Friday, May 04, 2012

Review: I Hunt Killers by Barry Lyga

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I Hunt Killers
Barry Lyga
Series: Jasper Dent, #1
Release date: April 3rd, 2012
by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

Goodreads / Purchase

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?

*A copy was provided by Hachette Book Group Canada for review purposes*

“A serial killer’s greatest ability is the ability to blend in”
-Quote from finished copy of I Hunt Killers


I love being in the mind of a serial killer. Is this bizarre? Maybe a little. But with an older sister at home, I skipped the fairy tales, instead I grew up watching Freddy Krueger and reading murder mysteries. Naturally, I Hunt Killers immediately attracted my interest with its serial killer’s son synopsis. Then when I removed the dust jacket and saw this:

 ♫ We’re here for a good time!


You have to admit, there is something fascinating about serial killers. The way they think, how they analyze and see the world. It’s no secret that they’re sociopaths, but in most cases they have very high IQs, making them highly interesting to study. These people are masterminds! In I Hunt Killers, being in the most notorious serial killer’s son’s head, we learn a lot about the ins and outs of this lifestyle. Jazz is such a captivating protagonist. He’s deeply disturbed by what his father has done, not just the killings themselves, but how he has was raised – to be his protege. He doesn’t want to be like his father, but is it too late? Is the damage done? It’s sad and it’s terrifying to be inside Jazz’s head. I questioned it all as much as he did. Is he sane? Is he dangerous? His best friend Howie is quite the opposite. He’s simple minded and a great supportive friend to Jazz. I adored him. Plain and simple. Together, they can be pretty amusing. I loved the added humor in this novel. It’s just the right amount to give it charm, while keeping the overall plot gritty and dangerous.

Howie: “What if the whole thing was just an accident?”
Jazz: “And what? Accidentally cut off three fingers postmortem? ‘Oops, oh no, my girlfriend just died! Clumsy me, in trying to perform CPR, I chopped off some fingers! Guess I’ll take them with me…Oh, darn, where did that middle finger go?’ “
-Quote from finished copy of I Hunt Killers


I can’t forget to mention his Grandma, oh lord is she hilarious. She’s senile, suspected to suffer from Alzheimer’s with bouts of delirium; she was never really right in the head to begin with. As you can imagine, this brings up some pretty amusing antics from her when cops and media are involved. Like crawling on the floor army-style with a kitchen knife; it’s distressing, really – but her delusions are priceless.

They’re gonna rape mongrel babies into me! Mongrel babies to kill white folks! And they’re gonna give me the AIDS to kill me off!” Grandma ranted 
-Quote from finished copy of I Hunt Killers


Faint of heart? Does it bother you to think of feeding human eyeballs to a cat? You may want to steer clear of this one. Although it’s considered YA, there is a fair amount of gore and plenty of blood running through these pages. Jazz can’t get away from his father constantly invading his thoughts, and now he has to find the one mimicking him; the story is definitely explicit and I appreciate that Lyga didn’t shy away from it. This rawness – it gives a convincing portrayal of a teenage killer’s son’s story.

The mystery itself is not insurmountable. There are two or three obvious choices that become quite apparent, but there is still an extra twist I didn’t expect, and the bigger storyline of Jazz figuring himself out is what’s at the heart of this book. The ending – exciting and alarming – opens up tons of possibilities for the sequel which I am greatly anticipating!


4 Hot Espressos
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Canadian blogger, wife, mother, coffee lover, and sarcastic at heart! She has had a love for all things bookish since before Amazon and eReaders existed *le gasp*. You can also find her organizing tours and other fun things at Xpresso Book Tours.
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33 Responses to “Review: I Hunt Killers by Barry Lyga”

  1. Novels On The Run

    OO wah!! Giselle ( like Ji-Selle) ha! Sorry , I hate getting names wrong, I do it soooo often, it’s like a part of me, rather embarrasing at times..anyhoo!! OO wah!!!! This sounds frightening and oddly intriguing as long as I am not on the list to be struck down. Grandma is hilarious, so some lighter moments..nice…oh gosh eyeballs to cats….oh you are losing me…ha!! I am reading a rather intriguing murder book at moment myself having trouble thinking what it’s called…Alex ( lady) is first name of author…anyhoo bit of mayhem going on:D:D

    Miii shell hehe!!!

  2. Jasprit

    I’ve read so many great reviews for this book already, so I’m glad you enjoyed it too! I like how this book blends in humour into a gory book! I will have to try and get a copy! Fab review Giselle

  3. J.R.

    I’ve been debating on wether I should read this book or not and now I think I have too. AWESOME review and I loved the quotes that you included 🙂

  4. Christina

    You’ve been on a creepy reading kick, haha.

    This sounds awesome. Also, I’m super impressed/creeped out by the cover under the dust jacket. That is really cool. I love when they put something there.

  5. Amy

    OMG I love the book cover under the dust jacket!! I have always liked thrillers and horror stuff too. I grew up reading Stephen King and Dean Koontz (one of my faves!) This book sounds like a book I would love!! Awesome review!!

