I’m finally back to serial killer and death books. It’s been so long and I’ve missed them. I Hunt Killers by Barry Lyga tells the story of Jazz (short for Jasper). A body was discovered in a field just outside of town and Jazz just had to take a look. He makes a habit out of spying on the cops when he hears interesting calls over the police scanner, but this one is different. When he sees one of the policeman hold up an evidence bag containing a single severed finger, Jazz knows that there’s a serial killer in town. You see, Jazz is the son of the world most notorious serial killer, Billy Dent, who over the course of his career killed 124 people. This type of death in small Lobo’s Nod was sure to cast suspicion on Jazz.
Jazz was afraid of two things in the world, and two things only. One of them was that people thought that his upbringing meant that he was cursed by nature, nurture, and predestination to be a serial killer like his father. The second thing . . . was that they were right.
To the outside world Jazz seems “impressively well adjusted.” He has a girlfriend, Connie, and a best friend who’s been with him for years, the incredibly loyal hemophiliac Howie. But on the inside Jazz knows he’s not normal. He constantly has to remind himself that “People matter. People are real. People matter.”
He doesn’t want to turn out like Dear Old Dad, but knows that he’s irrevocably scarred for life from his experiences from his childhood. His father started coaching him on the basics of how to be a functioning sociopath at a young age. Jasper has also been having terrifying dreams where he can feel himself cutting into human flesh hearing his father say, “Nice job, son. Nice good cut. It’s just like chicken.” And Jazz can’t figure out if it’s just a dream or a repressed memory seeing how no one knows what happened to his mother.
As the murders continue, Jazz is the first to recognize the victims as copies of his father’s first murders. Someone is trying to recreate Billy Dent’s murder spree. As the town is going through the motions by the book, which takes time. Jazz takes it upon himself to try to find the killer, but as he starts examining clues and the deaths more closely he starts losing touch with himself and fears that the killings are all because of him.
Who is the murderer: The police chief who had a mental breakdown after catching Jazz’s father? The reporter who would do anything to get back in the spotlight? The new detective who just happens to be from the same town as the first victim?
And what will become of Jazz? Can he hold it together or is he destined to become his father?