Monday, December 29, 2014

Blood of my blood by Barry Lyga

Blood of my blood is the final book in the I hunt killers trilogy so this review contains ***SPOILERS*** if you have not read the first two books in the series.  I highly recommend reading this series in order so check out I hunt killers and Game before you read any more of this review.

Jazz has faced some challenging and confronting moments in the past, but that is has not really prepared him for the reality of his father being loose in the world again because of him - coincidentally it also doesn't prepare him for dealing with a bullet in the leg.  Jazz has been groomed his whole life to be a cunning predator among the unsuspecting masses and those skills finally come into play in a major way when he finds himself on the wrong side of the NYPD and has to flee from the city.  All those lessons about spotting prospects allows him to escape from the hospital and the local area, but is it enough to keep him one step ahead of the NYPD until he can get to safety?

Howie and Connie are facing their own challenges courtesy of the Dent family.  Connie has fallen into the hands of Billy Dent in New York and he has special plans for the girl that he doesn't feel is good enough for his son.  In Lobo's Nod Howie has landed in the hospital (again) because of the danger stalking Jazz.  Jazz will do almost anything to protect his friends, and that loyalty is a source of strenght and a weakness that can be exploited by Billy.  In a deadly game of catch up and cat and mouse Jazz is on the trail of Billy, but that same trail will lead him into the hands of the Crow King - and the Crow King has plans for dear little Jasper Dent.

The I hunt killers trilogy has been a real treat, especially for a reader who enjoys well defined characters, believable interplay between characters, and twisted plots that don't pull their punches just because the book is written for teens.  Jazz is a fascinating character, not just because of the life he has lived and the experiences he has had, but also because of all the self doubt he has and the worry that he will turn into his father - a fear a lot of teens and young adults face as they move into adulthood.  The tension and pace of this series is also carefully controlled, moving from scene to scene rapidly and then slowing the pace to give you time to breathe and then launching into the next blur of action.  Lyga has once again managed to serve up his trademark mix of thrills, chills, and kills in this series closing book.

The wait for Blood of my blood has been particularly torturous because the ending of Game was such a cliffhanger - I have been waiting months to see what happened to Connie and Jazz!  This is a complex series which has emotional and visual scenes that would make it disturbing for most young to middle teens, but older teens transitioning from teen to adult books who enjoy crime and thrillers will find a lot to like in this series.  There is gore and violence, but it is not gratuitous and Lyga somehow manages to make things truly  gruesome and thrilling yet also somehow managing to keep the explicitly stated gruesome horrors to a minimum.  This series would make a mind blowing mini series or tv series, and it wouldn't really need to have too many changes made to make it accessible to adults out there rather than being slotted as a "teen tv series".

There is a lot to like here (thrills, adventure, loyalty, friendship, self discovery) and very little not to like (having to wait for the next book in the series!).  Hopefully this is not the last we have seen of Jazz - although the ending is rather nice and finalised.

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

Reviewed by Brilla

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