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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?
This is one novel that feels like it’s been in my TBR pile forever and as cringe-worthy as it is at times, I am so thrilled that I finally got to read it!
The beginning scene is set in an open field where Jasper, “Jazz” is spying on the local law enforcement hard at work combing through a crime scene. Jazz has made a habit out of listening to the police scanner so he can keep up with any suspicious activities. See, his special skill is not that he’s a superhero with mega strength but that he grew up the son of a serial killer, and under his tutelage, he has learned how to think like one. But like a superhero, he wants to use his knowledge for good. When Jazz suspects that a serial killer has arrived in their small town of Lobo Nod, he has to convince the local sheriff, who also happens to be the guy who arrested his dad, what they’re up against. Despite being told not to interfere and just be a normal kid, Jazz can’t let it go. He conducts his own investigation which leads him to some astounding revelations.
I completely fell under the spell of this book. While it was interesting and disturbing to learn the details of what makes a serial killer tick, I was most riveted by Jazz’s complex psychology. The kid lived a messed up life and appears remarkably well adjusted on the outside. On the inside, he fights his own personal demons daily. Growing up, his dad used to detail his hunts to him. Jazz is also consumed with solving the mystery of his missing mother who he fears may have been one of his dad's victims. He has random flashbacks where bits of information come at him but he can't get them to make any sense. That is seriously messed up! Jazz is so worried that he could end up being just like his psychotic father. There’s no way to grasp the full scope of how much guilt and shame he carries. He questions his own motives almost every moment wondering if he's indeed a sociopath who will one day snap and become the monster he fears is lying just below the surface. He can’t see people without “reading” them and imagining things to them, so the idea of “normal” is a far-fetched fantasy to him. He's a seventeen year-old boy for crying out loud! He should be thinking about prepping for college and getting laid, you know typical teenage stuff and not overrun by the fear that he's the next devil incarnate. No wonder he's so desperate to solve these murders so he can erase any suspicion about him and also atone for the sins of his father. His constant struggle to hold on to his humanity and keep his moral compass intact is the heart of this story.
There is some lighthearted humor courtesy of Howie, Jazz’s best and only friend. Thank goodness too! Howie is his ever faithful sidekick and his steadfast friendship is one of the few positives in his life. Then there’s also Jazz's girlfriend Connie, whose belief in his innate goodness is almost too overwhelming to him some times. She’s the one who can pull him back to reality when his doubts get the better of him. Finally, the local sheriff G. Williams is like the default father figure. He knows only too well what Jazz has lived through.
I Hunt Killers is creepy, intense and thrilling. I never would have thought that this story with several twisted scenarios could be so enthralling. By the end, I was simply in awe of Jazz's resolve and antsy to get to the next in the series, Game. This is a definite must-read!