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"Saying 'I notice you're a nerd' is like saying, 'Hey, I notice that you'd rather be intelligent than be stupid, that you'd rather be thoughtful than be vapid, that you believe that there are things that matter more than the arrest record of Lindsay Lohan. Why is that?' In fact, it seems to me that most contemporary insults are pretty lame. Even 'lame' is kind of lame. Saying 'You're lame' is like saying 'You walk with a limp.' Yeah, whatever, so does 50 Cent, and he's done all right for himself."— John Green


I Hunt Killers (Review)

TitleI Hunt Killers
Author(s): Barry Lyga
Edition: ARC, 359 pages
PublisherLittle, Brown Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: April 3, 2012
Source: Received from NCTE

The Summary

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 Nob.

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?

My Opinion

This was one of the most psychologically chilling young adult books I have ever read. I’m usually a weenie when it comes to this type of book, but I couldn’t put this book down (except for the occasional night)! Barry Lyga really created an intense experience when he wrote I Hunt Killers.

Jazz is the son of one of America’s most notorious serial killers, Billy Dent. Billy has been sentenced to 25 life sentences for the murders he’s committed, and Jazz was up close and personal for many of them. Let’s just say, this hasn’t given Jazz the healthiest of childhoods.

The layers that Lyga created within this novel make it so complex and rich. Emotionally, physically, and psychologically, Jazz fights against the legacy of his father and the cold possibility that he is just like “Dear Old Dad”. Throughout the events of the book, Billy’s voice echoes in Jazz’s mind, urging him to act the way Billy wants: heartless and violent. This reality brings up two different arguments: Are we a product of our parents or are we our own person? There is also a layer of nature versus nurture and survival of the fittest. The mix of psychological danger on top of the physical danger makes everything hyper-intense.

Speaking of physical danger, while Lyga doesn’t go into graphic detail, there are descriptions of murder scenes that don’t shy away from the grizzly parts. The way the descriptions are crafted really gets you into the mindset of the murderer, and highlights how screwed up Jazz’s life was growing up. This is definitely not a story with a villain who has redeeming qualities; Billy Dent is a sick man, and becomes the boogieman of the novel.

But don’t think Jazz is without hop because he has some amazing friends in his life to keep him anchored. Howie is his best friend, and has been ever since Jazz saved him from some bullies when Jazz first moved to town. Howie stands by Jazz no matter what happens, and some bad stuff happens. Connie, Jazz’s girlfriend, believes he is more than Billy Dent’s son, and that he can make a new life for himself. Without these two, Jazz would probably have done something that he couldn’t walk away from.

I Hunt Killers is like Dexter wrapped in The Hardy Boys, and is a novel that thrill seekers and mystery buffs will enjoy. Out in bookstores and libraries, this is one book that you shouldn’t miss. Believe me, if this weenie can handle it, so can you!


Final Rating
Book Cover: 5/5
Book Title: 5/5
Plot: 10/10
Characters: 9/10
Writing: 10/10
Ending: 10/10
Overall: 49/50: A+

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