Thursday, December 18, 2014

I Hunt Killers by Barry Lyga

Jazz Dent knows serial killers - his father was one of the most notorious ones out there, after all. And dear old dad raised his son to follow in his footsteps, something Jazz fears to no end. But Jazz's knowledge about how a serial killer thinks and works could come in handy. When it appears a new killer has set his eye on Lobo's Nod, Jazz's own hometown, the teen is determined to put his knowledge to work in tracking - and hopefully stopping - the killer before it's too late. 

This first book in the Jasper Dent series introduces readers to a teen character with some real issues: Jasper - Jazz - suffers nightmares thanks to his dad's particular type of parenting and spends much of his time worrying over whether he will end up a sociopath. Most of his time, in fact. It's why he's so interested in serial killers - so that he can constantly monitor his own thoughts and behavior in comparison.

The discovery of a body in Lobo's Nod is shocking and yet Jazz is the only one to immediately come to the conclusion that it's a serial killer. Along with his friend, Howie, Jazz combs the crime scene and even breaks into the morgue to find more evidence to support his theory. It helps that the sheriff is set up as a character particularly sympathetic to Jazz's situation because our lead does have more than one run-in with the law that obviously would get him in pretty deep trouble were that not the case.

I can say that Lyga does a great job getting me to suspend my disbelief here. G. William helps sell the case that Jazz could and would be involved in the investigation to the extent that he is - and have his other deeds excused the way they are. It's almost a bit over the top, but honestly I liked it so I went with it.

Obviously a book like this is going to draw comparison to Dexter. How could it not? The main difference - in this first outing at least - is that Jazz isn't a killer and doesn't have any killer tendencies. He's driven by proving this fact and by doing something good. I can't promise this won't remain the case in the two later books as I've not yet read them..

I feel I should warn those who might be a bit faint of heart that while this is a teen thriller, it's still pretty dark and graphic.

Rating: 4/5

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