Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Book Review: I Hunt Killers by Barry Lyga

Hello everyone! TBF is only a little over a week away! For my last book review this season I read I Hunt Killers by Barry Lyga. It was a little different from what I normally read but it was a blast!

Jazz is a likable teenager. A charmer, some 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 criminals' point of view.

And now, even though Dad has been in jail for years, bodies are piling up in the sleepy town of Lobo's Nod. Again.

In an effort to prove murder doesn't run in the family, Jazz joins the police in the hunt for this new serial killer. But Jazz has a secret--could he be more like his father than anyone knows?

When you find out that a criminal had a difficult childhood, it’s kind of society’s reaction to think oh that’s why they grew up to be like that. In a way, this book challenges that quick assumption by giving us a character who's probably more susceptible to their mentally scarring childhood than anyone in real life- Jazz, son of the most prolific serial killer of his time. This story really imparts to us that a person is not necessarily the product of their upbringing, and that there is always a choice.

This story is on some level a struggle between nature and nurture. Jazz struggles with not knowing whether he is fundamentally good or bad, and morally gray characters like him are my favorite. There’s a lot of internal conflict as Jazz struggles to emerge out of his father’s shadow, and his moments of hopelessness and inner turmoil make him more human. He’s desperate to prove to others, and possibly to himself, that nature will triumph over nurture. His mentality as a “could-be” killer is fascinating, and I found he just drew me into the story (and it definitely helped that he has the type of dark and deadpan humor I really appreciate). And his friends too- I adored Howie and Connie. They were very much their own independent characters while still providing their unending support to Jazz.

I also love the attention to detail regarding crime in this novel, and how it’s not just from the side of the law. The advice that Jazz’s father used to give him provides us with an interesting perspective, however sick and twisted it is. And I think that’s what makes serial killers so morbidly fascinating- their mentalities, their motives, their thought processes are so twisted and different- and this book brings us along to discover them.

In all, this novel reminds me a little of Sherlock Holmes with a twist and I would recommend it to anyone who likes crime shows.

Wishing everyone an amazing time at TBF 2018!


Find I Hunt Killers at GoodreadsBarnes & Noble, and the Monroe County Library System

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