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“I Hunt Killers” not for the faint-hearted

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“Take Your Son to Work Day” is year-round for Jasper (Jazz) Dent, but what if your father was the most notorious serial killer of the past half-century?

Barry Lyga’s book “I Hunt Killers” shows what it might be like to be the son of a serial killer.

After his father, Billy Dent, goes to prison, Jazz wants to forget his past and strive for a normal life in his hometown, Lobo Nod. While haunting and vivid memories resurface, he keeps his sanity with the help of his two best friends: Howie, the tall, lanky hemophiliac, and Connie, the sweet and caring girlfriend.

When someone drops dead out of the blue, Jazz doesn’t believe it was a random act of violence, but rather the work of a serial killer.

Being a charmer and having an abundance of knowledge about murder and manipulation, all of which were passed down from his father’s “lessons,” he believes that he has the power to stop the killer.

While bodies are piling up, one thing is clear: the killer is connected to Jazz and his notorious father, Billy. Will Jazz be able to stop the mystery killer in time or will he or his friends be next?

Jazz is not like other characters from different serial killer stories. Most characters on TV or in books have the same trait of not caring about human life. While most are not “emotionally stable,” he has the ability to feel, unlike his father, and one can see that in his relationship with his best friend Howie and his girlfriend Connie.

His relationship with Howie is lovable and not what one would expect from the son of a serial killer. Jazz stood up for Howie, and they have been by each other’s sides ever since, through the good and the bad. Connie is the type of girl everyone should have in their life, for she believes in Jazz and sees only the good in him.

Jazz’s personality is what is most intriguing about him. He is charming and smart, but can also be frightening. Throughout the book, he has self-doubts and he wants to believe that he will not end up like his father. He walks a thin line between insanity and normalcy as he tries not to follow in his father’s footsteps.

The inner-struggle he faces between good and evil gives Jazz character development, seen through his attempt to solve the mystery instead of following in his father’s footsteps. He could be a serial killer if he wanted to, but he chooses to be good, which is a fine quality to have.

“I Hunt Killers” contains topics about murder, child abuse, rape and graphic violence and is not for the faint of heart.

Barry Lyga, the author, did his research and made sure that the scientific details were realistic and close to real life situations. Lyga does a great job illustrating the murder scenes without getting too graphic. He adds subtle humor, just enough to lighten the mood of the gory scenes.

The reveal of the killer was surprising. While other books give hints towards the killer, “I Hunt Killers” keeps you on your toes. While these topics are disturbing, they are also fascinating and will leave you wanting to read more.

(5 / 5)
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University of Southern Indiana's student publication
“I Hunt Killers” not for the faint-hearted