but still around. And I Hunt Killers didn’t disappoint.
Jazz is a pretty disturbing character. Then again, what person who was raised by a serial killer wouldn’t be disturbing? The thing is, you really do feel his internal struggle. He wants to do good, he doesn’t want to let his warped upbringing define who he is. Instead, he takes it and uses it instead of letting it use him. But there’s always that nagging voice in the back of his mind, trying to convince him that he’s fated to become his father. I think Jazz’s circumstances allow for some of that navel-gazing so typical of teen characters, while still serving the story.
I did think it was unrealistic just how open the sheriff is with him about the investigation… but on the other hand, it probably would have been just as unrealistic for Jazz to get all his information by sneaking around (not to mention, making the police look completely incompetent). So, I can accept a little storytelling convenience there.
The biggest downside is that the ending isn’t quite as satisfying as I would have liked. It’s not a terrible cliffhanger, but the book isn’t a complete story either. I think the series is worth continuing, though… I just wish I had access to the next book right away.
I Hunt Killers is available in print, as well as for Kindle, Nook, and other e-readers.
Does I Hunt Killers sound like something you’d pick up? When was the last time you read a book that was refreshingly different?