Saturday, June 22, 2013

Game by Barry Lyga

Game is the sequel to I hunt killers so there are ***SPOILERS*** in this review.  If you like reading series in order then read I hunt killers before you read any more of this review.

The Impressionist has been caught and Jazz should be feeling pretty proud of himself - and he probably would if he didn't know that his dad is out of prison.  Being the son of the famous Billy Dent is bad enough, but living with the knowledge that moving the bird bath sent some kind of signal to help Billy escape is a heavy weight for Jazz to bear.  He is relatively content to settle down back into his life of school, looking after his senile grandmother, and avoiding sex with his girlfriend - but fate has other ideas.

When an NYPD detective comes knocking looking for Jazz's help with the Hat-Dog Killer it seems like the chance to get back in the game, a chance to live up to the message Jazz has tattooed on his chest - but things are not what they seem.  When he arrives in New York Jazz finds Connie has ignored his warning to stay away and has come to New York too, a city Jazz hates immediately because the little voice of Billy Dent that has always lived in the back of his head cranks up the volume and croons about all the prospecting Jazz could do in such a large city - so many people, a few could go missing easy.  It is a challenging game this time, and this time there are more players - and more bodies.

Sometimes a sequel tries too hard to live up to the original and fails miserably - Game is not one of those sequels, it is a force of nature sequel that sucks you in from the beginning and keeps up the tension to the mind blowing conclusion (damn cliffhangers).  I loved I hunt killers, it was an indepth read for teens that you don't often see, a story that wasn't dumbed down or softened for the teen audience, Lyga treated his audience with respect.  Game continues in that same vein, creating a story that is both chilling because of the backgrounds of the characters, but also addictive because of the way the story drives forward as you try and figure out who the bad guy is and what is really going on.

Both I hunt killers and Game are books for older teens, merely because of the subject matter, however I was thoroughly engrossed as an adult and if younger teens have someone to talk to about the subject matter if they have questions they should also enjoy the books as well.  From the ending it is clear there is at least one more book to come in the series - hopefully we don't have a long wait as I really want to see what happens next for Jazz and Connie.  This is a series that seems like it would translate well to a tv series or movie franchise, but unlike other series it doesn't feel like the author is a frustrated screen writer who wrote a novel hoping it will be "picked up".  Jazz and his world are incredible, and the creepy voice of Billy hovering in the background is just - well - creepy.

If you like this book then try:
  • I hunt killers by Barry Lyga
  • The book of blood and shadow by Robin Wasserman
  • Acceleration by Graham McNamee
  • Death cloud by Andrew Lane
  • Crime seen by Jenny Pausacker
  • The Christopher killer by Alane Ferguson
  • Guy Langman, crime scene procrastinator by Josh Berk
  • Dead to you by Lisa McMann

Reviewed by Brilla

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