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I Hunt Killers by Barry Lyga

February 27, 2022

His name is Jasper but most people call him Jazz. He is a teenager and the son of one of the worst serial killers, Billy Dent. He has a friend named Howie and a girlfriend named Connie, who help him throughout the entire book and are the only people who truly understand him. He lives with his grandmother, since his dad was put in jail early in the book. His mom died when he was very young, which his dad blames on Jazz. He deals with a lot of general backlash because of his dad: people at school expect him to grow up to be just like his father— or possibly worse.

The bigger part of the conflict arises from there being a killer that has been trying to copy the exact murders that Billy Dent committed. Jazz wants to try to stop the impressionist in order to not let any other people die. At the same time, he has to avoid the assumptions being thrown his way. But he may need help.

This is the start of the I Hunt Killers by Barry Lyga, which gets more intense as the story goes on and has a strong ending where Lyga brings everything together. The chapters are shorter, around 7-10 pages, which speeds up the pace. The text is slightly less descriptive and focuses more on the connections between the characters, while including lots of thoughts and feelings. Lyga’s writing reminded me of the style of another young adult author, Marie Lu. Since the pages are smaller, the plot builds up towards the end, which creates an illusion that it is moving faster.

The story is told entirely from Jazz’s first-person perspective, which is how Lyga forms the biases with the main characters. Lyga also finds an effective balance between seeing Jazz’s thoughts, dialogue, and description. The character development is well written by Lyga as each person that he encounters has an important backstory, which helps build the connections between the reader and the main characters.

It’s also unique how the protagonist is Jazz, but the antagonist is his dad. His father has a very important role because he could help Jazz but it is also his son’s biggest challenge: he’s created all of Jazz’s problems. It doesn’t happen in many books that the antagonist can play both sides of the story. Jazz needs his father to explore the dark side of the world, but without his dad he wouldn’t need to go through the same issues. 

This novel is a solid 10 in my opinion. It’s a book that’s not for everyone but is one to at least try. It may not be the best choice for audiences looking for a light read because it can get the reader thinking at parts, which I found effective. It does include murder, discussions of rape, and heated family talks between Jazz and his dad. 

In I Hunt Killers, Jazz has been born into the dark side of the world and readers are along for the ride as he has to fight his way out. 

Owen

Little, Brown Company, 359 pages


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