People often wonder whether they’ve got a killer inside them. But for Jasper “Jazz” Dent-that question is a very serious one. See, Jazz is the son of Billy Dent, the world’s most notorious serial killer. A grade A sociopath–the perfect predator–and Jazz is afraid he’s going to end up like Dear Old Dad. When someone starts killing in the style of his father, Jazz thinks this is the perfect time to prove that he is not going to be a serial killer.
What a premises! Ordinarily, I’d be concerned that this story wouldn’t hold water, but Lyga does a fantastic job of plotting this story out and creating superb characters. Jazz, despite his situation, is an extremely relatable narrator. Lyga does a great job of bringing us into Jazz’s head without making him too different. He struggles with his identity, but his struggle’s got a darker edge. I could see myself asking similar questions, but the different implications were Yet Lyga walks a great line–there is some great humor, mostly provided by Jazz’s friend Howie. That mix of relatability and humor are what really hold the book together.
If you come hoping for a thrilling tale, rest assured: this plot darts through the dark, letting you see bits and pieces, but never letting you see everything until it hits you. And Barry Lyga hits pretty hard with this story’s revelations. The encounter with Billy Dent is a superbly crafted encounter; it’s one of the most memorable parts of the book with me. Overall, this is a superbly crafted novel that deals well with identity and serial killers. Keep it away from younger teenagers, but older high school students and above will enjoy this tale.