Jasper "Jazz" Dent is the son of the most notorious serial killer of all time. While growing up, Dear Old Dad taught his son valuable lessons, such as how to clean blood stains, how to slice through skin, and how to think like a serial killer. Now, several years after his father's apprehension and conviction, Jazz is trying to lead a normal, teenage life in the same small,
close-knit community that his father committed his final two murders. But, when women start getting murdered, and the killer is copying Billy Dent’s gruesome MO, Jazz is the only one schooled enough in the mind of a sociopath to help the police. The only problem is that Jazz isn’t sure that being around the victims won’t trigger his own need to kill. 

For people who enjoy TV shows like Criminal Minds or CSI, this is an exceptional read. The novel doesn’t go into detail about the killings. Instead, the plotline focuses on the inner workings of the mind of a killer. I know that several people were disappointed that there wasn’t more action and scenes with the murders taking place – they were always described after the fact – but with this type of story, it really would have taken away from the psychological aspect. 

There were a few times that Jazz’s constant whimpering about being destined to kill got old, but Lyga did a good job of using his spunky girlfriend Connie to call him out and voice what the reader was thinking: “Either put up, or shut up.” From that moment forward, Jazz became a stronger character for me. 

This novel alludes to multiple brutal killings and gives details about nailing bodies to a ceiling, vaginal and anal rape, and other forms of brutality. Because of this information, readers need to be mature; however, leaving it out would have taken away vital details from the story. Lyga wanted to show the cruelty to Billy Dent's murders without shifting the focus away from Jazz. Part of Billy's cruelty was making his child watch, and participate, in a number of killings. 
I know that Mr. Lyga conducted research to add authenticity to his novel, and his painstaking efforts show. I thoroughly enjoyed this novel because I’m intrigued with how the mind works, and the mind of a sociopath is probably one of the most mysterious to explore. I will definitely check out the sequel. 

*ARC was provided at 2011 NCTE Conference     
Book comes out in April 2012

3/1/2012 08:11:35 am

Wow Courtney! I too was intrigued by the inner workings of the criminal mind. My delicate sensibilities(tee hee) however didn't care for the brutality and sexual references for a YA book. And then you have Karin's complaint that it wasn't graphic enough, I guess to each his own eh?

3/1/2012 08:33:44 am

Hey, Julie! I read several reviews about this novel, and Karin wasn't the only wanting more gore. For me, it was enough, but that's because I'm a total wuss. Karin has been desensitized with zombie books. :) Right, Karin? I mean, they chew off an arm in the first page. Okay, I'm grossing myself out.

3/1/2012 09:10:50 am

So true Courtney, Karin has been desensitized! LOL! Zombies and Vampires are a violent bunch! I'm not opposed to gore, I love Bones and other crime dramas. I guess it was the fact that it was a YA book that got to me. I'm not out of touch with reality, I just don't think everything has to be so graphic for our teens. Heck, it doesn't need to be so graphic for ME. ha! I liked your review though!

3/1/2012 09:21:23 am

I saw some reviews that suggested this book for 12+. I didn't put an age on my review, but I definitely think no younger than high school. It deals with some pretty intense stuff, you know? I wouldn't feel comfortable handing it to a middle-schooler.

3/1/2012 08:18:01 am

Courtney, I liked Connie too. I thought she was great. Also, his hemophiliac best friend was a riot. Loved him.


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