Posts Tagged 'serial killer'

I Hunt Killers by Barry Lyga

i hunt killers

Genre:  Mystery

# of Pages:  360

2016 Iowa High School Award winner

RAC:  yes

Jazz is the only son of a notorious serial killer named Billy.  Billy reportedly murdered over 200 people and Jazz is struggling with the doubts that he could end up just like him.  He does not want to become a killer, but he worries it’s already inside him waiting to come out.  When he hears of a murder in his small town he goes to the scene to help out since he “knows how serial killers work.”  The police reject his help, but eventually come back to him when it’s discovered this new murder is mimicking one of Billy’s early murders.  Who would be recreating his father’s grisly murders and why?  Can Jazz help the police before more people lose their lives?  Can Jazz prove to everyone and even himself that he is not going to follow in his father’s footsteps?

Fans of mystery books will enjoy this title because it has a good amount of plot twists, suspense, and colorful characters.  Jazz is truly battling with himself because he will always be the son of the infamous Billy Dent and he needs to figure out what that means for the rest of his life.  He does not want to be like his father, but having been raised by him he sometimes does not see life situations the same way that others do.  Luckily, he has a small but powerful support system that is helping him realize that he is capable of valuing human life.  There is a bit of gore in this title, but nothing worse than an episode of CSI or Criminal Minds.

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Killer Instinct by Jennifer Barnes

killerinstinct

Genre:  Mystery

# of Pages:  375

RAC:  Yes

In this sequel to The Naturals, all the main characters are back and still reeling from the very scary encounter Cassie had with a serial killer in the first book.  It isn’t long before another case draws in the naturals even though the FBI has sworn to leave them out of any active cases in the future.  A young college student’s body appears on the lawn of the campus, but the method mimics that of Dean’s father and that immediately complicates things.  Dean’s father will only answer questions for Dean so he has to come face to face with his dad for the first time since he was arrested for heinous crimes.  Meanwhile, Cassie, Michael, Lia, and Sloane all try to help but everything they try seems to get them in more and more trouble with the FBI.  On top of all that, a new FBI agent has been brought in to oversee the naturals programs and she seems determined to end the program one way or another.  Can they find out who is copying Dean’s father and how that person is getting information?  Can Cassie and her friends prove how valuable the program is so that it doesn’t get cut by the FBI?  Will Cassie ever choose between Dean and Michael?

This is a solid followup to the first book.  The mystery itself is engaging and is more complicated than most readers will think at first which will keep them guessing until the end.  The characters grow and develop more in this book and makes the naturals program seem more useful and interesting than before.  The love triangle between Dean, Michael, and Cassie finally gets resolved, but will most likely be revisited in the next installment.  Fans looking for a fun mystery series will enjoy this.

The Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson

name of the star

Genre:  Fantasy/Mystery

# of Pages:  372

RAC: Yes

Rory goes to England with her parents for her senior year of high school and enrolls in a private boarding school in London.  She hits it off with her roommate and finds that she fits in pretty well with their different classes and overall school schedules.  Shortly after she arrives, however, a terrible murder is committed mimicking Jack the Ripper’s first murder that occurred many years prior to this on the same date.  Despite London having over a million cameras throughout the city there is a shocking lack of evidence.  Rory and her new friends live close to where all of these murders occurred and therefore get caught up in the fear that sweeps over London.  Can they find the Jack the Ripper impersonator?  Will the murders continue and everyone be helpless to stop it?

This book was highly suspenseful, entertaining, and unique.  The idea itself captures most people’s interest as Jack the Ripper is one of the most famous unidentified serial killers and the hysteria that sweeps the public is completely believable.  The actual revelation of who is committing the murders is unique and yet plausible.  The characters are all likable and the ending sets up the series for many more titles to come.  This book was named an Iowa Teen Award winner for this year and is highly recommended.

Past World by Ian Beck

Genre:  Fantasy

# of Pages:  353

RAC Book:  Yes

Pastworld is a theme park designed to look exactly like 1880’s London.  In this historically accurate world, anyone who comes to visit must abide by the dress, laws, language, and even technology found at this time.  Some people were born in Pastworld and do not realize it is merely a tourist attraction utilized mainly by the wealthy.  Others, like Caleb, travel to the old London in order to see what life was like back then.  The problem is that crime definitely existed in the 1880s and has crept up again in this new city.  Law officials are forbidden from using any technology not found during the 1880s to solve crimes.  When a Jack the Ripper type serial killer starts killing innocent people there seems to be no way of stopping him.  Meanwhile, Caleb is blamed for a crime he did not commit and must go on the run or risk spending the rest of his life in a historically accurate prison with an archaic judicial system.

The idea behind this story is very intriguing and sets itself up with lots of details and interesting characters.  The Fantom, or serial killer, is an interesting idea but the character ends the story feeling unfinished and undeveloped.  Readers who enjoy fantasy or historical fiction will enjoy the idea of this interesting tourist attraction, but may find the ending a bit abrupt and unsatisfying.

Darkly Dreaming Dexter by Jeff Lindsay

Genre:  Mystery/Horror

Age Level:  14 and up

# of Pages:  288 p.

RAC Book:  Yes

Dexter Morgan was adopted when he was three and even though he doesn’t remember anything before that, his adopted father, who is also a cop, seems determined to help him rise above his past.  As Dexter grows up, however, he begins to feel tendencies toward murder.  As hard as he tries to fight it he finds himself murdering animals in the neighborhood.  Once his father discovers this he teaches him how to execute a murder so that he will never get caught, while also showing him how to profile serial killers.  He believes that if you have to kill you might as well kill people who deserve it.

 When Dexter grows up he becomes a blood spatter analyst in a police station while his sister strives to become a homicide detective.  He works very hard to find people he believes deserve to die for their sins and making that a reality.  Soon there is a new murderer in town who has caused quite a stir since the bodies never contain any blood.  As Dexter tries to solve this case it keeps getting further into his psyche and he wonders if it is possible he is committing these murders and not even knowing it.  Is it time for Dexter to pay for his crimes before he lost control completely?

This murderous villain forces the reader to ponder very important issues that are often glossed over in television and movies.  Is it okay to kill if you are killing other “bad guys”?  Is it okay to take vengeance into your own hands?  Are there people who truly have a disposition for murder or are they formed into that through environment or mental disease?  Dexter Morgan can be a very sympathetic character, but he can also be a monster which makes these stories very complex and interesting to discuss with students.  The story itself is very interesting and leaves you guessing until the end.  Mystery readers will be fans of this book.


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