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?
Audiobook, Unabridged download, 9 pages
Published April 3rd 2012 by Audiogo
Four And a Half Stars: A chilling, thought provoking book about the monsters that walk amongst us.
Jasper Dent clutches his binoculars tightly. He is watching the police comb over a murder scene. A body was found in a field in Jasper's home town. Jazz knows deep down in his gut that this is the work of another serial killer. How would a seventeen year old boy possibly know that a serial killer is hunting in Lobos Nod? Jazz knows because he is the son of one of the most famous and notorious serial killers of all time: Billy Dent. Billy believed that his son was destined to be the next great serial killer so Jazz spent his childhood learning about murder. Billy was caught and imprisoned when Jazz was thirteen. Since then, Jazz has spent the last four years trying to convince not only himself but also the rest of the world that he is not killer. When a killer strikes close to home, Jazz knows this is his opportunity to prove to the rest of the world that he is not his father's son. The question is will nurture conquer nature?
What I Liked:
- Wow! All I can say is that I Hunt Killers is a haunting, chilling and horrifying look at the monsters (serial killers) that walk among us. This book gives us a terrifying look into the mind of a serial killer. It is not for the scaredy cats and squeamish. Yet, it is so much more than blood, gore, violence and killers. At the heart of the story is the long running debate of nature vs. nurture wrapped up in the main character: Jazz. Jazz is a young man who not only has the DNA of a serial killer, but also his upbringing was by a murderer. Jazz has two strikes against him. Was he born as a serial killer or will the nurturing of his father make him one? Or will his own nature conquer and let him be a good person? I was thrilled to explore this weighty topic in this book.
- Jazz is a complex character, one I won't forget. He is a seventeen year old boy who was reared by a monster. Billy schooled Jazz on how to think like a serial killer and how to kill. However, Jazz is determined to never ever follow in his father's footsteps. He struggles daily with his nurture vs. nature. He is troubled and flawed and fighting so hard to rise above his past, his father and all the accusing stares. He wants to prove to the world that he is not his father by catching a serial killer. I loved watching Jazz put together the pieces as he helped track the killer. He is able to think like a killer because he was taught how by one of the best. All the while, he is desperately trying to maintain his humanity and goodness. Talk about the weight of the world on your shoulders! Jazz is a terrific protagonist and I loved rooting for him. I want so desperately for him to rise above his past.
- Along with Jazz, there is a solid cast of secondary characters. One of my favorites was Howie, Jazz's best friend and sidekick. Howie is a hemophiliac, prone to bruising, bleeding and easily damaged. Yet, that doesn't stop him from assisting Jazz. Howie made me laugh with his snappy lines and antics. I only wished there was more of him. Connie, Jazz's girlfriend, was such a strong, caring and courageous girl. She is African American and dating the son of a notorious serial killer, imagine the whispers going around town about her. She refuses to give up on Jazz because she can see that inside he is inherently good, and that he isn't a monster, even though Jazz tries to convince her otherwise. I loved how strong she was and that she never backed down. The local sheriff, G. Williams, was a surprise. I so appreciated that Mr. Lyga never made the sheriff or the rest of the police force seem inadequate or bumbling. So often in YA mystery/thrillers the local law enforcement is painted as being incompetent so the brilliant teenager can swoop in and solve the crime. G. Williams is competent and smart and he was the one who trapped Jazz's dear old dad. I liked the relationship Jazz had with G. Williams, and I enjoyed the way they worked together. Rounding out the cast is Billy Dent. Granted, most of Billy's portion in the book is flashbacks and echoes of his voice in Jazz's head, but that doesn't diminish his role. He is absolutely terrifying. A true monster and yet so fascinating.
- I have long been intrigued by serial killers. I grew up in the eighties when several notorious serial killers were hunted down. As a psychology major, I wrote a research paper on serial killers, and I spent hours trying to wade through the evidence to see whether some of the big serial killers were products of nature vs. nurture, and guess what? There is no definitive answer. I appreciated that Mr. Lyga has done his homework and researched the serial killer. His creation, Billy Dent, is chilling and accurate. It will make you think twice when encountering a charming stranger. Mr. Lyga brilliantly balances the whole nature vs. nurture issue in his book. I don't think it can ever be determined whether a serial killer is born bad or if they become a killer through environmental triggers, and Mr. Lyga delivers this same train of thought in his book.
- The mystery and suspense in this one are top notch. I actually gasped aloud as I listened to this as I got to the climax and the killer was revealed. I admit, I had a premonition of who it was right before the big reveal, but truly it was a riveting mystery. The pace never lags and the story builds and builds up to a terrifying and thrilling conclusion that left me begging for more. The good thing is that due to my procrastination, I don't have to wait, I can jump right into the next book!
- I listened to the audiobook version of this one. Charlie Thurston is brilliant. He does an excellent job with all the different voices. His accents and portrayals of all the characters are believable. I loved how different each voice was. I personally thought his rendition of Grandma and Billy Dent were terrific. I highly recommend the audio version of this book. It is top notch!
And The Not So Much:
- First and foremost, this book is not for the faint of heart. There is violence, gore and several disturbing scenes. The downside to listening to the audio was that I couldn't skim over the gruesome parts. One scene in particular with Jazz's dog was horrible. I had to turn down the volume because it was too much. Still don't be afraid of this one, it is so worth the read.
- I felt like I was missing a big portion of the back story. Throughout the book, there are numerous flashbacks of Jazz's life with Billy before his arrest. Yet, I still didn't have a firm picture of Jazz's upbringing. I wanted to know so much more. Especially when it came to Jazz's mother and her relationship with Billy, and Jazz's early life. I also wished that there was a bit more discussion on how Jazz and Connie came to be. I did like, though, that the book didn't waste time on a romance, so I appreciated that Connie and Jazz were together from the get go.
- Can you say cliffhanger???? The book ends with a HUGE development and lots of loose ends. I wanted so much more. I need some answers now! Good thing the next book is out.
I Hunt Killers is a brilliant and horrifying look at serial killers. It is book that wrestles constantly with the age old nature vs. nurture debate in the form of Jazz. Will a boy born with genes of killer and raised to be a killer turn into a murderer? Read the book and find out. This is a book that will haunt you and entrap you with its thrilling plot and chilling story. A must read for anyone who loves a good psychological thriller or for anyone who wants a darn good story. I am eagerly digging into book two! Don't miss this one.
I borrowed a copy of this book from the library. All opinions are my own and I was not compensated for this review.