Publication Date: April 3rd, 2012
Little, Brown BYR
Format: Hardcover, 359 pages
RATING: 4 out of 5 Stars
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?
Who’d be the best profiler than a person close enough to the most notorious serial killer ever? Jasper Francis Dent, that’s who. His father’s legacies include: a recurring nightmare where he was showing him how it felt and how easy it was to cut through a victim’s flesh and the most damning of all, Billy Dent’s inescapable voice ringing pointers in his head on the best way to subdue a victim, the best way to dispose of a body and the best way to get away with murder.
It is almost predestined that an impressionable seventeen year-old son of a serial killer would follow in his father’s footsteps. But amongst the tarrying voice of Billy Dent in Jasper’s head, is the overwhelming awareness of the morality and consequences of his actions. He struggled; boy, did he ever. At times when he’s overcome with seething anger and the temptation to wrap his hand around someone’s neck was so severe, was when his father’s voice was the loudest.
Jasper’s scariest trait, I thought was his intelligence. His ability to go a step ahead of the killer and the cops was what made him dangerous – even more so than his cache of knowledge in torture, killing, and the best ways to dispose of a body.
Besides the glorious gore, the main attraction of this book for me was to find out just how much of an influence Billy Dent had on his son. There were instances when I was sure he was going to snap; times when he couldn’t drown out his father’s voice or his predilection to do what everyone expected of him. But somehow, he’d manage to overcome it all. Connie kept him sane; Howie, the hemophiliac best friend, kept him grounded. Even crazy grandma became a constant reminder of what he refused to be.
In a sick, twisted way, Billy Dent bonded with his son when he was still around. In fact, despite his psychotic, murderous tendencies, you could even say that he tried being a father, albeit it was the worst fathering in the history of dysfunctional familial relations. But he’d never once lay a finger on him. His urges to inflict pain were isolated to his victims.
Barry Lyga was dedicated to keeping this as close to real as possible and it showed with every detail of every murders, every steps in the investigation and the scary, psychopathic workings of a demented mind. I also liked that he was positively unapologetic about the violent way each victim was killed, which is material if you intend to write a book about a serial killer.
VERDICT: Must-read, well written, genuine. I don’t seek out suspense/thriller in the YA genre and it’s primarily because it’s really not my cup of tea. I Hunt Killers was not a surprise hit on my shelves and it’s because I’ve wanted it so badly I could almost taste it. Readers should have caution that this book, though sometimes a bit humorous, may still be too gory for your taste. I, however, revelled in it. I can’t wait to read the next one.