Book Review – I Hunt Killers by Barry Lyga

I Hunt Killers by Barry Lyga

I Hunt Killers by Barry Lyga

The blurb disturbs:

What if the world’s worst serial killer…was your dad?

Jasper (Jazz) Dent is a likable teenager. A charmer, one might say.

But he’s also the son of the world’s most infamous serial killer, and for Dear Old Dad, Take Your Son to Work Day was year-round. Jazz has witnessed crime scenes the way cops wish they could–from the criminal’s point of view.

And now bodies are piling up in Lobo’s Nod.

In an effort to clear his name, Jazz joins the police in a hunt for a new serial killer. But Jazz has a secret–could he be more like his father than anyone knows?

I guess it’s inevitable that this book would draw comparisons to Dexter, as it’s about a protagonist who is a serial killer that hunts serial killers.  The difference (at least in the first book in this series) is that the protagonist is not a serial killer (yet?) and is resisting the temptation to become one.

Like a lot of pop culture, this book makes the mistake of treating a mental illness (sociopathy) as a superpower.  On the other hand, it surprisingly concentrated more on the manipulation aspects of sociopathy rather than the mystical super-killer aspect that other books and movies do.

Having Jazz’s father be a “new type of killer” who “doesn’t have a pattern” was kind of nonsense, especially as it was shown not to be true several times in the book.  I assume this was introduced so that each book in the series could have a different theme.  Also the combination of “aw, shucks” country boy and “off the charts IQ” in Billy Dent doesn’t feel consistent (although I’m sure in real life there are plenty of smart country boys).

It feels like the author is trying to create a Dexter and a Hannibal Lecter, but so far he hasn’t succeeded.

There were a couple of things that didn’t make sense to me, but I can’t definitively say it was an error in the book rather than a misunderstanding on my part, so I won’t penalize the book on that front.