Review: I Hunt Killers

I Hunt Killers I Hunt Killers by Barry Lyga

Summary: Jasper “Jazz” Dent is the son of the world’s worst serial killer, Billy Dent. It took the police years to figure out that several different serial killers were actually the same guy. Since his father was arrest back when Jazz was 13, he’s been living with his demented grandmother and doing his best to overcome his reputation. This involves a lot of acting. The only people he doesn’t act with are his best friend Howie, a hemophiliac, who Jazz rescued from some bullies; his girlfriend Connie; and G. William, the local police chief. When a body is discovered in town, Jazz is convinced that there another serial killer out there. As he tries to conduct his own investigation, he only gets suspicion cast his way. But when it seems like the killer is imitating Billy Dent’s murders, Jazz finds himself as the expert on the case.

The Name Game

Jazz – Why ruin a perfectly good name with a terrible nickname?  I’ve loved the name since Jasper appeared in the Twilight books.  Sadly, I’ve also ridden a horse named Jazz.  It was a female horse.  I think I’ve seen the name “Jazzmyn” a few too many times to think that Jazz is a masculine nickname.  Although I did enjoy this book, I really wished he just went by “Jasper.”

Howie – *sigh* I just kind of want to call him “Howie the Hemophiliac.”  I loved the character and his name suited him, but I didn’t exactly wonder why kids at school were beating him up.

G. William – what does the G stand for???

Other Characters

Gramma – she is awesome crazy

Connie – I liked that Connie was so solid in her relationship with Jazz and doesn’t let his questioning of “Am I a serial killer to be?” scare her off.

Dexter Jr.

When I first heard about this book, all I could think in my head was “Dexter Junior.” It isn’t quite appropriate, since Jazz is clearly not a serial killer himself – although his father did train him, and sometimes Jazz has to fight the urges he’s learned. Jazz also isn’t doing any rogue killing of serial killers. He works with the police and intends never to kill anyone. I found most of the characters really interesting and well-rounded, and the action never lets up as Jazz tracks the killer and deals with his father’s psycho-brainwashing as well as his crazy grandmother.

Given my love for Dexter, it’s no wonder I really liked this book 🙂

Cover Swap

I read an advance copy of this book, which had this cover:

The publishers have opted for a different cover (see above)… maybe this one seemed too gory? The white/red cover definitely has more of a Dexter feel to it.  Even though they toned down the cover, the story itself had plenty of gore, including some graphic details about hacking up corpses, and there are some graphic discussions about how/why Jazz’s father and the copycat killer raped certain victims. I don’t think any of this would come as surprising or overly inappropriate or graphic to anyone who has watched a few episodes of CSI, but it might be a bit much for younger teens.  I, for one, love me some good gore.

Cliffhanger

There’d better be a sequel!  Too many unanswered questions.  I want to know more about Jazz’s childhood and what happened to his mother.

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