"Who am I? I'll tell you. I'm the local psychopath, and if you don't save my best friend's life, I will hunt down everyone you've ever cared about in your life and make you watch while I do things to them that will have you begging me to kill them. That's who I am."
That's Jasper (Jazz) Dent for you. If he were a cartoon, he'd have the angel/devil debate happening on his shoulders 24/7. He's conflicted. Why? His father, a notorious serial killer of 123 (124 by Jazz's count) people, raised him to be even better at the killing arts than "Dear Old Dad". But maybe, just maybe, Billy Dent's training didn't take. Maybe the brutality of the father doesn't inevitably trickle down to the son. Maybe there's a glimmer of innate goodness and lovingkindness in each of us that rises up to challenge even the most depraved of inclinations. That's the hopeful light that shines (sometimes very dimly) through this chilling, gory story.
"Something just ain't right about Barry Lyga." Libba Bray's right. Only a bent (or very creative?) mind could deliver such horror with a heavy dose of humor. I loved Jazz's best friend Howie. The most lovable hemophiliac in fiction, perhaps? Lyga's pairing of Jazz and Howie--the serial killer's son and a tall, fragile boy who bleeds and bruises easily--is brilliant. Then there's Jazz's girlfriend Connie. I liked her immensely, but she's complicated. She's African American, which is a plus in Jazz's mind. His Dear Old Dad's preferred "type" of victim was white women. Could dating a black woman prove that Jazz wasn't 100% the same as his dad? Jazz loves Connie, but he also needs her as verification that he might just avoid following in Billy's footsteps. Like I said, complicated. Heck, the whole book's complicated.
I liked I Hunt Killers
, but I'm not necessarily happy that I liked it. It's gory, and it let's you inside some seriously disordered heads. Must read more!
One last question. Do 13 year olds really read this stuff?