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October Book Review: I Hunt Killers

Mohammad Khan, Opinion writer and editor, writes Book+Movie Reviews

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I Hunt Killers by Barry Lyga


Five years ago, Billy Dent was caught, convicted, and sentenced to the rest of his life in prison, deemed as the most notorious serial killer of all time, with over 120 known murders under several different personas. Meanwhile, his son, Jasper “Jazz” Dent, took the majority of the fall. He became a social outcast, and everyone in the little town of Lobo’s Nod thought he would eventually succeed his father as a mass murderer. Jazz’s life has balanced between superstition and suspicion for those five years.

But when a body is found not far from Jazz’s home in peculiar circumstances, Jazz suspects a serial killer and investigates. Battling against surprisingly incompetent cops and the serial killer, who goes by the name “The Impressionist”, Jazz must redeem himself to the world. He must show that he is different from his father by bringing justice to this murderer.

Barry Lyga’s style is suspenseful, perfect for this kind of book. It’s also exciting, fast-paced, and the descriptions of crime scenes work well for a murder novel. But that doesn’t make it a perfect book. Far from it, honestly. The dialogue and Jazz’s thoughts are super pretentious. Several times throughout the story, Jazz sits down and contemplates about how he could kill everyone in the room easily.

Another part of the book is centered around his internal struggle about the moment “when he will snap”, and then kill everyone in the room. The humor often falls short and several pages are dedicated to “the art of killing” (that is, just droning on about how you can dissolve a body with quicklime, with no real addition to the plot).

But that doesn’t even start my outrage at the ending. I won’t spoil it for you, but a good mystery should leave clues to help you solve the case. This book just decides to reserve its pages for Jazz to, you guessed it, scheme about killing everyone. The entire book is somewhat a red herring, and the ending is really unsavory. Three stars is extremely generous in this case.

So, if you ever see this book on the shelf, I would recommend you don’t pick it up. But it’s almost Halloween – if you want a scary — scarily bad –read, give it a try. Just don’t blame me after. I did warn you.


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October Book Review: I Hunt Killers