Author: Barry Lyga
Series: Jasper Dent #1
Published by: Little Brown Books
Publication Date: April 3, 2012
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 knew I Hunt Killers was a book for me from the moment I saw it. When I won a giveaway for a book of my choice, this was the top of my wish list. Unfortunately, it sat neglected on my kindle for over a year until I couldn’t resist the pull to read it any longer. And oh, was it ever good!
I have a thing for serial killers. No, not in a creepy romantic way. I just have a major fascination with their psyche. I even arranged the entire last year of my undergrad studies to make sure I could take certain courses about serial killers and mass murders from an internationally renowned criminologist and consultant. So yeah, I love a good serial killer book.
Jasper (Jazz) is the 17-year-old son of a notorious serial killer named Billy Dent. Jazz was exposed to his father’s cruel past time until he was arrested four years earlier. In fact, Billy was teaching Jazz his ways before he was caught. Growing up in that environment with a grade-a sociopath can really screw with a person’s head. Jasper has some issues, but he’s determined not to be like daddy. However, growing up learning to think like a serial killer can come in handy, like when it comes to tracking one down. Especially when one turns up in his small town.
The characters in I Hunt Killers are a huge plus. Jazz is a little cocky, but in a fun way. His dark sense of humor was right up my alley. He struggles with overcoming his past, and is obsessed with not becoming the monster his dad was priming him to be by doing good with the knowledge he has. I loved being in his head while working out the crime scenes and figuring out the suspect. As much as I enjoyed Jazz, I love his best friend Howie even more. The guy is hilarious! A great sense of humor will get you everywhere with me. I also found the many faces of Jasper’s grandma interesting. One moment I’m laughing and find her enduring, the next she makes me sick.
The story was exciting and chilling at times. Obviously, it’s fictional, but Lyga did a superb job with making it feel realistic. Just because this is considered YA doesn’t mean it’s not gritty or downright creepy. There was one chapter in particular told from a victims perspective that really added to the creep factor, and was one of my favorite moments in the book.
Figuring out the mystery of who the killer is was fun. I guessed who it was with about 95% certainty as soon as they were introduced in the book. However, I wasn’t completely sure of the motivation. And even though I felt strongly about who it was, the author did a good job at planting tiny seeds of suspicion for other characters. So there was always a smidgen of doubt, which kept everyone on my radar of suspects. This is something I can definitely appreciate.
I Hunt Killers was disturbing, yet fun. Just how I like it. And there is no doubt that I will be reading the sequel, Game, very soon.