Title: I Hunt Killers (Jasper Dent #1)
Author: Barry Lyga
Publication: 2012, LIttle, Brown Books for Young Readers
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 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?....read more
Review: A darkly haunting yet astronomically entertaining first book to what is sure to be an epic new series! "I Hunt Killers" is the ultimate package deal that delivers everything the death-kissed premise promises and so much more. It has got fantastic front cover to praise-loaded back cover of gripping suspense, mystery, action, and every last bit of awesome, savvy and handsome son of a serial killer. Who can possibly resist?!
Barry Lyga builds Jazz's story steadily and surely, giving this whopping thrill of a read a sturdy and very convincing foundation complete with solid research. In the opening chapter, we get a broad view of our male POV and a crime scene. That first initial glimpse into Barry's world wasn't instantly grasping for me. However, it was a good opening, now that I look back at it, because it was abstract though detailed, with not too much and mot too little on the main character. But when the first chapter abruptly snaps to an end with a terrifying hanger, I was plunged and immersed completely into the life of a certain Jasper Dent, with absolutely no possible way of escaping.
That opening was almost like the book was casually warning me at the beginning, giving me a chance to escape before it was too late to head back out. From there, the door slams close behind us and there is no way left but forward.
Jazz is a YA male protagonist in full glory. Depth of a disturbing (beyond words) childhood has given Jazz an intriguing undertone of bloodstained shadows; his strong and charming personality battles his past as an inner character conflict in the ultimate form of Nature vs. Nurture (thank you, Gr. 11 Sociology class!), portraying his tenacity and bravery in inner turmoils; his willingness to fight for the better gives him an easily likeable kindness and sense of justice. (that although sometimes wavers, but always stays true in the end.) On levels closer to the surface, Barry has finished Jazz off with a good-looking exterior, well-timed sense of humour, and the ability to ooze charm like a real pro. He is well put together, totally believable (despite the son of a serial killer part) and easy to love as a reader. I LOVE him! (see?)
"and then, - because he couldn't help it - he gave her the full-on megawatt smile. "The Charmer," Billy had called it." The secretary he was smiling at wasn't the only one who melted at that. ~swoon~
Like every character who does some internal swaying, Jazz is backed up and bolstered by a fantastic team of best friend and girlfriend. Howie and Connie are both equally well brought-to-life like Jazz and together, they do a great job of grounding our protagonist so he didn't let himself drop off into the realms of hell (as brave and strong as he is, he isn't invincible.). Howie also offered wonderful humour in addition to Jazz's and Connie was a true voice of reason and love to be appreciated. Barry's wide array of a cast does not end there and I found myself clicking with each and every one in different ways.
"I Hunt Killers" is a hard to categorize novel simply because I felt that it pulled off almost every element so well. The mystery spills over the pages as the characters interact in an intricate network that is partially hidden beyond everything you think you see and believe. The plotline suspense is driven and near perfect. The book also presents an awesome friendship between Jazz and Howie plus a subtle touch of love without laying it on too heavily. Not to mention Barry's diction is downright hilarious all the way throughout, cleverly amping up the enjoyment factor and balancing the morbid plot. The POV even switched sometimes, giving readers the opportunity to experience dramatic irony that shot the suspense to insanely high levels at times, like effective camera angles.
A brilliant and booming end to this first installment of Jasper Dent! Surprise was tucked into every unsuspecting moment, and the closing finale was no different. I felt like I was going to have a heart attack! Barry definitely rounded off book no. 1 smoothly and well, yet that didn't prevent me from dying to read book no. 2 for more. In conclusion, this book will haunt you relentlessly thanks to a supply of gore and details of murder but it will also make you laugh and fall in love with the wonderful characters. With heart-thumping action and ridiculously well-executed suspense, "I Hunt Killers" is just pure epic.
Ratings: ✰✰✰✰ 4.5 Jazz-y Hoots
Final Notes: I LOVED this! I couldn't stop thinking about it all afterwards for the entire week! I do have to put out a warning, though, the gore and scary bits are not for the faint-hearted Billy Dent haunted me throughout the book and even afterwards, I was seeing imaginary serial killers lurking in every shadow. I was seriously freaked out. Made the fatal mistake of reading this before bed. No pretty dreams that night T _ T
The sequel to this book will definitely be one of my most highly-anticipated releases of 2013.
A Favourite Moment:
"The ladies love bad boys," Howie said, striking what was supposed to be a tough-guy pose. "Gotcha. I will be your magic trick. Misdirection!" He waggled his fingers. "Abracadaver! Get it?" he added as they headed for the door. "Abracadaver? Get it?"
Thanks for reading!