Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Book Review: I Hunt Killers, by Barry Lyga @barrylyga

I Hunt Killers is a horrible book. I mean that in a good way. It's twisted--putting you inside the head of a teen who was raised (and trained) by one of the deadliest serial killers ever, his dad.

Jazz's dad has been in prison for several years. He was put there after killing 124 people. Jazz lives with his grandmother, who is supposed to be taking care of him, but really it's the other way around - since Gramma is suffering from dementia.

When a young woman's body is found in a field outside of town, Jazz is determined to investigate. What he finds convinces him that this is the work of a serial killer. You see, Jazz is an expert, since his dad trained Jazz in all his techniques. Jazz must convince Sheriff Tanner before there are any more victims.

Everyone in town knows Jazz's background, and his worse fear is that they will all assume he is the murderer. He feels like everyone expects him to become a killer just like his father. And, as we are seeing this from Jazz's perspective, we realize that Jazz is also very frightened that he will become what his father wished for him.

Right there is the strength of I Hunt Killers. Seeing things through Jazz's eyes, as he realizes that he doesn't see people as others do. His dad taught him not to care about people. Jazz repeatedly tells himself "People matter. People are real." Can you imagine the damage that has been done to this boy? His father didn't just murder people, he tortured them and raped them, and described every detail to Jazz. Lyga does a great job of depicting the conflicted mind of this teenager.

Jazz has interesting friends to help him. Connie is his girlfriend, and she's very supportive and helps keep Jazz sane. Howie is a severe hemophiliac, and a great friend, which makes for some interesting quirks in their relationship. The Sheriff is genuine too. He wants Jazz to just leave this alone and live like a normal kid, but eventually realizes that Jazz has unique abilities and pretty much is destined to be different -- given his upbringing.

I had the same suspects for the killer as Jazz. And I didn't really figure it out until the killer (or killers) was (were) revealed. The plot was a nice mix of Jazz's relationships and struggles, along with some brutal murders and detective work. There was a bit of tension at the end, and somewhat of a cliff hanger. I'm fairly certain we haven't seen the end of Jazz, and I'll welcome another peek into his demented mind.

Mystery/detective lovers will want I Hunt Killers. It's a great one for boys. I think reluctant readers would be engaged by the quick pace, and relatively short length. If you can get them to start I Hunt Killers, I think it picks up quickly and they won't be able to stop.

Cover note: Be sure to check the cover under the dust jacket..... it's riveting....

Published by Little, Brown, & Co., April 3, 2012
Copy obtained from the library
368 pages (Qualifies for my Serial Killers' Reading Challenge!)

Rating: 4/5




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4 comments:

  1. I completely agree with your review. This book really surprised me-not that I expected to be a poorly written book but I don't read gorey murder mysteries but this one completely sucked me in and wouldn't let go. I'm really curious as to what happens next. Can't wait for book 2!

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  2. Whoa Annette, I am completely sold, never heard of this one but it sounds dynamic, definitely adding to Wishlist.

    I loved I am not a Serial Killer trilogy by Dan Wells, it reminds me of that from your review. There is a paranormal side to it though.

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    Replies
    1. I've been wanting to read the Dan Wells books! Someday...

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  3. I just got this one from the library yesterday, and I'm looking forward to reading it. Sounds different. Glad you liked it.

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