Bibliographic information: I Hunt Killers. Barry Lyga. Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, 2012. $8.99. 384p. ISBN-13: 978-0316125833.
Summary: Jasper “Jazz” Dent is the son of the worlds most notorious serial killer, Billy Dent. Billy taught Jazz everything he would need to know about the serial killing business. After several decades of getting away with murder and 123/124 bodies later, Billy was finally caught when Jazz was 13 years old. Four years later and bodies are piling up again and Jazz is trying his best to find the killer and stay off the suspect list.
Reading level and interest level: RL: 15 and up IL: grade 9 and up
Review: A book about a real life monster that should not be ignored. Barry Lyga continues to astound me with his writing skills. His insight and details into his characters are incredible. After reading I Hunt Killers I was left feeling like I just got a look into the brain of a full on sociopath. The amount of research that would have to be done to carry out this book is right up there with Todd Strasser’s Give a Boy a Gun. I am simply amazed with the quality of this title and the feelings in invoked in me. I was on the edge of my seat waiting for what was going to happen next. Readers will liken to Jazz’s character and be intrigued by his thought processes. Pain, anger, disgust, and morbid curiosity are just a few of the emotion this book brought out in me. By the end of this book I was eagerly awaiting the sequel, which is soon to come. Highly recommended.
Readers’ annotation: Jazz is the son of the worlds more lethal serial killer and his dad taught him everything he needs to know to be a successful murderer.
Bibliotherapeutic usefulness: This book expresses the difficulties that come with a parent who is a bad person, has done jail time, or has possibly forced their children to take part in activities that were unwanted. Children who have been scarred by their parents actions will be able to relate to Jasper’s character and understand that there are other children out there who have suffered the same fate.
Issues present: Parents will be shocked at the gruesome details that Lyga presents in I Hunt Killers. They will not like the gory descriptions and the presence of some of the worst described serial killers around. However, serial killers are real and they are out there. Giving your children a way to learn about them that is fictional, yet highly accurate will safely teach them of the dangers and monsters that exist in our world. You cannot hide children from such dangers, though they may be rare, they are real.
Booktalk ideas: Introduce Jasper’s character and his father.
Genre or subject: Serial killers, murder, investigation
Readalikes: The Christopher Killer, Counterfeit Son, Acceleration, The Monstrumologist,
Author’s website: http://barrylyga.com/
Awards: Bram Stoker Award Nominee for Superior Achievement in a Young Adult Novel (2012), Abraham Lincoln Award Nominee (2014)
Reviews: Booklist: http://www.booklistonline.com/I-Hunt-Killers-Barry-Lyga/pid=5226999; Publisher’s Weekly: http://www.publishersweekly.com/978-0-316-12584-0; School Library Journal: http://bookverdict.com/details.xqy?uri=Product-05-21492-24142225.xml; Kirkus Reviews: http://www.kirkusreviews.com/book-reviews/barry-lyga/i-hunt-killers/
Why I chose it: I picked this book up from the “early release” book shelf last year at my library, these books are put out in the staff room to help collection development get some comments from other librarians as to what they should buy when released. I recognized the author’s name and thought the title was intriguing so I took it home. I haven’t had the chance to actually read it until now, but I sure am glad that I did.