Review: I Hunt Killers by Barry Lyga

I Hunt Killers / Barry Lyga

This was a “blurb buy”, meaning I bought this book blindly after reading just one line of the blurb.

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

I mean. Yes, please. Mystery/thrillers, especially the psychological kind, is my niche genre. You can never go wrong with them. I find them to be easy reads. Despite their “heavy” subject matters. I like it when a book keeps me guessing together with the characters. Police procedural shows happen to be my favorite things to watch. Some of my favorite mystery/thriller books read like a TV show and I just love that.

But after how many books in this genre, I hone my own crime-solving skills, my senses become sharper… things begin to be predictable. And I don’t like that.

Jasper “Jazz” Dent is somewhat a local celebrity in the small town of Lobo’s Nod, the notorious kind of fame, because his dear old dad is prolific serial killer Billy Dent. Billy tortured, raped, and murdered 120+ people. He would keep trophies of his kills and have Jazz watch over them. When Billy was finally captured, the police found Jazz trying to haul away and dispose of his dad’s prized trinkets. The officer who did the arrest, G. William Tanner, took pity on Jazz and tried to help him live the most normal life possible. Jazz boxed all that trauma and buried it deep.

Years later, a series of murders happen in the small town. People immediately suspect Jazz. After all, “like father, like son”. Or is it? Jazz survived years of normalcy with his own growing interest in crime-fighting. Together with his friends Connie and Howie, and G. William too, he wants to prove to the town that he’s not going to follow in his father’s footsteps. But what if that was the case? After all, nature vs nurture is pretty much the same for Jazz?

I was so hyped up about this book because of so many rave reviews. But in the end, I wasn’t that impressed. The premise had so much potential and for a mystery/police procedural lover like me, I thought this was so right up my alley. How many CSI/Criminal Minds/Law and Order episodes have I seen about serial killer progeny following in their parent’s footsteps? Too many. And all of them fascinated me. Here, Jazz is striving towards the opposite. He wants to help the authorities by using what he knew from his father’s exploits. And that is such an interesting topic to explore. I was looking forward to a dark, solid, and quite frankly, action-packed story. Instead, I got rookie mistakes and predictability. I saw what was coming from a mile away. I figured out the patterns even before the next victim was picked. And the ending… it was so typical.

I guess I like the darker side of the coin more. I mean, when the child becomes a killer also. The opposite is interesting too but this was just too tame and at some points, oblivious. I did like all the characters despite the very questionable decisions they made. Howie is such a trooper. My favorite, G. William is your token tired and jaded cop. I wish I liked Jazz more but the mere fact that his dad is a serial killer makes him very interesting. I just wish he used that knowledge more. He didn’t really “hunt” killers per se. The title made me expect a bit more involvement. They’re still kids after all. I hope the next book has more of what I’m looking for.

Rating: 2.5 out of 5. Would I continue on with the series? Maybe…? But definitely not now.

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6 thoughts on “Review: I Hunt Killers by Barry Lyga

  1. Do you have any favorite mystery/thrillers, Cate? I am actually writing a psychological thriller right now (which is heavy on dream, the psychological), and I haven’t read that many psych thrillers, just certain ones I loved such as: Psycho (Herbert Bloch), The Little Girl Who Lives Down the Lane (Laird Koenig) and of course The Shining. One great nonfiction on murders is The Michigan Murders…really great.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hmm, I don’t have ONE favorite but I do enjoy Swedish mystery/thrillers. Those along the lines of the Millennium trilogy. Not so much the continuation but the original three, I loved those. I like the overall mood that a lot of Swedish novels have; that laid-back yet action-packed storyline.

      I also like the sort of fictional history mixed with mystery/thriller found in the Robert Langdon books by Dan Brown. Angels and Demons remain one of my favorites.

      I am a fan of Stephen King. I went through that whole phase in high school. I think I consider him more of a horror author though. I did like The Shining but my favorites are The Green Mile, The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon, and of course, The Stand.

      True Crime is also a genre that I like a lot. Most of my podcasts are true crime podcasts and I often get book recs from there as well. I’ll definitely check out The Michigan Murders. Thanks!

      Liked by 1 person

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