What is it about serial killers? From The Following on FOX to everything ever related to Hannibal Lecter or Jack the Ripper, serial killers are a part of popular culture. Two books. One similar theme. Which one will win, and which will end up in a shallow grave?
I Hunt Killers, by Barry Lyga
Jazz Dent knows far more about serial killers than the typical teenager – probably because his father is one. But Dear Old Dad has been in jail for years, so when people turn up dead in a very familiar manner, Jazz needs to convince the police that there’s a new killer in town – and it’s not him.
I Am Not A Serial Killer, by Dan Wells
John Wayne Cleaver thinks he’s doomed to become a serial killer – and not just because of his name. He has a set of rules that he follows to keep himself on the straight and narrow – and to keep the monster inside him at bay. But when bodies start appearing – accompanied by a strange black sludge – John knows that what he’s read about, what he’s fascinated by, has come to town.
The Verdict (dun dun dun):
These two books are stunningly similar in some ways. Both boys have to convince the authorities that there’s a serial killer in town. Both have odd friends that help them feel normal. Both are worried about what they might become: John because of what he feels (or doesn’t feel – he’s a sociopath), and Jazz because of what he was taught by his loving father. And, of course, both of them decide to track down a murderer what is wrong with you you are a teenager haven’t you ever seen Criminal Minds?
On the whole, I preferred I Hunt Killers. Both were page-turners, but I was surprised and a little disappointed by [SPOILER] the supernatural element in I am Not a Serial Killer. Jazz’s demons are purely human, which is more what I was looking for. However, if you’re into killers that are literally inhuman, IANASK may be more up your alley.
Winner: I Hunt Killers.
Note: Both books are available on the Kindles. So judge for yourself!
-Signing off, Kit Gette (who most certainly did not have nightmares after reading these books. Nope.)