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Game: The Sequel to "I Hunt Killers"

Review

Game: The Sequel to "I Hunt Killers"

This sequel to I HUNT KILLERS finds Jazz and his friends closer than ever to solving a serial killer mystery --- and a whole lot closer to becoming prey themselves.

Barry Lyga's first novel about Jasper (Jazz) Dent, I HUNT KILLERS, was innovative in the way it brought the (gory) imagery and intense pacing of a serial killer investigation into a teen's world. It also --- even amid the grisly details --- encouraged readers to consider questions of nature vs. nurture and free will vs. destiny, questions that again are much on the protagonist's mind in the sequel, GAME.

"Some readers will enjoy the novel for its CSI-like investigative twists and turns; others will enjoy continuing to try to understand Jazz's wounded psyche. Both groups will respond positively to this second installment in Jazz's story"

Jazz is the son of the most notorious serial killer in recent history, Billy Dent. After apprehending a Billy Dent impersonator, the serial killer known as the Impressionist, Jazz hopes, on one hand, to continue using the dark knowledge imparted by his father to help apprehend other serial killers. On the other hand, part of Jazz just hopes that life can return to what passes for normal when you're infamous by association. This second possibility doesn't seem terribly likely, however, since Billy Dent has managed (possibly with Jazz's unwitting help) to escape from prison. With Dent back at large, it's only a matter of time, Jazz is sure, before he kills again and puts their entire family back in the limelight for all the wrong reasons.

Meanwhile, a killer that the media has dubbed the Hat-Dog Killer has begun terrorizing New York City. The killer's pattern seems random, and the cops don't have a lot of leads --- so Jazz is invited to use his particular insight to help them see what clues they've missed. Jazz's girlfriend Connie invites herself along, too --- and she proves to have her own talents for spotting overlooked evidence. But the very things that make Jazz and Connie helpful to the police may also be putting them in grave danger, perhaps even from Billy himself.

GAME can be enjoyed on its own, but is best read as a follow-up to I HUNT KILLERS, so that readers can be thoroughly familiar with the cast of characters. Some readers will enjoy the novel for its CSI-like investigative twists and turns; others will enjoy continuing to try to understand Jazz's wounded psyche. Both groups will respond positively to this second installment in Jazz's story, which both deepens his character development and provides plenty of forensic fodder, while also offering surprising (and frankly, much-needed) doses of humor. The connection between sex and violence --- and Jazz's overwhelming fear that one will lead to the other --- is also more fully explored here and is a source of growing tension.

The novel ends with one of the most abrupt and suspenseful cliffhangers you'll encounter --- both Connie and Jazz are caught in seemingly impossible snares as the novel closes. This ending may frustrate some readers, but it'll more likely send them flocking to Lyga's website to find out exactly when the conclusion to this trilogy hits stores and libraries.

Reviewed by Norah Piehl on May 7, 2013

Game: The Sequel to "I Hunt Killers"
by Barry Lyga

  • Publication Date: April 16, 2013
  • Genres: Young Adult 15+
  • Hardcover: 528 pages
  • Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
  • ISBN-10: 0316125873
  • ISBN-13: 9780316125871