Summary: I Hunt Killers, written by Barry Lyga, is the story of Jasper “Jazz” Dent. Jazz did not have an ordinary childhood. His father was a notorious serial killer who taught Jazz the ways of killing. Now, Jazz’s dad is in jail, and Jazz is trying to live a normal life with the help of his girlfriend Connie and his best friend Howie. But things get a turn for the worst when there has been a murder found in his town. Jazz begins to realize that this new serial killer is somehow connected to him, and he knows that it is up to him to help solve the case.
Strengths: This book is to be considered more of a young adult thriller or mystery. It has all the requirements of a good work of fiction. We have characters who are believable and have a struggle to deal with. In this case, the struggle may be murder, but it is still realistic. Sure, most readers cannot make a personal connection to a protagonist whos father taught him the ways of being a serial killer, but young readers can relate to the overall theme of struggling with the “sins of the father.” The overall mystery to finding out whos behind these new murders will also captivate young adult readers everywhere.
Connections to Text: I feel like Havighurst would have a field day when it comes to the development of Jazz. According to Havighurst stages, Jazz has gone through them in his own way. A few in particular that stands out is, “changing relationships with parents,” “developing morals and values,” and “easy relationship with the opposite sex.” It seems that even though Jazz’s childhood was quite traumatic, he has still been able to differentiate himself from his father by actually developing some morals and values. It is said that serial killers can be antisocial and have difficulties maintaining a healthy relationship with the opposite sex, but Jazz and Connie seem to have a good relationship, despite Jazz’s development.
Lyga, B. (2012). I hunt killers. New York: Little, Brown.