In her book Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life, Anne Lamott says, “For some of us, books are as important as almost anything else on earth. What a miracle it is that out of these small, flat, rigid squares of paper unfolds world after world after world, worlds that sing to you, comfort and quiet or excite you. Books help us understand who we are and how we are to behave. They show us what community and friendship mean; they show us how to live and die.”

My hope is that this is what books become to you—as important as almost anything else on earth. This blog is about helping you find the miracle in these small, flat, rigid squares of paper while you are in middle school and beyond. Once you read alongside me, you are forever a member of my tribe of readers. No matter how you old you are, when you need to be reminded of the power of a good story, you will find me here, waiting to place one in your hands.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

I HUNT KILLERS by Barry Lyga

copyright date: April 2012
primarily marketed for: young adults (high school)

I’m just going to put this out there:  I like books about death.  I didn’t know this about myself as a reader until my students this year pointed out how many of the books I booktalk (basically all of them) involve someone who died or someone who is dying.

I am not sure if that is just a me thing, or if that is a common thread in books since it is such a major part of life and conflict.  I’d like to think it is the latter.

At any rate, I Hunt Killers by Barry Lyga, is obviously my kind of book—it is quality literature with sophisticated vocabulary, and it is about death.  Jasper Dent, known as Jazz, is a teenager who is struggling to overcome the odds, to say the least.  His father, Billy Cornelius Dent, is the most infamous serial killer, with victims totaling triple digits. 

Since his father’s arrest, Jazz has had to care for his grandmother while convincing the social worker that his grandmother is competent enough to care for him.  He’s also had to fight the demons of his past—the memories, his father’s voice in his head, and the legacy of murder his father left him with. 

When dead bodies start showing up again in his small town, Jazz becomes obsessed with finding the person who is responsible.  He enlists the help of his best friend and girlfriend.  Even if it means run-ins with law enforcement, increasing his own suspicion, facing his fears and confronting danger, Jazz is determined to stop the killing. 

This is a gripping story, but it pulls no punches.  It is graphic and gory and chilling.  It will make your skin crawl.  It is the most delicious of murder mysteries and it is the stuff nightmares are made of.  Do not read I Hunt Killers when you are home alone. 

Reading Threads:


  1. Sounds very creepy, but good! There are those who will eat this up, I'm sure Christy.

  2. Just finished completion of reading this book. I must say, Barry Lyga has one creative, artistic, yet eerie mind. He drew me in with the simple phrase on the cover; 'What if the world's most notorious serial killer...was your dad?' I had immediately jumped into reading the novel, and enjoyed it to the very end. I must admit that it did get a bit flat and boring the first few chapters, but as soon as I hit chapter five the story went into rapid fire. Quite a book, quite a book.