One of my favorite TV shows is Criminal Minds. I think it’s fascinating to get a glimpse into the mind of a killer. (Yes, that makes me a bit morbid, but society as a whole, in my opinion, has a morbid fascination with killers, especially serial killers. Just look at the hoopla that still surrounds Jack the Ripper.) Anyway, I finished a book a couple of days ago that offers an even more interesting perspective than we often see in our favorite crime dramas. I Hunt Killers by Barry Lyga shows readers what life might be like for the son of one of the world’s most renowned (fictional) serial killers.
I Hunt Killers explores what life is like for our main character, Jasper “Jazz” Dent, who grew up with a vicious sociopath who cared nothing for human life. Now that Jasper’s dad, who goes by so many monikers, is in prison, Jasper must face his own demons…and this becomes harder than ever when a new serial killer comes to town, one that is mimicking The Artist (otherwise known as Jazz’s dad).
Jazz is convinced that the recent murders in the town of Lobo’s Nod are the work of a serial killer, but no one seems to believe him. But will that stop him from trying to prove his point? Not even a little bit. Jazz is putting the pieces of the puzzle together, and he’s sure that this new killer is copying his father’s work. But how can he convince the police of this, especially when he knows he’ll end up being their prime suspect. After all, Jazz was raised by pure evil. How could he help but be infected by it?
As Jazz struggles to stop a killer, he is also examining his own mind and the disturbing images and urges that seem to be such a big part of him. Jazz’s father, the great and terrible Billy Dent, never kept secrets from his son. Jazz knows everything about Billy’s kills. He was there for many of them. Billy instructed Jazz on how to track victims (or prospects), how to clean up a crime scene, and how to kill. That knowledge doesn’t just go away, and now Jazz is faced with the possibility that he’s more like his father than he’d ever want to admit.
As the body count rises, it’s up to Jazz (and a couple of loyal friends) to stop this new killer in his tracks, save the next victim(s) on his list, and prove to everyone–including Jazz himself–that it’s possible to rise above his horrible upbringing and do something that really matters. Something that will save lives instead of destroying them.
I Hunt Killers is not a book for the faint of heart. This book takes an all-too-realistic look at the life and mind of a sociopath…and the horror such a person could inflict on not only his victims but even his own family. What would something like that do to an impressionable child? You’ll get a glimpse of that in this book.
While I related I Hunt Killers a bit to Criminal Minds, a friend of mine thought it was more like Dexter. In a sense, it is. (And if you’ve never seen Dexter, you really should…if you don’t mind copious amounts of blood, that is.) While Jazz is trying to figure out who is committing these horrible crimes, he’s also dealing with his own violent urges–and how he could use those urges and his own past to stop this killer before he goes any further. So, I guess this book is kind of the perfect combination of Criminal Minds and Dexter…and I can hardly wait to see where this winning combo takes us in the future.
I Hunt Killers is the first book in Barry Lyga’s Jasper Dent series. The next book, Game, is set for an April 2013 release, and this book will further explore Jazz’s psyche and his efforts to stop history from repeating itself.
For more information on I Hunt Killers and other books by author Barry Lyga, visit http://barrylyga.com or follow the author on Twitter @barrylyga. You may also want to check out this absolutely creeptastic book trailer from Little, Brown. It made me want to go back and read the book all over again.