Written by Barry Lyga

Review written by Adam Colclough

Adam Colclough lives and works in the West Midlands, he writes regularly for a number of websites, one day he will get round to writing a book for someone else to review.

Bantam Press
RRP: £12.99
Released: 12th April 2012

They f*** you up, your Mum and Dad, as Phillip Larkin put it, actually in the case of Jazz Dent its just his Dad to blame; but he’s  pretty messed up anyway. Not all that surprising perhaps since the Dad in question happens to be Billy Dent, America’s most notorious serial killer.

If that wasn’t bad enough a new killer is on the loose in the small town where Jazz is trying to live down his reputation. As the suspicions of the townspeople and the authorities turn towards him Jazz decides there is only one thing to do, use his unique insights into how a murderous mind works to track down the killer.

There is much about this book that will be familiar to regular readers of the serial killer sub genre, small town setting, check; killer with a taste for sadism, check; an investigator who understands how a killer’s mind works a little too well for his own comfort, check again. The list could go on but you probably get the point, what you’d unwise to do though is ignore this book as just another tale about serial murder.

The antecedents of Jazz Dent are what set this novel apart, few, if any, of the troubled investigators in similar books base their deductions on having been themselves raised not just by a killer; but to be one. That makes I Hunt Killers into a fascinating character study as much as a competently put together thriller.

Barry Lyga writes with intelligence and insight about Jazz’s struggles to overcome the effects of Billy Dent’s unique form of nurturing and make meaningful connections with the world around him. The difference, perhaps, between a killer and everyone else, he seems to imply is an ability to make the messy choices and compromises necessary to emphasise with other people.

Although turning this into a series would be stretching a good idea past breaking point the ending suggests the possibility of a sequel that would be worth waiting for.

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