Monday, 28 November 2016

I Hunt Killers by Barry Lyga


 Series: Jasper Dent
Author: Barry Lyga
Page Count: 359
Published: April 3rd, 2012
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
  5 Stars ★★★★★ 

Jasper Dent's father is behind bars; he's a serial killer who has murdered over a hundred people. He raised Jasper while he killed, often teaching Jasper about how to prevent getting caught and how to dispose of dead bodies. Jasper now lives with his grandmother, has a best friend and a girlfriend, and he still deals with the aftermath of his father's capture and conviction.

When people start turning up dead, Jasper knows that the town has yet another serial killer on their hands. Besides trying to convince the police that he knows what he's talking about, Jasper has to deal with his fear that he is truly like his father; a cold-hearted, sadistic killer. While Jasper investigates the murders with the hope of using his knowledge to catch the killer, he struggles with the fear that people will believe that he is behind it all. But things are complicated when you worry that you might be an evil sociopath, like your own father.

This was such an awesome book! It was dark, it was disturbing, and I couldn't put it down. I read it extremely quickly, I was sucked in from the start. My advice concerning this book is to start reading it when you have a lot of free time on your hands. You won't want to leave it until you've flipped the last page. 

One thing that I loved about this book was how dark and disturbing it was. I often read romances, which tend to be sweeter, less serious or calmer reads. But this was dead serious. I want to mention that there were rather detailed descriptions of assault and murder, so that more sensitive readers can make an informed decision on whether or not this book is for them. Personally, I loved that aspect of the book, because it just felt so creepy. I rarely find books that have genuinely disturbing content, but this one was dark enough that it satisfied my craving for something more gruesome. That's not to say that the crimes were extremely detailed, but they were explained in enough detail that they brought up the creep and thrill factor quite a bit. 

Jasper's struggle was very intense and it kept me reading just as the murders did. Reading about his fears that he might be a sociopath, that he might be fated to become a murderer like his father, it was a well-written depiction of this struggle and I found it very believable. Despite Jasper's fears and some of his darker thoughts, I found him a very likeable character. He seemed like a genuinely good guy, wanting to save peoples' lives and fighting the things that his father told him to believe. While this is an extreme example, I think that this is reminiscent of the issues that many face concerning breaking out of their shell and questioning the things that their parents or guardians told them as children. This sense of connection between Jasper's issues and smaller, real-life issues made Jasper even more likeable, and I absolutely rooted for him to stop the killer and find peace from the start.

Jasper's friend and girlfriend are great characters as well, his friend being somewhat weak and comical, his girlfriend strong, loyal and determined. As for Billy Dent, Jasper's psychopathic father, he was written very well, in a way that I could easily imagine what kind of atmosphere might be experienced in his presence. He was pure evil. I feel like there are such few characters that are so evil, but Billy Dent really really was, undoubtedly, a monster. Because he was such a well-written villain, I loved reading about him, despite his crimes. He was especially creepy because, unlike paranormal monsters and villains, there really are people like him out in the world. I think that's what made this book all the more striking. 

I wish I'd picked this novel up sooner. I have to add the sequel to my wishlist!

I recommend this to mature YA readers. If you like creepy contemporary thrillers, and the content mentioned in this review wouldn't bother you, this is a must-read.