Summary from Amazon:
I Hunt Killers introduced the world to Jasper (Jazz) Dent, the son of the world’s most infamous serial killer.
When a desperate New York City detective comes knocking on Jazz’s door asking for help with a new case, Jazz can’t say no. The Hat-Dog Killer has the Big Apple–and its police force running scared with no leads. So Jazz and his girlfriend Connie hop on a plane to the big city and get swept up in a killer’s murderous game.
Meanwhile, Jazz’s dad Billy is watching…and waiting.
I had nothing negative to say about the first book in the Jasper Dent series, I Hunt Killers (my review). Basically I loved everything about. So I had pretty high expectations going in Game, the second book in this series. At the same time, I wasn’t sure if Lyga would be able to create the same kind of tension in Game that he did in I Hunt Killers. There’s always something kind of special about the first book in a series, and a lot of that is because it’s the first time I meet these characters. But Lyga hit it out of the park (side note: seriously, I don’t know why I use baseball phrases because I can’t stand sports talk at all!) with Game!
Life has returned to it’s semi-normal state after everything that’s happened in Lobo’s Nod. Jasper is still dating Connie, Howie is still Jazz’s best friend, and Jazz’s grandmother is still a little bit crazy. Also, Jasper Dent is still as terrified as ever that he’s going to turn out like his serial-killer father, and the events at the end of I Hunt Killers have not helped matters. So when a NYPD detective shows up on Jazz’s doorstep asking for his help in a rash of murders in Brooklyn, Jazz decides to lend his unique talents to the investigation.
You know, I really wasn’t sure if Lyga would be able to surprise me this time around, like he did in I Hunt Killers. It’s not that I am super great at figuring out mysteries. It’s just that I’ve read so many, and I think after you’ve read a lot, you start to notice the clues that authors drop throughout the novel more easily because you know the structure these types of books usually go in. But I didn’t figure it out! I mean, I was able to figure some of it out as I was reading, but I was still totally surprised at the end, too. And I loved that! The mystery/thriller aspect of this book was perfect, and I wouldn’t want anything changed. It was creepy, and a lot of the time I couldn’t figure out what was going on, and I couldn’t read Game fast enough.
As I mentioned in my review of I Hunt Killers, although Lyga really kicks butt in the plot department, he doesn’t skimp out in the character department. My favorite characters from Killers are back, and full of unique personality. Jazz, and his constant worry of ending up like his father; Connie, and her willingness to always support Jasper when he needs it, but also knowing when to stand up for herself, and tell Jazz he’s being an idiot; and Howie, perhaps one of my favorite secondary characters ever, with his low-key attitude and determination to not let his illness get him down. Jazz, Connie and Howie all play an important part of this story, and at the end of the book we’re left wondering what their fates will be.
Billy Dent, Jazz’s creepy serial killer father, is in the background of this book. He’s not always front and center, but his presence is always felt. Lyga gives us just enough Billy Dent to understand how scary this guy is, and for us not to forget about him. There’s just the right amount of Billy Dent creepiness to keep Game very suspenseful.
One of the most fascinating aspects of the Jasper Dent series is how it makes you contemplate nature versus nurture. And more than that too, really. For the first 13 years of Jazz’s life, his father was training him to be a serial killer (nature AND nurture working against Jazz here). For the last four years, Jazz has been battling with himself, trying his best to not turn out like that. And Barry Lyga doesn’t sugar coat things. Some of Jazz’s thoughts are downright disturbing, and as much as I want to believe that Jazz will never become his father, sometimes it’s not always clear. But that’s what keeps these books so interesting.
I cannot stress enough how much I have enjoyed listening to both I Hunt Killers and Game on audiobook. Charlie Thurston is the perfect narrator for these books, and by listening to them, I think I enjoyed them more than I would have otherwise. Barry Lyga, with his Jasper Dent series, has reminded me why I used to love reading mystery/thrillers. If they were all as good at Game, I would read nothing else. If you haven’t read this series yet, I urge you to give it a try.