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Wanda's Book Reviews

I am currently reading my way through a long list of science fiction and fantasy titles.  (http://www.npr.org/2011/08/07/138938145/science-fiction-and-fantasy-finalists if you are interested in the list).

Currently reading

Charlotte Perkins Gilman, Ann J. Lane
Wizard and Glass
Stephen King, Dave McKean
River of Blue Fire
Tad Williams
Richard Ford
Progress: 36/420 pages

I Hunt Killers / Barry Lyga

I Hunt Killers - Barry Lyga

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?


After a summer of reading and enjoying children’s literature, I suddenly find that I am being pulled towards the dark side. My library holds are coming in and there is a definite theme developing! First it was In Cold Blood, now there’s this young adult novel I Hunt Killers.

Teenager Jasper Dent (known to his friends as Jazz) was raised by notorious serial killer Billy Dent, who did his best to make his son into Satan’s little helper. Billy is in jail at this point and Jazz is living with his bat-shit-crazy grandmother, trying to keep Social Services at bay, and trying to figure out how much of his father’s criminality he is responsible for. When a corpse appears in Jazz’s small town, he is convinced that there is another serial killer on the loose, but the cops aren’t willing to listen to a teenager, even if he is a serial killer’s son.

Although there is a reasonably good little mystery written into this work, the main thrust of it is a matter of responsibility. How much are parents responsible for how their children turn out? Are children responsible for their parents’ actions? Nature vs. nurture. How do you know what your true nature is when you’ve been trained in a certain way?

I was reminded of Dan Wells’ John Cleaver series (which begins with I Am Not a Serial Killer), but I prefer Lyga’s version because it doesn’t go paranormal on me. I truly believe that the whole serial killer idea is scary enough with adding supernatural elements to the story. I think that fans of the Dexter and Criminal Minds tv shows would also appreciate this book.