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Familiar Diversions

I'm a librarian who loves anime, manga, and reading a wide variety of genres.

Currently reading

Lying in Wait
Liz Nugent
Progress: 28/310 pages
The Shape of Water
Guillermo del Toro, Daniel Kraus
Progress: 72/313 pages
To Siri with Love: A Mother, Her Autistic Son, and the Kindness of Machines
Judith Newman
Princess Prince
Tomoko Taniguchi
Progress: 310/336 pages
Other Minds: The Octopus, the Sea, and the Deep Origins of Consciousness
Peter Godfrey-Smith
Progress: 41/255 pages
FREE: Locke & Key
Tatiana Maslany, Audible Studios, Joe Hill, Gabriel Rodríguez, Kate Mulgrew, Haley Joel Osment, Full Cast
Progress: 91/806 minutes

I Hunt Killers

I Hunt Killers - If you're worried that Jazz becomes a YA version of Dexter, rest assured that, in this book at least (I'm assuming this is the start of a series), that's not the case. Dexter killed with no twinge of conscience, because he didn't have one, and his focus on criminals was more a reflection of his adoptive father's morals than his own. Jazz, on the other hand, worried all the time about what he might become. He was more than a little obsessed with serial killers, and he had thoughts about how easy it would be for him to kill someone, but he didn't actually kill anyone. Really, Jazz turned out remarkably well considering his life with his father and grandmother. I did worry, at first, that Jazz might become a killer, especially considering the thoughts he had about the first victim, but eventually I started to see all his worrying as a clear sign he wouldn't become like his father. I doubt his father ever worried or felt guilty about hurting other people.When he wasn't worrying about his potential to become a killer, Jazz spent a lot of time trying to prove another serial killer had come to Lobo's Nod. Although I figured Jazz was probably right, had this been real life, rather than fiction, I would have been firmly on G. William's side – there really wasn't a whole lot of evidence, in the beginning, that the first victim had been killed by a serial killer, and Jazz's obsession made it believable that he'd see serial killers where there were none.I rolled my eyes a little at Jazz's initial investigative efforts, which came across to me as a slightly more morbid version of the stereotypical “boy detective.” I was glad that Jazz at least didn't turn out to be better than the police at even the basic levels of investigation. At one point fairly early on, for instance, Jazz found what he thought was an amazing bit of evidence and presented it to G. William as though he was giving him something the police probably would never have been able to find without his help...only to learn that the police already knew everything, and then some, that Jazz's find could have told them. I thought that moment helped the book feel more realistic, although G. William's later decision to invite Jazz to one of the crime scenes detracted from that feeling a bit.Jazz does a few less than endearing things, like regularly drugging his grandmother (who is not the nicest of women, but still) and knowingly manipulating others, even, at times, his friend and girlfriend. However, even though I didn't entirely like Jazz, I didn't dislike him either. I felt sympathy for him, for how he was raised and what he'd been made to see, and for shouldering some of the blame for his father's victims' deaths because he never made a move to stop his father. G. William told him to live like a normal teenage boy, but that would have involved somehow erasing all the horrible things that happened during the first 13 years of his life. He couldn't unlearn what Billy taught him, and he had little control over how others viewed him. Attempts by reporters to get his side of the story and occasional visits by family members of his father's victims made it impossible for him to move on.Jazz did have some really nice moments. My favorites usually involved his friend Howie. Howie's hemophilia meant he had to be careful, because the slightest bump could give him a horrible bruises. A little cut could cause him to bleed out. Howie's mother was overprotective, which was probably why Jazz, who treated Howie like anyone else (albeit with some limitations), probably appealed to Howie so much. One of the sweetest moments in the book, in my opinion, was the bit where it was revealed that Jazz agreed to get tattoos Howie would have gotten for himself, if it hadn't been for his hemophilia. It was a permanent and painful demonstration of affection, and I loved it. I enjoyed Jazz's relationship with Howie much more than I did his relationship with Connie. I thought it was fuller and better developed, which I guess makes sense when you consider that Jazz had only been dating Connie for a few years but had known Howie since he was little.I was thinking about the book's level of gruesomeness, and I'm pretty sure that, while Lyga included many disturbing and/or gory details, the really awful stuff was never written about and described as it was happening. What I mean is, I don't think there were any detailed descriptions of killings as they were being done. Even so, I wouldn't recommend this book to anyone would can't stand disturbing details and the occasional bit of goriness.The book covered a whole range of horrible stuff. A couple of the new killer's victims were killed by an injection of drain cleaner, at least one of the victims was raped (not on-page - there was only a discussion of evidence rape had occurred), and all of the victims had fingers cut off (in one case, while she was still alive). Several characters readers got to see while alive were later killed, so the victims weren't all just random unfamiliar people. Billy Dent was a very creative killer who murdered a lot of people in varied enough ways that his kills were originally attributed to more than one serial killer. The different ways he killed and what he did with the bodies came up several times in the book. Also, those who have problems reading about animal cruelty will probably find one short passage, in which the specifics of what Billy did to Jazz's beloved pet dog are described, difficult to read.I was a bit iffy about the first half of this book and felt it got stronger in the second half, particularly after Jazz's investigative efforts failed, spectacularly, to avert another death. After Connie told Jazz off for trying to turn her away from him with talk about what he might do to her (in her words, “Billying” her), I pretty much flew through the book. The ending reads like Lyga is planning to write another book starring Jazz. I hope he does. I'd love to see if/how Jazz manages to deal with his father and his father's effect on him. (Original review, with read-alikes, posted on A Library Girl's Familiar Diversions.)