I Hunt Killers

I Hunt Killers - Barry Lyga The last time I read a series about a potential teenage serial killer fighting his inner demons (as opposed to the very real outer ones he faced), it kept me up quite a stretch of nights reading and waiting with a pounding heart to see what happened next. I'll admit when I heard about Barry Lyga's take on the theme, I was a little hesitant. I wondered if I was ruined to the genre because the last series I'd read impressed me so much that I was afraid it would color my experience for this one.Turns out, it didn't. I really liked "I Hunt Killers", but probably in a different way than Dan Wells' John Cleaver series. Lyga chooses to focus on the true crime aspect, taking on new boundaries from the perspective of a boy who was raised by a notorious serial killer. The experience has left him more than just a little messed up, and the book shows this in alternating ways - from darkly humored to a fair helping of cold reality checks. I think what made "I Hunt Killers" so appealing to me were the ensemble of characters surrounding Jasper Dent (a.k.a Jazz) and how they played crucial roles in the unfolding events of the story. Jazz has a hemophiliac best friend (Howie, who's awesome), a grandmother who's a bit nutty (though I found that more sad than funny, to be honest), and a strong girlfriend (Connie) who reassures him that he's not turning into a freak. Add to that a well meaning detective and an annoying social worker, and you have most of the cast this story has to consider.Obviously there are issues with Jazz having to cope with very public stigmas, his own inner demons, and questioning major events in his life in addition to the murders that occur around his town. But for some reason, there was a degree of distance that bothered me a little as I was reading the story. I felt it could've gone farther with the suspenseful elements, I felt like it could've gone farther than just the CSI analysis and such. Those elements made it good, but it wasn't the kind of "in your face" thrills that I thought it would be in points. It might be because this was written in third person, or the overall stylistics of the writing, or it may be because of the case details - I'm not sure, but there was definitely something keeping me from being front and center with the action the whole time. Plus it was difficult getting into at the very beginning. Once the story went on, I fell into Jazz's perspective and was able to follow him, but again - it was more at arm's length.The ending definitely leaves on a cliffhanger that suggests more to come in an ongoing series, but I'll also say it irked me because it left more than a few questions than I would've liked, making the story not as self contained as it could've been. Still, I would be remiss to say that I didn't enjoy the ride, and I will most definitely read further to see how Jazz copes with the new challenges he's left to consider at the end of this novel.Overall score: 3.5/5