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Monday, December 29, 2014

Review: I Hunt Killers by Barry Lyga

I Hunt Killers by Barry Lyga
Series: Jasper Dent #1
Publication Date: April 3, 2012
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
A Young Adult novel
Pages: 359
Genre: Mystery

  buy the book from The Book Depository, free delivery
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?
 *An advanced reader's copy was provided by the publisher for an honest review*

Are we stronger than who we are raised to be?

After reading The Naturals by Jennifer Lynn Barnes, I was excited for another teenager with a dark past solving murders and I Hunt Killers totally and completely delivered.  This is a book where you actually don't expect the twists and turns, it's a book where the main character has legitimate depth and struggles, and where the phrase "people matter" holds a very true meaning.  Lyga doesn't waste any character as a throw-away or as a background, if a person is introduced they matter to the plot.

I should probably get into my thoughts on the flaws of main character Jasper "Jazz", but honestly he was very likable, and at points I was even scared for him and of him. Everyone in this book is up for grabs and there were points where I did not know where the story was going because of the complexity of the main character.  Is he your average teenage boy? No, but if you enjoy books about teenagers solving murders, you don't want anyone average, you want Jazz.

So, why isn't this book getting the five targets if the main character and mystery are so good?  Well, the women characters aren't great, pretty one-dimensional in some cases and I found myself not really caring what happened to them.  There is a suppose to be this big emotional scene between Jazz and his girlfriend but I found my eyes glazing over because it wasn't anything new, surprising or intriguing.   It's kind of the same throughout; the grandmother is literally the mother of all evil and yet something about her just fell flat.  All the female characters seem to fall too easily into neat boxes (some of the male character too, but it more apparent with the women), and it really can be off putting.  Aside from that, there really isn't a compelling reason to pick up the next book unless you only care about the mystery instead of the character development.  Yes, Jazz is still struggling with his identity and urges, but there's more to the book than just him and for some reason the cliff hanger on the end of book didn't thrill me enough to pick up the second.

If you can't handle a lot of blood, serial killer story lines or the mentioning of sexual assault, I would not suggest this book (there is no graphic detail, but the main character's father was not a very nice man). However, if you love murder mysteries, main characters with dark past and talents that give you goosebumps, and some sick action scenes, I suggest I Hunt Killers.

Four targets, and you nearly slayed me.