  6. Nick

    I got this one this week and it seems so gruesome. I definitely have to check it out.
    Feeding human eyeballs to cats ?
    Sounds disgusting, but the quotes make me want to read.
    Awesome-sauce review, Giselle 😀

  7. sarabara081

    This one sounds sooooo good!! And I think the cover under the jacket is amazing! Is it bad that it makes me want it even more? LOL The premise is intriguing and I want to meet the grandma. Love hilarious characters like that. Great review! 🙂

  8. Nicola

    I feel like this book was written with me in mind! I love stuff like this. I think serial killers are incredibly fascinating even though I’m so easily scared. Great review, Giselle. I hope I can get my hands on a copy of this soon. Everyone is raving about it!

  9. Annette

    Great review. I just reviewed this one this week too. I didn’t even touch on the humor, but you are right — it added a lot to the book. Mine was from the library, so the dust jacket was taped on. At some point, I noticed the “red.” Hmmm. Wonder why there’s red on the book cover. So I lifted up the dust jacket and…wow! LOVED that touch. So sinister, and so appropriate for the book.

  10. Ashley Prince @ The Bibliophile's Corner

    This sounds amazing! I frequently watch documentaries on notorious serial killers because I love listening to them talk. They are charming, smart, and so creepy. I love it. Dear god…I’m weird.

    But seriously, this review is great and I can’t wait to read this book.

  11. Andrea @The Bookish Babes

    Yeah…this probably isn’t the book for me. I considered taking it on when I got the email from LB Kids, but decided I wouldn’t be the best person to read I Hunt Killers. It’s obvious is fascinating & the book is well-written, but I’m not a fam of yuck.
    I’m really glad you enjoyed the book. Great review!

  12. Lalaine

    Before anything else let me tell ya that I loved your new blog look! <3

    And wow this book sounds disturbing but intriguing. I have this too on my shelf and I cant wait to get started, well hopefully soon *sighs*

    Anyway great review Giselle! xoxo

    Ƹ̴Ӂ̴ƷFICBOOKREVIEWSƸ̴Ӂ̴Ʒ

  13. Heather@The Flyleaf Review

    Your’s is the second review of this book I have read, and I am just more and more intrigued. I think I like gallows humor a little too much, because I laugh at all the excerpts I read even when they are a bit (or a lot) disturbing! Great review Giselle. This book has definitely moved up a notch on my TBR list!

  14. Danny

    I admit, you made me curious!!! I read yoir review with strange facination.. I mean a serial killer? But, ti sounds like a great and very unique choice for a story.

    Funny you mentioned Freddy Krueger.. I watched it when I was 11 (YES!!) and had serious nightmares for years later… lol, but I can read about this, I just can’t watch stuff like this.. *puts hands before eyes and ears*

  15. bookworm105

    This sounds it’s a really good read! And Jazz’s grandma sounds so funny! Couldn’t stop laughing at that quote! Great review! 🙂

  16. Jen

    I loved this one! I’m so glad you enjoyed. I liked that it was rather gory, it made it feel like the writer didn’t worry about censoring it for a YA audience, but that his main character just happened to be a teen going through some stuff.

  17. Maja (The Nocturnal Library)

    I’m morbidly fascinated by serial killers, too. Jeffrey Dahmer is my favorite. Anyway, it’s true that most of them are highly intelligent which makes them even more intriguing.
    I’ve had my eye on this book for quite some time and I even have a copy. I just hope I’ll find time for it soon.

  18. Amber Hughes

    Love your review & the quotes you chose! It’s great to know that there is humor in the book too. I’ve heard great things about this book and it was definitely on my TBR. I think I will be purchasing this today 🙂

  19. Mel - Thedailyprophecy.

    Gore and plenty of blood? I actually quite like that in a book if it really has a purpose for the story. It sounds good! Serial killers are, indeed, fascinating.. Their way of thinking scares me, but it’s intuiging to read about.

    And my boyfriends name is Jasper, so that would be funny to read in a book :p

    Awesome review, Giselle!

  20. Mimi Valentine

    Giselle, I think I want to be you when I grow up! Or at least I wish I was a little more like you when I was a kid — because you love zombies and you grew up with Freddy Krueger and you always write grin-worthy reviews! :’) <3 I actually love being in the mind of serial killers too (like the killers from Kimberly Derting's books!), and the fact that there's some awesome humor in this book makes me want to read it even more!

    Amazing review, Giselle! <3 And if I read this for anything, it'd totally be for the grandma LOL! x)

  21. Jennifer Messerschmidt

    I want this book! I LOVE being in the mind of a serial killer! LOL It is weird and I have been told my love of Dexter might edge on unhealthy but it is fascinating stuff! I’m not easily disturbed so I should enjoy this although I don’t like people messing with cats so feeding eyeballs to cats is kind of gross. But some of the Dexter books were super disturbing and I read those so I’ll be fine! 😀

  22. Sam

    I won this book in a contest and I can’t wait to read it. There IS something really fascinating about serial killers! Great review Giselle. 🙂

  23. Rebecca

    I think it’s super interesting being in their heads as well in books! Or even focusing on them in TV series such as Criminal minds. It’s definitely interesting (even if everything like this creeps me out.)

    I’m really glad you enjoyed it and an unexpected extra twist, definitely sounds like a good deal! I can’t wait to read it.