Monday, November 17, 2014

I Hunt Killers (Jasper Dent #1) by Barry Lyga

Release Date: April 3, 2012
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
Series: Jasper Dent series, Book I

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars.

Jasper "Jazz" Dent was an unwilling celebrity in his small hometown of Lobo's Nod when the law discovered his father was the worst serial killer in history. With his father convicted and behind bars, Jasper spent the last four years trying to live a "normal" teenage life while living with his grandmother. His two closest friends, Connie and Howie, kept him ground when the dark thoughts threatened to overtake him.

When bodies began piling up in the small town for a second time, Jasper couldn't shake the feeling that his special knowledge was important to the investigation. If he didn't help, more people would die and the blood would be on his hands. What he didn't know was how far the killer would go to protect his work. Can Jasper find the killer without giving in to the dark desires? Will he be able to survive at all?

A late-night scouring of the available titles at NetGalley led me to requesting this title by Barry Lyga. Intrigued from the beginning, I was glad to discover that this book didn't disappoint. I often wondered what became of the children born to those so evil. This book took one of the paths available and explored as many nooks and crannies as possible. From the beginning, it was apparent how special of a kid Jasper truly was. I do mean special in a weird and intriguing way.

Most of the book was centered around Jasper and his attempts to find his place within the small, backwoods town that he called home. Being a teenager was hard under the most normal of circumstances, but when you were the son of a famous serial killer, life was unbearable. The only bright spots in his life were his girlfriend, Connie, and his best friend, Howie. They kept him centered when the lessons his father taught him threatened to push him over the edge. While dealing with all this, a gnawing feeling that a second serial killer at work in their town kept him awake at night and in trouble with the local sheriff.

Right away the conflict within Jasper and with the world around him permeated the story. It was a bit odd to start reading and see a teen with night-scope binoculars watching police investigate a body found in the middle of a farm field. There wasn't much of a change in pace as it was full on from the first chapter. Each interaction between the characters dropped tidbits of information that kept me turning the pages. Not only did this book explore the theory of nature versus nurture in relation to Jasper going up to be a serial killer or not, the entire story explored the meaning of family and whether being bond by blood was the only acceptable definition of family. Now, I don't give spoilers in my reviews if I can help it, but what happened at the end of the book threw everything on its head.

Overall, I really enjoyed this book. It was a refreshing twist on the serial killer genre and put a spotlight on the part of a serial killer's life that's often fallen by the wayside - the family. I liked how honest Jasper was with himself about the desires and remorse that he felt and the lengths he went to in order to stay grounded. It was admirable to see him face down his inner demons and use his knowledge to help instead of destroy. I'm anxious to see how future books play out and whether Jasper is ever tempted to take that one little step into the darkside. If you love a twisting, turning, strangely enduring and unique type of serial killer story, I would definitely put this book on your TBR list!

I Hunt Killers (Jasper Dent #1) by Barry Lyga is currently available at many retailers in various formats including hardcover, paperback, audio-book and digital including Kindle. The link provided below leads to the book's Amazon page.
I Hunt Killers (Jasper Dent #1) by Barry Lyga

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