I Hunt Killers (Jasper Dent #1) by Barry Lyga (2012)
YA Fiction | Crime Thriller
“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?”
pooled ink Review:
Creepy but spectacular! (Although if you’re squeamish then you might not want to read this book. I had to speed read over those scenes. Ew.)
Serial killers and psychopaths are no doubt the scariest of all because they look normal and walk among us. Blending in with their fellow humans is their greatest skill, right next to slaughtering neighbor and stranger alike. And Billy Dent? Well he’s the greatest of them all. No reason, no pattern, he just loves the hunt and thrill of the kill. He just loves the power, the control, and hearing that soft delicate sound right as their soul leaves their body. Billy Dent made it into triple digits before getting caught, and some even wonder if he broke his golden rule and got caught on purpose, because honestly he’s too smart to have been caught by some townie sheriff with a stroke of good luck.
But that’s all over now. Billy Dent is in prison serving too many life sentences to matter. This book takes place a few years after that circus and follows none other than Jasper “Jazz” Dent, the world’s most infamous killer’s only son.
Just because his father was a serial killer doesn’t mean Jazz is destined to be one, but where nature stands on shaky ground, nurture holds on tight. From birth Jazz was taught how to wield knives, weapons, how to disassemble bodies, how to avoid leaving behind evidence, how to manipulate anyone for anything. He was taught that his father and him were different, better than the sheep around them. Jazz got a childhood with a front row seat in the murdering business and only four years of living free from his father’s influence. But even so, Jazz can’t help what he learned, what he grew accustomed to, what a part of him years to know. And he can’t escape a fragmented memory of having done it once before.
A new serial killer has stepped into Jazz’s small town styling his kills after none other than Billy Dent’s and despite the Sheriff’s reluctance to admit that another serial killer is on the loose on his turf, Jazz might be the only one who can stop them.
This book has been on my to-read list for ages and I’m glad I finally got around to it! It was so good! And very disturbing. But it really held my attention even when it was grossing me out. (Yeah, fair warning, this book is about a serial killer so if you don’t like crime scene details then definitely DO NOT read this book. I did not enjoy those parts haha but the story wouldn’t have been the same without them).
Something I really liked about this book was the psychology behind every step. The psychology of Billy Dent, of The Impressionist, of the cops, of Jazz’s innocent friends, and especially of Jazz himself. The nature vs. nurture debate will go on until the end of time but it really comes to a head in this story. Jazz doesn’t want to kill people, or to hurt them, or to be anything like his father. But he can’t deny the simple fact that he’d be great at it, after all it’s what he was trained for since birth. Jazz doesn’t want to be some crazy killer and yet the worst of crime scenes don’t faze him, he gets a little thrill knowing he can manipulate even the best of ’em to get whatever he wants. Jazz wants to be good and normal and free of Billy’s influence yet he can’t deny that a small part of him thrills at the idea of just doing it once, just to know what it really feels like, to hear that small soft sound that supposedly accompanies a soul exiting a body.
Honestly I think Jazz needs a really good shrink haha. His friends just don’t get it. Not really. They might have faith in Jazz (which he desperately clings to) but it’s frustrating to both Jazz and I how easily they dismiss his worries. Yeah, sure, not killing people is a choice but what they don’t seem to get is that for Jazz it’s not always the easiest choice. (Honestly his friends were definite typical side characters, Jazz is who kept me interested in the story). And that circles us back to what I loved most about this book, the psychology woven through every moment.
And the ending!! This is only the first book in the trilogy and WOW that ending was fantastic and I’m both terrified and excited to read what comes next.
I’ve always been fascinated by abnormal psychology (D.I.D., psychopaths, sociopaths, etc.) but choosing to write this book from the son’s POV was such a brilliant choice. Definitely a different angle that is even more fascinating to hear from.
If you’re at all a fan of thrillers, crime shows, mysteries, or psychology, then definitely add this book to your list! And from what I hear this series only gets more intense with each book leading up to one showdown of an ending.
Terrifying, intriguing, repulsive, and addicting, I Hunt Killers will keep you rapt with attention as you devour this story of a serial killer’s son battling fate until it leaves you afraid to sleep at night yet desperate to know what happens next. An absolute must-read for fans of nightmares and justice.
P.S. You know the old joke about writers being the best killers because of all the research they have to do for their books? Yeah, I’d be a bit wary around this guy haha
Purchase Here: I Hunt Killers
Meet Barry Lyga!
Barry Lyga is a recovering comic book geek. According to Kirkus, he’s also a “YA rebel-author.” Somehow, the two just don’t seem to go together to him.
When he was a kid, everyone told him that comic books were garbage and would rot his brain, but he had the last laugh. Raised on a steady diet of comics, he worked in the comic book industry for ten years, but now writes full-time because, well, wouldn’t you?
The Astonishing Adventures of Fanboy & Goth Girl is his first novel. Unsoul’d is his latest. There are a whole bunch in between, featuring everything from the aftermath of child abuse to pre-teens with superpowers to serial killers. He clearly does not know how to stick to one subject.