Lilian's Reviews > I Hunt Killers

I Hunt Killers by Barry Lyga
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Jul 08, 12

Read on July 08, 2012

Barry Lyga almost had me in an heart attack with I Hunt Killers--and he didn't even inject me with Drano. The suspense was gripping, and a refreshing (although terrifying) addition to Young Adult horror. Lyga attempts to explore the complexity of serial killers, a teenager trying to find himself, while delivering a thrilling mystery with a huge chunk of suspense thrown in. And also a lot of blood. I'm trembling to read what else Lyga has up his sleeves.

Horror/Gore:
I've read a review that claimed I Hunt Killers was not suitable for Young Adult because of the gore and rape descriptions. There were a few "horrific" references, but they were so MILD--gleaned over with brevity. Compared to the complex death traps in novels I've read--this is nothing. It's obvious the gore was toned down several notches to fit the YA genre--to the point where I was thinking, "Wait, that's it?!? how is that even considered horrific?" The humor also helped balance out the dark with light, so you will get a few chuckles to relax those tense muscles.
My favorite (and arguably funniest--though it also makes me feel twisted for laughing) quotation: "'Did your father ever tell you her last words? I just want to know.'...Was this man insane? Did he have any idea--any idea at all--what the likely answer to that question was? That the odds favored her last words being something like Ohgodpleasenojesuspleasenonononoooooooooo!"

Characters:
This is where much of the story fell for me. None of the characters were fleshed out for me to relate to them--not even Jasper.

Jasper/Jazz:
I expected a lot more depth out of him. I wasn't convinced that he was "twisted," rather I kept thinking he wanted to think of himself as twisted to have a pity party. I wanted a big of backstory to how he sorted out his morals anyway; did he wake up one day going like "I had a revelation! My dad is wrong because an angel told me so!"? The first half of the novel was so hard to get through because of this guy moping around going "oh no! I was brainwashed by my dad! I have morbid thoughts, oh no..I could've done all these things to save these people but I didn't. oh no...I'm dangerous..." And when he wasn't moping, he was being a cocky 17-year old with a gigantic ego who thinks he is smarter than the police. I had a hard time suspending my disbelief right off the bat since the idea of a 17 year old being consulted by the police, and leading his own "investigation" was just so absurd. And police officers are oddly all pretty useless (as they generally are in mysteries.)

Connie:
Jazz's girlfriend. Thank God she is there to slap Jazz back in place. Girl actually has sense. Though I am a bit disappointed that she's black but doesn't display an accent in her speech, making her voice falling flat. Or am I just being stereotypical?

Howie:
Jasper's best friend, right hand man, and basically comic relief. His presence seems more of hindrance than anything--especially since he is a weakling. However, I would prefer him over Jazz any day for his friendly demeanor. He is always read with a bad joke. He is also surprisingly brave for a 17 year--not many can be within 20 feet of a corpse for friend.

Billy/ "Dear Old Dad":
The most intriguing character. He might be a serial killer of 124, but he is a whole lot more interesting than Jasper. He is confident about his character, and despite his twisted ways I think he does care for his son--in his own way.

Mystery
I can't say the reveal was a total surprise. Though I was hoping for someone more unexpected, like Jasper to have some split personality (wishful thinking).

Ending
The ending left me with a lot of questions, and also opens up plot holes I hope get filled in the sequel. I look forward to seeing how Lyga tackles it!

Overall, I Hunt Killers mixed with just the right parts of dark and light, and a novel I won't soon forget. However, the lack of depth in characters and the absurdity of many situations often left me in disbelief and disappointment. I definitely recommend this novel to young horror, suspense lovers--and for the faint-hearted, just be sure to keep the lights on!
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07/08/2012 page 273
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