Book Review: The Jasper Dent Series by Barry Lyga

i-hunt-killersAn unusual book review from me today, as it’s a review of a trilogy, rather than each individual book. This is mainly because I don’t feel that this particular trilogy can be read as individual books – it’s much better for you to read them in order.

The trilogy begins with I Hunt Killers and introduces Jasper ‘Jazz’ Dent, a teenager living with his Grandmother in a backwater town. The difference with Jazz is that his father is Billy Dent – the most notorious serial killer America has ever known.

So far, intriguing idea. Jazz deals with the traditional problems a teenage boy deals with, while having the shadow of his father hanging over him, and the suspicions of the community wondering whether he will turn out just like dear old Dad. This is made worse when it appears that someone is killing women in the area – any they are not unfamiliar with Billy Dent’s methods.

As you know already that this is a trilogy, it’s not a spoiler for me to tell you that, obviously, Jazz is not the killer, but the way he deals with suspicious neighbours and uses his unique knowledge of Billy Dent is the crux of the book.

9780552170772Book two, Game, sees Jazz – travel to New York, where a series of murders has taken place, which he thinks his insight into the mind of a killer will help to solve. This is also a solid entry into the series, with a hugely open ending, which is why I feel you need to read all of the books, and not just dip into them.

imagesThe final installment of the series is Blood Of My Blood, and Jazz gets some answers to questions he has had about his early life, and he finds out exactly what Billy did to his mother.

The trilogy was excellent for me, marrying YA and crime in an original way, and this first installment was an interesting read. I felt at times that it lost focus a little bit, but as I knew it was part of a trilogy already, I could see why that might be, and any queries I had were resolved by the end of book three.

One major problem I had with book three in particular, was that the trilogy is aimed at a YA audience and I felt some of the content went a bit close to the bone even for adults, let alone young ones. I get that Jazz is 17 and that that is probably the age Barry Lyga was going for but I did have to pause there for a moment!

Despite those few bits, the trilogy was excellent. Jazz was a likeable anti-hero – much in the same way as Dexter – and his supporting characters (girlfriend Connie and best friend Howie) were well-imagined and Howie in particular was some much needed comic relief!

All three books are available now, alongside some Kindle shorts that support some of the back story, but so far I’ve only got to one of those.

You can find out more about Barry Lyga on his website.

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