Monday, May 14, 2012

My Thoughts: I Hunt Killers by Barry Lyga


Published: April 3, 2012
Little, Brown Books
359 pages, hardcover
Source: publisher
GR Summary: 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?


I think I lost quite a bit of my sanity in the process of reading I Hunt Killers. To say this book is not for the faint of heart (mind, stomach, etc.) is a bit of an understatement. It's similar to saying "Damon Salvatore is easy on the eyes, I suppose," or "cheese might be the in the top 100 foods of all time." (PLEASE. It's the best food.) Another understatement? To say that my attention was piqued a little by Barry Lyga's I Hunt Killers. Bish, please. My attention was shanghaied and held captive for the full 359.

This is the best serial killer book I've ever read. Not that my track record is extensive, but HOLY CRAP. Do I even NEED to read any others? I've been captivated by those serial killer shows before, but this seemed more real, more threatening than any real person I've seen on those murder documentaries. To read about Billy Dent--a man and father who has tortured, tormented, sexually assaulted, and purposefully and jovially disfigured the bodies of over a hundred women and men--through the eyes of his son, Jasper "Jazz" Dent was positively frightening. I dreaded that italicized print that meant Jazz was reliving one of the many, for lack of a better term, murder lessons from his father. Realizing through Jasper all his similarities to his father practically had me shielding my eyes because I DIDN'T WANT IT TO BE TRUE.

This book was visceral. I could feel it in my freaking bones. And I, the genius that I am, figured it'd be a good idea to stay up until crazy hours to finish this book. I Hunt Killers MESSED WITH MY MIND. I found myself thinking, in my delirious, overtired state, "wait, is he talking to Jazz or me? Is this book real? IS BILLY DENT MY FREAKING FATHER?" And long after I finished, even after looking at recipes and cat photos on Pinterest, found my brain always led me back to Billy Dent.

I think the scariest part of this book, other than Jasper questioning his own motives and goodness, was that Billy Dent was so matter-of-fact and happy at his "accomplishments." Dude legitimately thought he was doing a pleasurable, positive thing. He didn't see people as people. Just conquests. PROSPECTS. And the fact that Barry Lyga could write this character so flawlessly and fluidly? Well, that scares me. But in a good way. And that ending will haunt me until the sequel is released. I foresee many more nights of Billy creeping into my brain randomly and causing me to pull up my covers just a little tighter.

I Hunt Killers is so different from any book I would normally read. A mystery at the core, it's also a boy's struggle between what he knows to be right and what his murderous father taught him to be right. This is a horribly disturbing read. There's blood, gore, ostentatious killing without remorse that is almost sportly. But oh man, this is horror at its finest. The worst kind of horror. The dark, gnarled insides of a killer/s mind through a boy who just might be a killer himself.

Buy I Hunt Killers... If you aren't afraid to scare yourself just a little.

17 comments:

  1. This sounds like SUCH a me book!! Thanks for reviewing...I would never have heard of it otherwise.

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    1. AHH, please please read it. It's definitely a "me" book and I didn't know it until I read it. Don't let this one fall off your radar! It's CRAZY.

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  2. HOLY CRAAAAP. I have this book, but haven't read it. Great review, Jen. I absolutely want to move this up in my pile now. Wonder if people will look at me oddly on vacation if I'm reading a book called I Hunt Killers? ;)

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    1. I'd say just take off the jacket but the actual book cover has blood splatters all over it, so you'd probably still get the same judgy shifty looks!

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  3. Awesome! I've been hearing A LOT about this book so i'm anticipating getting my hands a copy. Cool review!

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    1. Thanks! Please do read it and let me know what you think.

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  4. Agree! I loved this book so much because it was so creepy!

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  5. Does it make me sound at all like a weirdo for really wanting to read this one now? Cause I kinda do. Sounds creeptastic and I totally dig that.

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    1. Not at all. I love books that make me completely uncomfortable. And this one? I wanted to jump out my damn skin.

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  6. I think that for a lot of serial killers their murders are conquests and that's why it's a trait with some to take a 'trophy', like an article of clothing or a finger or something. IDK.

    ANYWAYS.

    We talked for like 3 minutes about I Hunt Killers on g-chat. I cannot wait to listen to my audio of this especially after your fist pumping review.

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    1. YES! and that is touched upon in the book. Oh goodness, I can't wait for you to read it.

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  7. Ooookay I think I need to read this!

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  8. This book, I thought, would be way too creepy for me. But after reading your review? It turns out I actually don't care as much as I thought. So kudos for tearing my walls of resistance and preservation of my sanity. We might as well all be cray cray, right?

    Still, the inner struggle deal is enough to coax my inner turtle out of its shell. I am now peeking at this book with curiosity and mild suspicion. This would be my first real, up front serial killer book. Just.. thanks, Jen, really :P

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  9. You love cheese too?! Sometimes I feel like the only one who could just sit and eat cheese and bread or cheese and crackers all freakin day.
    I'm always on the hunt for a good scary book to keep on my shelves so I'll definitely be getting this one soon. Great reivew, Jen :]

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  10. You had me at "best serial killer novel". I am adding this to my TBR pile immediately.

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