REVIEW #108: Game (Jasper Dent #2) by Barry Lyga

Title: Game
Series: Jasper Dent #2
Author: Barry Lyga
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Release Date: April 16, 2013
Pages: 528, Hardcover

Billy grinned. “Oh, New York,” he whispered. “We’re gonna have so much fun.”

I Hunt Killers introduced the world to Jazz, the son of history’s most infamous serial killer, Billy Dent.

In an effort to prove murder didn’t run in the family, Jazz teamed with the police in the small town of Lobo’s Nod to solve a deadly case. And now, when a determined New York City detective comes knocking on Jazz’s door asking for help, he can’t say no. The Hat-Dog Killer has the Big Apple–and its police force–running scared. So Jazz and his girlfriend, Connie, hop on a plane to the big city and get swept up in a killer’s murderous game.



To me, this series has all the right ingredients to make it a memorable one. First and foremost, our protagonist is the son of a notorious serial killer. Talk about a fun twist on a classic crime/murder novel. Jasper Dent has been raised to take over the family business but doesn’t want to be a killer, thus we have a very interesting nature vs. nurture battle present in this series. The internal struggle was more prevalent in I Hunt Killers, and takes a bit of a backseat to the murder mystery in Game, but it is still there. Billy Dent’s voice is still in his head. Jasper is still haunted by his strange nightmares. And he still fights to hold back his urges to do wrong. But to me it seemed that Jasper was a little more in control of himself. A little more sure that he wasn’t going to end up like his father.

And on that note, Jasper’s upbringing creates a very fascinating perspective to tell the story from. He’s been taught all the tricks of the trade - how to manipulate people to get what he wants, make them trust him, inflict pain, and evade capture - and he’s not above using some of the tools at his disposal to do what needs to be done. It gets my heart racing when we see this darker side of him. The side created by Billy Dent. Every time he bests someone or outsmarts them I do a little happy dance. I am totally Team Jasper, whether he is bad or good. And with respect to the crime solving, we don’t just get a cop’s way of looking at things but Jasper’s way of looking at things - which is the cops and the killers view of the crime. He understands the bad guys on a whole other level. It’s really something else. A whole lotta dark and scary but completely fascinating.

Second, we have a solid murder mystery. In I Hunt Killers, someone is impersonating the very gruesome crimes committed by dear old dad. Jasper, in an effort to do good to counteract the evil within, decides to help the police find the killer in what led to a very thrilling game of cat and mouse. And as I always enjoy, we get a few brief chapters from the killer’s perspective to keep things interesting. But the sequel Game takes everything to new heights. More killers, more murders, more mystery. The story has moved to the big apple and there are new players and one puzzling set of crimes. To catch the Hat-Dog killer, Jasper needs to must find the pattern behind the crazed murders. And it's a very good one at that, once revealed. 

If you like crime novels, murder mysteries, action/adventure - you name it - this book should excite you. I can admit I was truly stumped over the connection until the big reveal.And in case that isn’t enough, Barry Lyga gives us a little more in the way of some side mysteries that delve into the Dent past and bring Connie and Howie into the spotlight. This book is jam packed and kept me on the edge of my seat for a whole 500+ pages.

Third, we have some really great characters. I already raved a little over Jasper and he is one awesome lead (and you all know I love male POV) but the secondary characters stand out to be just as much. Connie is FIERCE. If anyone can handle Jasper, this girl can. She is AWESOME. Yeahhhh she does some stupid things in this book but I can’t say I wouldn’t do the same. She is one strong lady. And Howie, don’t even get me started. HILARIOUS. He can’t seem to shut up but everything out of his mouth is funny, and usually inappropriate. The grandmom is as crazy as ever. G. William Turner is still kickin’. And when I think of the ever so serious Detective Hughes I think of Tyrese Gibson for some reason, and that is one pretttyyy picture! ;)

Last but not least, this book is just well-written. It is engaging, informative, authentic (or at least feels that way). But above all, it is unique. And Barry Lyga skillfully continues to divulge the story of Billy Dent's past and Jasper's childhood while weaving an interesting set of murders for readers to solve. If you like crime stories or you are curious about the way serial killers think, then this is definitely your book. 

Copyright © 2014 The Quiet Concert
Template and Design by New Chapter Designs