I received this book for free from Hachette Book Group Canada in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.Game by Barry Lyga
Series: Jasper Dent #2
Published by Little Brown BfYR on April 16 2013
Genres: Thriller, YA
Source: Hachette Book Group Canada
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Billy grinned. “Oh, New York,” he whispered. “We’re gonna have so much fun.”
I Hunt Killers introduced the world to Jazz, the son of history’s most infamous serial killer, Billy Dent.
In an effort to prove murder didn’t run in the family, Jazz teamed with the police in the small town of Lobo’s Nod to solve a deadly case. And now, when a determined New York City detective comes knocking on Jazz’s door asking for help, he can’t say no. The Hat-Dog Killer has the Big Apple–and its police force–running scared. So Jazz and his girlfriend, Connie, hop on a plane to the big city and get swept up in a killer’s murderous game.
*This review is spoiler free for book 1 and this sequel!*
Before I went into YA my favorite novels were criminal mysteries and serial killer type stories. Then my favorite among them were the ones dealing with profilers. There is just something incredibly fascinating about seeing how these guys can take one small and seemingly insignificant detail of a crime scene, and tell you who the killer is in the most intimate of way. Game brought back the reasons why I loved these types of books; there are truly sick people in this world and it’s shocking to get into their heads. True to its name, Jasper’s father brings us into an exhilarating game in this fast-paced sequel.The characters I so loved in I Hunt Killers are back with just as much wit and charm as in book 1. We’re privy to a few different POVs that I found worked great to bring up the intensity and intrigue: We see what every character is up to simultaneously, giving us the full 360 of this puzzle-filled plot. Jasper himself is still struggling with his own self-identity. Is he going to fall prey to his father’s brainwashing ways? Does he have an underlying instinct, or need, to kill as well? His character is as compelling as it is a psychological study. I love being in his head, trying to figure him out as well. What would it be like to have been raised by the most notorious serial killer? Some kind of effed up! The side characters are not put aside either. Howie, especially, gives this book all the humour it needs and then some. This guy made me guffaw with his come-ons to Jasper’s aunt. I think every single scene he appears in shows us a side of his hilarious personality; be it his amusing reasonings or creative ways to laugh at himself, you can’t help but love this fella! He’s also exceptionally loyal and that makes him awesome in my book!This book does in fact bring up its game when it comes to gory details. If you’ve read and enjoyed I Hunt Killers then you’ve been well prepared–though this sequel is fairly more gross than its predecessor. Several instances of disembowelments are involved, along with lots of eyeballs–even an explanation on how easy they are to remove. Some very noteworthy stuff in here! There really wasn’t much difference in the gore factor than most of the adult crime thriller books I’ve read so it’s clearly meant for more mature YA. This makes it real, though; serial killing is rarely a clean job and all. There were definitely some parts of the plot that were less realistic, however. No matter how famous of a serial killer is his father, I’m wary to believe that NYPD would start calling on a 17 year old kid to help with a case. A case that we know all along is linked to Billy Dent, but they don’t, so how… convenient? There were also details that Jasper discovers in the crime scene pictures that are hard to believe competent NYPD investigators (and FBI, even) wouldn’t have deciphered themselves. Fortunately these details weren’t a real bother for the story, it was just a underlying fact I had to look over. For the most part it was a convincing scenario of a messed up serial killer case that became a blast to figure out. While I did predict pieces of it, I was blind to the way it all fit together until it was revealed.
Oh, but I think you forgot something, Mr. Lyga! How about an ending! *sobs quietly* He truly leaves us hanging in the end, and we get two major cliffhangers that are going to make the wait extremely long for the third book! If it was a TV series, this episode would have ended with “… To Be Continued”. Likely with sinister music and all that jazz! This series continues to be the perfect read for fans of Dexter everywhere!