by Barry Lyga
Series: Jasper Dent #1
Published by: Hachette
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 Hunt Killers was first recommended to me by Giselle @ Xpressoreads and I downloaded it to my Nook. I figured this would be the perfect fall read and it was! Lyga takes us inside the mind of Jasper Dent the son of a famous serial killer. The tale was unique, creepy and captivated me. Call me sick, but I loved all the details about how a serial killer thinks and what drives them. Dexter fans should find this one appealing.
The tale begins when we meet protagonist Jasper (Jazz) Dent. He is scoping out a police scene in the park. It’s the murder of a young woman and Jazz is convinced the town has another serial killer. He should know, after all his Dad is a famous serial killer. His Dad is in jail but Jazz remembers all the lessons he taught him. When Jazz looks at the crime scene he sees it from the killer’s perspective. His entire childhood was spent learning his Dads trade, right down to how a killer gets caught. Jazz decides to investigate fearing the police will miss vital clues. The tale that unfolds kept me captivated and was filled with suspense, mystery, gore, friendship and self discovery.
Jazz is a complex character and at the young age of seventeen he has spent a large amount of his life living a nightmare. His Dad groomed him to be a serial killer and he struggles to separate himself from those lessons. Plagued with nightmares, he has an uncanny ability to get into the mind of a killer. I really connected with him, but also wondered in the back of my mind if his fears were justified. He is extremely intelligent, charismatic and at times manipulative, but you cannot help but adore him. His best friend Howie is loyal and reluctantly follows along with all of Jazz’s adventures. He constantly reassures Jazz that his fears are unfounded. Jazz’s grandma suffers from dementia and was both hilarious and downright scary. It is very obvious that even before her illness the woman was not right in the head. Some of the things she did and said blew my mind! Members of the media, the police, and family members of victims added to the suspense and had me turning the pages. The killer who refers to himself as the “Impressionist” gave me the willies.
While I Hunt Killers is classified young-adult, it certainly offers plenty of gory images, murder and mayhem. I found myself completely enthralled by the tale Lyga spins. I am a huge fan of CSI and loved seeing the other side from a killer’s perspective. The “Impressionist” is given a voice and his obsession with Jazz is frightening. The details of his killings offer enough of a picture to raise the hair on your arms and make you squirm in your seat. I loved watching Jazz’s mind work as he took in details of crime scenes, examined bodies and pieced together the criminal’s mind. The shattered images from Jazz’s childhood and the accounts his Dad gave him regarding his hunts gave me chills. Despite the small town setting, I appreciated the respectful approach the author took with law enforcement. The police while one step behind Jazz, were intelligent. They were not the flounder idiots typically depicted in novels. While I pieced together the mystery, Lyga added some twists that I did not see coming. That uncomfortable nagging and self-doubt about Jazz that the author skillfully baited me with had me wondering if he was a killer and the suspense was delicious.
I highly recommend I Hunt Killers to fans of mystery and thrillers. The tale can at times be violent and gory so be warned. The suspense kept me turning the pages late into the night and I am on pins and needles waiting for Game book two in the Jasper Dent series, due out in April of 2013.
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