Tuesday, October 30, 2012

I Hunt Killers by Barry Lyga

I Hunt Killers by Barry Lyga
Release Date:
April 3, 2012
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
Source: Library


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?(courtesy of Goodreads)


I Hunt Killers is a perfect Halloween read. There are no ghosts or zombies or vampires. Rather, it features gritty murders, a possibly unreliable narrator, and more details than I ever thought I’d know about how to kill a person. Holly Black said after reading this book: “I no longer want to be left alone with Barry Lyga.” That was meant to be tongue-in-cheek, but I see what she’s saying.

Everyone wonders whether they will someday turn into their parents. What happens if you’re the son of a sociopath serial killer? Who will you turn into? Jazz is a nice kid who is terrified that he will become the killer that his father trained him to be. After eluding the police for years, Jazz’s father is finally in prison. Jazz is free to be a normal teenager. But when copycat serial killings start happening near his town, Jazz fears not only that he might be blamed for them but that he actually might be doing them.

I really liked Jazz. He comes off as confident, charming, sometimes overly assertive, but he’s also unassuming and deeply afraid of turning into an evil killer. He is introspective - so much so that he questions even whether his good qualities are wrongly motivated. You could wonder whether his sincere voice is perhaps that of a manipulative sociopath, fooling the reader just as much as the people in his fictional life. But I tend to take characters at face level and believed him to be a nice kid burdened with his father’s shadow. I loved that his best friend was a hemophiliac - that Jazz treated someone who was physically weaker than him as an equal. Plus, the kid was a hoot. I also admired his relationship with Connie, a funny, strong, intelligent girl. Jazz’s dark, dry humor made an otherwise depressing book a lot of fun.

We learn a lot about Jazz’s childhood with his father. It was a horribly abusive relationship that didn’t always feel that way. His father trained him to be a killer from a young age and to glory in the thought of murder. Yet it often felt like a father who was trying to teach his son a craft that he loved. Or was he a sociopath incapable of love just trying to bring up a lackey? Jazz’s father fooled the townspeople for years and he often fooled me.

I Hunt Killers is not for the faint of heart. I have a strong stomach, but even I was deeply disturbed by the level of detail the book goes into about the murders. Add to that the level of knowledge and fascination that Jazz has with dead human bodies and you have one very strange book. It felt somewhat like a car crash that you want to, but can’t quite turn your head away from.

I Hunt Killers is like nothing you’ve ever read before. In a good way. I quickly fell in love with Jazz, Howie, and Connie. I root for Jazz even though I’m not sure I trust him 100%. You will storm through the suspenseful plot and probably cover your eyes at a point or two. I definitely cannot wait to see what happens to Jazz next.

Rating: 4 / 5


  1. I didn't think much of this book at first . . . but I might consider reading it. Sounds interesting. Great review!

  2. OoOO!!! Sick to your stomach?? I'm scared easily but somehow this book speaks to me and I truly want to read it!

  3. *gulp* That disturbing huh? This reminds of the TV series Dexter. Thinking about it, I guess I should've been more afraid but I was intrigued by the mystery plot so maybe I can take this on... just maybe...

    Great review :D


  4. With the level of detail, I'm not sure this is for me. I can watch it -- aka The Walking Dead -- but reading it is a whole 'nother story. That aside, it sounds really amazing, in a disturbing and creepy way.

  5. I've seen this book around, but never really got my interest until now. This sounds perfect for Halloween!

    - Ellie @ The Selkie Reads Stories

  6. I also read it and don't remember it being too gory - but maybe my mind edited it out. :P
    I thought that it was a nice change from all of the YA paranormal stuff I've been reading too.
    <3 Mei

  7. One of my favorite reads this year. Great review!

  8. I'm so glad you liked this one! It's incredibly twisted and I didn't think I could handle it but after reading 50 pgs, I was hooked and needed to know what happens. I know I had disturbing dreams until it was finished but I can't wait for book 2.

  9. I'm thinking this is not the book for me since I don't deal well with any sort of gore, and a detailed description of murder victims will probably be a bit more than I can bear. Still, I've heard such great things about this book and how terrifyingly fascinating it is, so maybe I'll work up the courage eventually:)

  10. Great Halloween choice. I loved it. Can't wait for a sequel.

  11. This book sounds really intriguing! Great review!

  12. This book didn't really resonate with me like it did with other people but it was entertaining to read. I think the questions it asked was interesting and the characters were too. Wonderful review! :)

  13. Great review, I can't wait to read this one and the gruesome detail, totally looking forward to it.

    Have you read I am not a serial killer by Dan Wells? I loved it, highly recommend, bloggers are stating Hunt killers is similar also Dexter. BTW I wasn't impressed with Dexter.

  14. YES! Alison, I'm so happy you enjoyed this book. I read this and it gave me the creep the way the dad talked! *shudders* I can't wait to read the next book.

  15. I think I've heard of this and I'm really intrigued by the character Jazz. But, I do have a limit as to how much violence and gore I can tolerate, so I'm not sure about reading this one. Glad you enjoyed it, though! :)

  16. This one reminds me a little of the book I'm reading now, Rotters-- the dad in that one is a grave-robber. Sounds like a great read, from your review-- wish I'd gotten ahold of it before Halloween, but it's never too late to head to the bookstore. :) Great, comprehensive review.

  17. I'm very curious about this book, but I'm still thinking its too much for me, I'm not sure I could handle it. But still, I'm very curious...

  18. I am SO curious about this book now! I don't think I would have been before now. But Your review was brilliant! Jazz sounds like a great character. I think I will pick this one up.

    Thanks for the review!

    Sara @ Just Another Story


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