Monday, November 5, 2012

Book Review: I Hunt Killers

GoodReads synopsis:

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?


            The main character in I Hunt Killers is Jasper ‘Jazz’ Dent. His father is Billy Dent, one of the novels infamous serial killers, and dear old dad raised Jazz to be just like him. For example, when most kid’s dads are teaching them to ride a bike, Jazz was learning how to cut a dog just right so he doesn’t die too quickly. So when we see Jazz for the first time, it’s not surprising that he’s hidden just inside a wooded area and he’s using a pair of binoculars to watch the Lobo’s Nod police bumble around a murder scene. It’s a bit skeevy to be sure. Especially since the murder victim, a young and pretty college girl, is lying lifeless and nude in the middle of the field. However, what is surprising is the reason why Jazz is watching. He’s looking for clues so he can catch the killer.

            As you can see, unique characters are where this story excels. Let’s start with Jazz. He really is his own worst enemy. He’s clinical and withdrawn most of the time, and struggles to keep from being that way. Lots of time he has to receipt “people matter…people are real” to himself just to resist any urges to slip into the world he’s been so trained for. Luckily for Jazz he has the help of his best friend Howie, who’s a tall and gangling hemophiliac, and his girlfriend Connie. It’s truly his relationship with these two that Jazz becomes the most human. For his best friend, Jazz gets whatever tattoo Howie wants so he can live vicariously through him. Together they’re usually up to something illegal like breaking into the sheriff’s office to examine the dead girls body for more clues. With Connie, he lets out almost all his inner demons with. She’s always there for him, listening and helping him through personal traumas, and like a lot of black girls, she doesn’t put up with any of his crap.

            Of course as good as the characters chemistry are together, there still has to be a story. There is a serial killer on the loose and against the sheriff wishes, Jazz seems to be the only one who can catch him. It’s a fairly straight forward plotline. Of course when most people think of serial killer, they think of the sociopath like Dexter from Showtime. Here’s another area where Barry Lyga’s storytelling genius comes into play. Not only does he realize that there are more than just one kind of serial killer, but he give us a small entertaining education on it.

            There is one small issue with this story though. It’s not for everyone. If I had to come up with a target audience, it would definitely be a guy book. That’s not to say that girls won’t enjoy it but if they’re more into the paranormal romances where the human girl falls for the immortal bad boy, the books not going to work. However if you’re a fan of shows like Criminal Minds and Dexter, or if you’ve ever liked a good mystery novel, then yeah, this is a great novel with a killer ending. Can’t wait for the sequel.

4.75 out of 5 stars.



  1. My 12 yo son and I both loved the book. Can't wait for the sequel.

    I thought the level of romance was great. My son skipped over those parts, but there was enough there to make me happy. And I'm very fussy when it comes to romance in YA. It has to be there.

  2. I've always thought that every novel needs a little romance in it in someway or it won't feel natural. So yes, I agree that this book had just the right amount. Too bad your son skipped it. He missed some really good character insight.