Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Let's Hear It For The Boys - I Hunt Killers by Barry Lyga

Published: April 3rd, 2012
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Pages: 361
Copy: Library
Summary: Goodreads

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?

I Hunt Killers is a very disturbing book.  Disturbing on so many levels - the subject matter, the violence, the potential for violence, it's underlying theme of Nature vs. Nurture.  Lyga has managed to get into the mind of a killer, or potential killer, and he lays open all the disturbing options and realms of possibility available.  Particularly disturbing is the way Jazz finds himself following his father's teachings just to get by.

'"It was a misunderstanding," he assured her, pouring on the charm.  He allowed his face to relax into a lazy grin, a "nothing's wrong in the whole wide world, darlin'" sort of smile that immediately put people at ease.  He'd learned it from watching Billy, and it was way too effective.  Also, it was far too easy to slip into.' (p181)

My heart broke for Jazz, for all he's had to go through and for his self-awareness - the double life he leads trying NOT to be a killer.  Connie and Howie are true friends, who know Jazz's background and accept him for what he is, not what he might become - a copy of his father.  It is a novel about acceptance - acceptance of colour, background and disabilities - and does not make assumptions.

Lyga has a wonderful way of describing people and events that is a little bit out of the ordinary, but gets right to the heart of the matter:

'He checked her pulse.  She was fine.  She would sleep soundly for hours.  He easily gathered her in his arms; Gramma was made up of skin and bones and hate and crazy - and hate and crazy don't weigh anything.' (p183)

In spite of the above, or because of it, I Hunt Killers is primarily a roller-coaster thrill ride that will have your heart pounding as you try to solve the mystery.  Who is the killer?  And just when you think you've got it all sorted out, think again, Lyga throws in a twist that will have your heart pounding all over again.  An exciting, unusual thriller that will have you begging for more!

1 comment:

  1. I am regretting not picking this up when I saw it at the Strand during my trip to New York now. It's not in my local book store so I'll have to order it and wait for it to arrive.