I Hunt Killers – Barry Lyga

I Hunt Killers


Bantam Books (Transworld Publishers a division of the Random House Group)

My Rating – 4 Stars

Not for the faint-hearted, I Hunt Killers is a multi-layered, rollercoaster ride of a tale filled with characters who you would be well advised to cross the road to avoid.  I thought I’d left serial killers far behind me, in the dim and distant past, when I devoured anything written by Thomas Harris and Patricia Cornwell…before she went off the boil.  It came as a big surprise to me when I was so quickly sucked into the story of seventeen year old Jasper (Jazz) Kent and his “dear old dad” who just happens to be one of the  world’s most prolific serial killers.  Daddy is safely tucked up in high security prison but the sins of the father might very well be visited on the son  as Jazz faces a daily struggle wondering if he has inherited the “killer” gene. 

Jazz’s internal struggle is compounded by the discovery of a dead body in his small home-town.  Getting into the mind of a serial killer is a sure-fire way of tracking down another killer but much as Jazz wants to assist the local sheriff in his investigation, he is terrified that by doing so he will unleash his own demons and destroy any chance he has of a “normal” life.  It’s the classic nature versus nurture debate although the odds are stacked against Jazz on both sides given his inauspicious roots and his education in “How to be a Sociopath” thanks to Dear Old Dad again.

Yes, there is blood and gore but this is counterbalanced by comic moments coming from Jazz’s interactions with his goofy haemophiliac sidekick, Howie.  His remarkably understanding girlfriend Connie manages to keep him steady but there’s this constant underlying tension throughout the novel both within Jazz himself and within this quiet community – surely lightning couldn’t strike twice and they can have a break from that serial killer tag?

A gripping psychological thriller which will hook those at the older end of the YA range, I would hazard a guess that it will appeal mostly to 15+ boys.  Serial killers are not renowned for their pleasanteries so be prepared for upsetting scenes and be warned that there is extreme cruelty to animals.  If  you can get past all that…you are in for a treat and it looks like this is the first in a series with television rights sold to Warner Bros so Mr Lyga seems to have struck the right chord.

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  1. SazzyMCH says:

    Great review. One for the old wishlist!

  2. admin says:

    Thanks, Sarah, I think you’d really like it. If you let me know your new addy when you relocate I can send it onto you.

  3. SazzyMCH says:

    Thank you, that’s very kind x

  4. From the cover this looks like one of those typical brutal gory gangland thrillers but your review makes it sound much more appealing and a bit quirky (I’m especially intrigued by the ‘goofy haemophiliac sidekick’!). Interesting!

  5. admin says:

    I don’t think it would suit your maiden-aunt, Marie but it’s a read I would have enjoyed as a teen – lucky teens these days have much more choice of reading material!

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