I HUNT KILLERS

By: Barry Lyga

Background:

Jasper (Jazz) Dent is the son of the most notorious serial killer of the 21st century. Years after dear old dad's arrest a new serial killer takes up residence in the sleepy little town of Lobos Nod. Having witnessed murder committed the way that the police only wish that they could - from the criminals point of view - and having been raised by his father in the "art" of sociopathic killing Jazz is naturally the first (and in some cases the last) suspect on everyone's list. Now Jazz has to catch the killer to prove that murder doesn't run in the family.
I HUNT KILLERS by Barry Lyga (Book Trailer)

“They put on fresh gloves and got back to business. Jazz wiped up the blood splatters in the freezer and tossed the tissues in with Howie’s waste. It bothered him that he was leaving evidence behind without some sort of oxygenated bleach, those blood splatters would still show up under Luminol. Of course, the odds of anyone deciding to spray down the morgue freezer and switch on an ultraviolet light were pretty minimal, so it’s not like it was evidence that anyone would ever find or use. Still: Billy Dent’s First Commandment was “Thou shalt not leave evidence.”
Barry Lyga, I Hunt Killers

Characters:

Jasper (Jazz) Dent: Main protagonist and son of Billy Dent.

Howie Gertson: Jazz's hemophiliac best friend, always ready with a funny quip or rude comment.

Connie (Conscious) Hall: Jazz's girlfriend.

G. William: The Sheriff of Lobos Nod and the cop who caught Billy Dent years prior.

Billy Dent: Minor part but its worth mentioning that he's basically a harbinger of death, that's just how good he is at killing people and playing psychological mind games.

Grandma Dent: Jazz's current guardian, her grandson has spent quite a bit of time trying to convince social services that she's sane while also taking care of her.

The Impressionist: The new serial killer in town.

“Howie: "What if the whole thing was just an accident?"
Jazz: "And what? Accidentally cut off three fingers postmortem? 'Oops, oh no, my girlfriend just died! Clumsy me, in trying to perform CPR, I chopped off some fingers! Guess I'll take them with me…Oh, darn, where did that middle finger go?”
Barry Lyga, I Hunt Killers

Plot:

Knowing that he is the most likely suspect Jazz automatically assumes the responsibility of finding the killer, who he suspects is a serial killer first because the fingers of his victims go missing which is an example of typical serial killer behavior, taking a trophy. He also infers that the killer is intelligent because he took something small and portable as his trophy, even went so far as to drop the first body in the middle of a field, leaving no trace behind, and fool the police completely when it came to how the body actually came to be there. More and more people, all unrelated and with no apparent pattern, showed up dead. Jazz eventually noticed that The Impressionist (as he was thus deemed) was copying his father's criminal line, picking victims with the same initials as his fathers original kills and having similar (in The Impressionist's mind at least) occupations. He even killed them in similar ways. It got more intense as it was revealed that The Impressionist had some kind of personal business with Jazz.

“But Billy had done good deeds all the time. So had John Wayne Gacy, and dozens of others. It didn’t matter. It was all part of the disguise. Jazz realized that he couldn’t trust even his noblest impulses. They might not be genuine. They might just be camouflage.”
Barry Lyga, I Hunt Killers

How is it?

Personally I really liked it. Barry Lyga did a great job getting into the criminal mind, basically telling us all that it isn't always so cut and dry when your looking into the head of a criminal, one who might be smart enough to know that your trying to get into their head and decides to mess with you by doing something about it. Watching Jazz's personal struggle was also very emotionally moving. He wasn't sure whether or not he was a sociopath and desperately wanted not to be. It was an intense case of Nature vs. Nurture that had me hooked. The book was realistic in most things though I doubt that law enforcement would handle Jazz's interference quite like they did in reality, though he is good friends with the sheriff so G. William could have cut him a break. Regardless of that though I loved this book, enough to go out and buy the whole series in fact! I highly recommend it for anyone looking for a good, relatable mystery with a new take on the criminal detective relationship.

Picture citations

"I Hunt Killers Photo: Game." Game. Fanpop Inc., n.d. Web. 14 Mar. 2015. http://www.fanpop.com/clubs/i-hunt-killers/images/35357010/title/game-photo.

Lyga, Barry. "I Hunt Killers." Barry Lyga Dot Com. N.p., 05 Mar. 2012. Web. 14 Mar. 2015. http://barrylyga.com/novels/i-hunt-killers/.