I Hunt Killers - Review

Publication date: 03 April 2012 by Little, Brown and Company
ISBN 10/13: 0316125849 | 9780316125840

Keywords: Contemporary, thriller, mystery, friendship, serial killer, murder
Category: Young Adult Mystery Thriller
Format: Hardcover, Paperback, Audiobook, eBook
Source: Library

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?

Thuy's Review:

I have a fascination with serial killers. I know I am not the only one. There are countless books, television programs and movies about serial killers. They are creepy and frightening, but I can’t look away. I want to know how they think and what motivates them. So when I heard that there was a book about serial killers from the point of view of a teenager, I knew I had to read it.

I Hunt Killers is told from the point of view of Jazz (and let me say that he could not have a more ill fitting name), a teen who looks like any other teen. Except Jazz isn’t like everyone else. He is the son of Billy Dent, one of the most notorious and prolific serial killers in modern history. But Billy didn’t just want to leave behind a trail of bodies. He wanted to leave a legacy. So, before he was caught and sent to jail, Billy trained Jazz to think like a serial killer. He taught him how to pick victims, find weaknesses and exploit people. Even though he’s been trying to live a normal life for the past four years, Jazz can’t help wondering if he’s destined to become like his father. When a copycat killer shows up in town, Jazz uses his intimate knowledge of his father’s way to help find the killer while struggling with his own demons.

This is a really different type of novel. Even though there books out there that focus on dark subjects, I really don’t think there is another YA novel with a main character like Jazz. He’s charismatic and charming at times, but he can also be anti-social and closed off. He struggles with the guilt of what his father did and what he himself might be capable of. His narration fits his mental state. The cold calculation with which he assesses the world can be chilling but, at other times, he sounds like any other teenager.

One of the main themes of the book is nature vs. nurture, which is an idea that everyone can relate to, even if your parents aren’t serial killers. Jazz's situation is unusual but his struggles with identity are universal.

Though the book is quite dark, it does have it humorous moments. Most of those come in the form of Howie, Jazz’s best friend. I have to say that Howie is probably my favorite character in the book. He is sweet and very loyal, believing in Jazz when no one else does. Howie always has a positive outlook, even when things look really bad.

I Hunt Killers isn’t for the faint of heart. There are some really graphic murder scenes that may disturb some people. I Hunt Killers is at once a coming of age story and a creepy, psychological thriller. Intense and filled with surprises, this is a book you'll want to read with the lights on. Lyga sets this up neatly for a sequel, which I am dying (ha ha, pun) to read. If you’re a fan of dark mysteries, thrillers, or serial killer stories, I definitely recommend this book.

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Find the author online at www.barrylyga.com, on Facebook, and @barrylyga on Twitter.