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Thursday, September 11, 2014

Back Home and Some Catch-up Reviews

When I mentioned going on a road trip, I failed to understand that most of the trip would really  be on the road!  We did get to visit some friends and had a great time in Eureka Springs, but came home tired.  Really tired. 

And then I seemed to have some kind of additional exhaustion that called for refusing to get back on any kind of schedule and a lot of naps.  I had several drafts in progress, so I've dragged myself to the computer to get some posted.

I Hunt Killers by Barry Lyga is listed as a YA book.  It isn't, however, what you would normally consider YA material.  The premise--what if your father was a notorious serial killer?--is excellent, but the book degenerates into 1) grisly murders (lots & lots of them) and 2)  repetitive  ponderings by Jazz on whether or not he is like his father.  Not that one wouldn't spend a lot of time considering the possibility given the circumstances, but Jazz recites certain phrases like a mantra and the subject is kept on the surface rather than given much depth.

The book had such potential as a study of a young person who has been subjected to the teachings of a murderer and as an attempt of said young person to come to terms with the ramifications of a totally dysfunctional family, but that potential is never fulfilled.  

Favorite character:  Jazz's best friend, Howie.

I would have liked this a lot better if the author had spent less time with thinking up shocking details and concentrated more on a more in depth study of character.  It does have a certain suspenseful tension that could have been excellent if not immediately followed by gore.

NetGalley/ Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

Suspense.  2012.  Print length:  281 pages.

Game is the follow-up book to I Hunt Killers.  The first one has a conclusion, even though you expect the next book in the series, the plot is wrapped up.  Not so in Game.

If you can get past seventeen-year-old Jazz being recruited by the NYPD  (even if the recruiting is only by one member of the crime force hunting for the Hat-Dog killer), then you will probably be up for the new grisly murders.  

Jazz just steps right in and takes charge with his special knowledge and puts all of the NYPD and FBI task force to shame.  Because adults always call in adolescent children of serial killers to aid in their investigations.  

Oh, yes, it turns out that the first inclusion of Jazz was off-the-books by a lone task force member, but after being kicked off the investigation, he is then called back in.  Because they can't solve the case without him.

Of course, Billy Dent is involved, manipulating the game, but is there someone even higher in the serial killer hierarchy than Billy?   If you want to find out, there is always the next book, because this one is a cliff hanger.

NetGalley/Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

Suspense.  2013.  Print length:  532 pages.


  1. Glad you'd a great time! I always find myself tired not of the trip but seeing the laundry piled up, lol.

    Those books sound great. Generally, I often find myself in a dilemma reading a YA with dark and violent elements. They may be intriguing, but I'm not sure if those might have some impact on the YA readers, given some school violence we've seen today. I just hope that the readers would be mature enough to distinguish the difference between fiction and reality.

  2. I think that dilemma is worthy of more thought. What kind of impact on young readers does violence have.... Of course, age should be considered, but how the violence is portrayed is another element.

    The problem of ever more outrageous murders is one in adult fiction as well. It is almost a competition to have more bodies and more gruesome methods of murder. But I'm not reading for a body count or to imagine torture or dismemberment.

    It is thatelement that I object to for YA or Adult fiction, the substitution of shock/horror for depth. In this series, too, I fail to accept that professional law enforcement would behave so foolishly while a kid tells FBI and psychologists, etc. about what is going on.

    I wanted the book to make Jax seem real -- not just YA protagonist. In spite of all my criticism, I liked the first book enough to read the second; won't go for the third, though.

  3. Road trips can be so exhausting. All that sitting, you'd think you'd be well rested, but nope.

    It's too bad the author of I Hunt Killers did not take his book to the next level and left out some of that gore. It sounds interesting though. I think I would be pulling my hair out by the time I got half way through the Game.

    Really? Marked as young adult?

  4. Wendy - I think I'd rather a young adult read an adult novel on the subject that had a more thoughtful approach--less emphasis on graphic details and more on character and plot.