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I Hunt Killers    by Barry Lyga order for
I Hunt Killers
by Barry Lyga
Order:  USA  Can
Little, Brown & Co., 2013 (2012)
Hardcover, Softcover, CD, e-Book
* *   Reviewed by Ricki Marking-Camuto

I have always been a fan of YA mysteries, and it is interesting to see how they have changed over the years. I Hunt Killers, the first of Barry Lyga's Jasper Dent series, is definitely the grittiest I have read to date.

Jasper 'Jazz' Dent is the son of Lobo's Nod's one and only serial killer, Billy Dent. Well, Billy was the one and only serial killer until a body turns up in a field missing three fingers. Jazz knows immediately that this is the work of a serial killer, but the sheriff tells him that despite the mutilation, one body does not equal a serial killer. Jazz is determined to prove law enforcement wrong, so he enlists the help of his best – and only friend – Howie to help track down evidence. The sheriff shortly changes his tune when another body turns up…and then another and another. Jazz must do what he can to prove to the world – and himself – that he is not his father.

As a mystery/suspense, I Hunt Killers is a good one, and Lyga pulls no punches as no character is safe from the killer. As a YA novel, I am not quite so sure how I Hunt Killers fares. Some of the crimes are rather brutal and a tad sexual, and the language is coarse at times (but that is par for the course in modern YA). If Jazz and his friends were a little older, I would classify this as New Adult because of the mature themes. Jazz is also not the best YA protagonist. Yes, he is conflicted and learns some, but he is not really likeable, or even memorable. The rest of the characters are all much more interesting.

Fans, even adult fans, of police procedural or private eye mysteries will love the story in I Hunt Killers. And Barry Lyga does provide a good twist at the end, which will leave readers wanting to read the further adventures of Jasper Dent.

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