Sunday, August 19, 2012

I Hunt Killers (Jasper Dent, #1)

I Hunt Killers
Barry Lyga
361 pages
Released: April 3, 2012
Publisher: Little, Brown
Source: purchased

You can read the Goodreads summary here.

Jasper (Jazz) Dent's father was a notorious serial-killer now serving over twenty life sentences.  Left in the care of (or rather, caring for) his senile grandmother in the small town of Lobo's Nod, Jazz struggles with everyday life; trying to tell himself that the public is wrong, he is not destined to be like his father.  So when a new serial killer shows up in town, Jazz is determined to prove himself innocent before he can be proven guilty by solving the crimes before the police.

I Hunt Killers was my book club's pick for August.  Unfortunately, I had to miss the meeting for the second month in a row due to an out-of-town funeral, but I read I Hunt Killers on the plane on the way home and was blown away.  I don't know how the book club meeting went, but I would be surprised to hear the book got less than stellar reviews.  I Hunt Killers was an absolutely fabulous novel on so many levels.  I'll just tell you now to go get yourself a copy, I'll wait...

Need more convincing?  The plot intrigued me from the get-go.  What would you do if your father was a notorious serial killer?  I can't even imagine, but there are children out there who have to face this fact.  Jazz's father committed well over one hundred murders and the fact that the community knew Jazz was involved, however minimally or involuntarily, tainted their view of Jazz.  They believed he would undoubtedly grow up to be like "Dear Old Dad," and that's a lot of pressure for a seventeen year old boy who should be struggling with normal teenage problems.

Not only is Jazz trying to do an adult job at solving murders, but he's also struggling with his own coming-of-age, two plot lines that Lyga weaved together expertly.  The fact that Jazz is a teenager really brought a interesting perspective into the novel.  Instead of worrying about sex in general, Jazz was worried about in what way would be enjoy it, could it lead to something more sinister?  Despite the fact I have no idea what it would be like to be in his position, I believe Lyga portrayed Jazz to the t.  He was a perfectly complex character and I'm looking forward to seeing him continue to grow as a person in future novels.

Before I started reading, I read somewhere that I Hunt Killers was like an episode of CSI, but in reality it was so much more interesting to me.  We we really got to know about the psychology of serial killers.  I learned so much about how they think, but I also learned a bit about how to kill and dispose of a body.  It makes me shudder a bit to think about it, actually, but I found it to be grotesquely fascinating.  The psychology of the novel reminded me of Stephen King's work.

Five stars!  Read this book if you like those television crime dramas or if you like psychological thrillers or if you like Stephen King or even if you just have two eyeballs (hell, you could probably even read it with just one.)  I Hunt Killers was so entertaining to me, I cannot wait to get my hands on the sequel coming out in March.

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