Saturday, April 13, 2013

I Hunt Killers

"It was a beautiful day. It was a beautiful field. Except for the body."

This is a story starter that I would love to share with my middle school students as an example of a true hook. That's about the only thing in Barry Lyga's I Hunt Killers that I could share. Still, for mature teens and YA-loving adults, the novel is engrossing.

Jazz's father is the most notorious serial killer in history, and despite his being jailed for life, he looms large in Jazz's mind and in the memory of his community. When a copycat killer begins striking in Jazz's hometown, he needs to use the 'training' his father gave him to prevent the next murder. With his incredible ability to think like a serial killer, Jazz has to wonder if he didn't inherit more than he wanted from Dear Old Dad.

Lyga doesn't spare the reader any gruesomeness with his grisly descriptions of Billy Dent's crimes. I can see parents objecting, but know that it isn't very different from the "Saw" movies or many other types of media that fascinate teenagers. In fact, I read that I Hunt Killers is going to be made into a television show for ABC Family, with the main character as the daughter of a serial killer. I have no idea how they will be able to translate this novel for that channel, but would be interested in checking it out. Unfortunately, I'm sure the television show will leave out some of the more interesting aspects of the novel, such as Jazz's relationship with his African American girlfriend, Connie. Jazz admits that one of the reasons he was first attracted to Connie was because his father never had any African American victims, so maybe he is being "safe" by having this relationship. Details like these made I Hunt Killers more than a simple slasher or mystery novel.

The sequel, Game, will be released in just a few days. A benefit to being behind in my reading: I only have to wait three days to pick up where the story left off.

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