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11 June 2013

'I Hunt Killers' by Barry Lyga

My son picked up my book and said: "This looks sick!" which is a positive comment

I often have to beg people to read a book I have enjoyed.  This time, though, my son picked up my book and said, "This looks sick!" which is a positive comment.    My BPR is next in line to read it over the Summer break and at least three others have said something along the lines of "you can't go wrong with a good serial killer book."  Or "Ooooo, I love a good crimi".  I do hope all this enthusiasm turns into sales for the author.  But still, I am mystified by this reaction... how weird is this?  Is it cathartic or voyeurism?  Maybe people like to imagine others behaving worse than they do?  In any case, even our bedtime fairy tales used to have buckets of blood and witches nailed into barrels of boiling oil, so this phenomenon cannot be blamed on modern media violence...

I know people who claim never to read such frivolous, violent books because they are a waste of time, without art or value.  I disagree.  To make a story with a monster, once again, interesting and entertaining is art.  A writer with skill is indeed required.  Moreover, I sense hypocrisy when someone reads only classics or serious books (for a given definition of serious... I mean, a serial killer seems quite serious to me).  It is all very well to read 'El Mio Cid' and imagine respect, loyalty, courage... then to quietly reflect on your own weaknesses and strengths of character, or the beauty of the Spanish language (if you read it in the original... beautiful).  But, and this is maybe just me, thinking about something I read 20 or so years ago, I remember the battles, murders, betrayals, rapes and famous corpses.  I also remember Sofia Loren looking amazing in a wedding dress, but that was the film, they don't make them like that anymore, do they?

It is quite a trick to get inside the head of a serial killer. To glimpse the seduction of power without conscience and at the same time not be put in a position where you sympathize with the murderer.  Barry Lyga knows this nasty topic, well, too well, mmhhhh... On to the humor.  The humor is teenage humor as the protagonist is 17 years old.  It was an easy book to read, but not so easy that I breezed through it either or put it down.  I wanted to follow Jazz and his friends and see what they were up to...  Naturally, there is a twist at the end but it is a good twist.  By a good twist, I mean something I found exciting and frightening.  Too often these kinds of books have twists that seem to belong to a different book.

So 'I Hunt Killers' does not only have my attention but also the attention of a large number of relatives and acquaintances.  If I think too deeply about this I might become not just worried but paranoid as well.   By the way, if you read my blog you may notice that I do not usually announce "This is a YA book" of some such statement unless unbelievably important.  If it is good story, I will enjoy it and I do not care who the 'intended target audience" is.  This book has an interesting point of view and humor, I like it...

Barry Lyga 
ISBN: 9780316125833 

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