School Library Journal
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Gr 9 Up-Jasper's father, now in prison, is the world's most notorious serial killer, and he raised his son to follow in his footsteps. Now Jazz (who never turned his father in) can't be sure that he isn't a sociopath, too. He tries to find redemption by convincing the local sheriff that a recent murder is the work of a new serial killer-one who seems to be an admirer of his father and patterns his methods after him. Jazz proves himself right and is able to use his knowledge of his father's way of thinking to track down the murderer. The teen has disturbing thoughts about women, thinking that they are "simultaneously special and useless" and has to consistently remind himself that "People matter. People are real." He can be a difficult protagonist to relate to, but many teens, particularly boys, will be drawn to this title for the suspense, the violence, the brutality, and the gore. Fans of Dexter or Dan Wells's I Am Not a Serial Killer (Tor, 2010) will likely find themselves hooked on this new series.-Hayden Bass, Seattle Public Library, WA (c) Copyright 2012. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
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Lyga continues to shift genres, delivering a superb mystery/thriller that explores what it's like to have a monster for a father. Seventeen-year-old Jazz's father, Billy Dent, was a prolific and brilliant serial killer who did his best to educate his son in the ways of murder. With Billy in prison for life, Jazz longs to overcome the stigma of his family history, but when a new serial killer strikes his small town, he is drawn into the investigation. Along with his hemophiliac best friend, Howie, and his girlfriend, Connie, Jazz applies the gruesome knowledge his father passed along in an attempt to discover the killer and overcome his fear that he might become a murderer himself. Lyga (Boy Toy) delivers a taut, gory tale that can easily stand on its own as an adult thriller, with a large group of suspects and plenty of red herrings. But it's Jazz's internal conflict about his exposure to his father's evil that adds extra dimension and makes the book shine. Additional books are planned, and TV rights have sold to Warner Bros. Ages 15-up. Agent: Kathleen Anderson, Anderson Literary Management. (Apr.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.
The Artist, Green Jack, Gentle Killer, Hand-in-Glove, Satan's Eye all nicknames for Billy Dent, the killer who murdered 123 people before being incarcerated. For 17-year-old Jazz, the memories of his father's butcherous routine may be four years old, but they're all too fresh: his small-town community continues to treat him with suspicion at every turn. Then the murders begin again in the same order and fashion as Billy Dent's, and the town sheriff has no choice but to bring in Jazz to help find the new killer. Lyga has fashioned the kind of gripping, gory psycho-thriller usually relegated to adult fiction, one that fears neither viscera nor deviant sexual behavior nor the darkest of human impulses. It is rare when a YA novel dares to dwell upon the moral ambivalence of its protagonist, but Jazz is just that a hero who constantly yearns to succumb to his killer instincts. Before the teasing finale, Lyga gifts readers with a Hannibal Lecter-like prison showdown between Jazz and Billy. Safe bet that the sequel will offer more of these satisfying tete-a-tetes. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: Warner Brothers has already snapped up TV rights to this big new series, which should compel the publisher to further crank up its already significant promotional plans and author tours.--Kraus, Daniel Copyright 2010 Booklist