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Psycho Killer, Qu’est Que C’est

Megan reviews I Hunt Killers by Barry Lyga, a novel that follows a typical teenage boy...who just happens to be the son of the world's most notorious serial killer.

Psycho Killer, Qu’est Que C’est

BOOK REPORT for I Hunt Killers by Barry Lyga

Cover Story: Bloody Surprise
BFF Charm: Yep
Swoonworthy Scale: 4
Talky Talk: Dark Passenger
Bonus Factor: Serial Killers
Relationship Status: Killer With a Heart of Gold

Cover Story: Bloody Surprise

This cover is dark and sinister, exactly what you’d expect for a book full of murder and mystery. It looks like it could pass as the cover for any adult thriller novel. That said, typical thriller covers don’t exactly do much for me. They all end up looking pretty generic and uninspired to me. BUT! This cover has a surprise! Once you remove the dust jacket, underneath you find a completely blood splattered book. It’s awesome and disgusting and I had a lot of fun carrying this book around sans dust jacket.

The Deal:

Imagine the world’s worst serial killer. Brutal, unpredictable, prolific and on the loose for decades. Now imagine that guy is your dad.

That scenario is a reality for Jasper “Jazz” Dent. He has been living under the shadow of his father’s notoriety, ever since the infamous Billy Dent’s capture. Despite being a bright, nice, good looking kid, Jazz feels like everyone in his hometown of Lobo’s Nod is just waiting for the day he too becomes a killer like his father. Jazz certainly doesn’t want to be a killer but he feels like both nature and nurture are weighing against him. So when a murder takes place in Lobo’s Nod for the first time since Billy Dent’s reign of terror, Jazz wants to help the local Sherriff solve the crime. Because if it is a serial killing, Jazz just might be able to put all of Billy’s sick training and lessons to a good use.

BFF Charm: Yep

Even though his dad kiiiinda kills people for a living, it doesn’t seem fair to hold someone’s family against them. So despite all that, I would still be open to being Jazz’s friend. Besides, Jazz is loyal, good-hearted and seems like he’s be fun to be around when he’s not fixating on trying to catch a serial killer. Because sorry Jazz, you will not be bringing me along to a morgue anytime soon. When he was young, Jazz initially met his BFF Howie by rescuing the hemophiliac Howie from a group of bullies. Jazz can be a bit manipulative (see example: morgue field trip), but that’s a learned trait so it’s hard to hold it against him. And, sure, Jazz is constantly questioning whether he could be a killer or not, but as long as he kept those doubts to himself, I think we’ll get along splendidly.

Swoonworthy Scale: 4

Jazz has a pretty serious relationship going with his girlfriend Connie. I like them as a couple because they’re supportive and good to each other. Connie is pretty no nonsense, which is a perfect fit for Jazz, who sometimes needs someone to snap him out of his awful thoughts and worries.  Though she does have to spend an inordinate amount of time trying to convince Jazz that he’s not a future serial killer, which would definitely be a mood killer.

Talky Talk: Dark Passenger

The majority of the novel follows Jazz from a third person perspective, but spends ample time getting into Jazz’s head and seeing things from his point of view.  A good deal of his time is spent trying to help solve a murder case.  The rest of his time is spent analyzing himself, his actions, and trying to figure out whether he is the same type of man as his father.  I mean, we are talking Dexter levels of voice over/self reflection.  For example, Jazz constantly gives himself pep talks about why human life is important:

People matter.  It was a tough lesson; it was the opposite of what Billy had taught Jazz all of his life.  All these people, you see ‘em, Billy would say at a ball game or at the park or in a movie theater or mall.  All these people aren’t real.  They don’t have real lives.  They don’t have hearts.  They don’t matter.  Only you matter.

It’s interesting but can be a little tiring since the reader is pretty easily convinced of Jazz’s goodness early on in the story.  Several smaller chapters take place from the perspective of our villain and his/her victims, which gives the book a nice, spooky touch.

Bonus Factor: Serial Killers

Real serial killers are fascinating but reading about them gives me the willies. So I prefer my books/movies/television to feature fictional serial killers. But most things I’ve seen or read take place from one of two perspectives: the serial killer or the person trying to catch them. Jazz’s role is that of a family member, which turns out to be an extremely complicated position for a character.

Casting Call:

Logan Lerman as Jazz

Logan is attractive in a way that could be a good cover up for some potential sociopathic tendencies, yes?

Keke Palmer as Connie

I haven’t seen Keke since Jump In! (AKA the best movie Corbin Bleu has starred in/will ever star in) but she’s cute and only a set of cornrows away from making a good Connie.

Relationship Status: Killer With a Heart of Gold

When I met up with this book, I thought it was going to be all blood n’ guts and scary times.  And while there was plenty of that, I was surprised to find this book had heart.  Jazz wasn’t just solving a mystery for us, he took us on an interesting character study.  That said, I was really happy when the end of the story became much more plot driven and really ratcheted up The Crazy.  Crazy enough, that I am looking forward to hanging out with its sequel.

FTC Full Disclosure: I received my review copy from Little, Brown. I received neither money nor cocktails for writing this review (dammit!). I Hunt Killers is available now.

Megan Crane's photo About the Author: Megan is an unabashed fangirl who is often in a state of panic about her inability to watch, read and play all the things.