This review can also be found at Carole's Random Life
I received an advance reader edition of this book from Little, Brown Books for Young Readers and Net Galley for the purpose of providing an honest review.
Every once in awhile, I am surprised by a book. This book was a happy surprise for me. A Young Adult novel that turns out to be a psychological thriller? Who would have thought it was possible? I found this book to be darker than any book I have read in a long time. I guess Barry Lyga did not get the memo about Young Adult novels needing to be focused on a silly love triangle. Thank you, Barry Lyga, for missing that memo!
Jazz is the son of Billy Dent, a serial killer that has killed over 100 people. Jazz grew up with his father sharing his "work" with him until he was caught 4 years ago by the local sheriff, G. William Tanner. Jazz lives as normal of a life as you would expect for the son of a serial killer who watched his father "work" for 13 years and now must live with his crazy grandmother. His grandmother is not crazy in a fun way either. He is best friends with Howie, who happens to suffer from Hemophilia, and has a girlfriend named Connie.
Jazz knows how the mind of a serial killer works and when a murder occurs in Lobo's Nod, Jazz is certain that it is the work of a serial killer. Since the sheriff will not listen to him, he enlists Howie's help to do a little detective work on his own. Unfortunately, Jazz is right and the sheriff lets Jazz help with the investigation. Before long, they discover that this killer is following the same pattern that Jazz's father used.
I had hoped for a good mystery when I started reading this book and I got one. I did not expect to be so intrigued by the inner thought of Jazz. It seems he remembers many of the things his father taught him but he has also blocked out quite a few. The psychological aspect of this book was phenomenal. Aren't we all a little afraid of turning out to be just like our parents as teens? What if your parent was a serial killer? Jazz struggles with his thoughts as he wonders if he is like his father. The memories and nightmares that Jazz has are truly frightening. I seriously wonder what I will be thinking the next time I need to cut up a chicken.
I would highly recommend this book to others. Adults and older teens who enjoy a story beyond the basic love triangle will enjoy this book. It may a bit dark for some younger teens depending on the individual. I plan to read future works by Barry Lyga and plan to continue with this series. I hope that the next book in the series is as good as this first installment.