BOOK REVIEW: Game (Jasper Dent #2) by Barry LygaGame (Jasper Dent #2)
by Barry Lyga
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Synopsis:

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.

Both the stakes and the body count are higher in this suspenseful and unstoppable sequel from acclaimed author Barry Lyga.

 

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He wondered: When next he saw his father, would he be thrilled or terrified?

Hmm hmm hmmmmm. What a wonderfully demented series. Not often do I pick up thriller books and find such satisfaction. It isn’t merely the characters, though, that’s about 80% of it, and it isn’t wholly the mysteries. I think my love for this series stems from the humor that seeps off of every page. Jazz wouldn’t be Jazz without his snarky, asshole-ish attitude I’ve come to love so deeply, and I don’t think I’d enjoy Jazz’s inner voice that channels Billy-isms (I do love it, albeit begrudgingly) without the laugh-factor, either. Mix all that humor, Jazz’s completely deranged mind, serial killers that don’t care who they take out to achieve their ultimate goal, friends (and girlfriend) who start to find themselves wrapped up in the killing game as well, and what do you have??? One helluva story.

“So I get to help out during the Bad Hours. Great. Should have let the Impressionist kill you,” Howie grumbled.
“He wasn’t going to kill me.”
“That’s just because he didn’t really, really know you.”

Man oh MAAAAAN did this story end in a crazy place. Imagine literally the worst case scenario….and multiply it by ten, lol. Being a seasoned perilista, I didn’t know what to expect-my friend, who knows my unhinged mind very well, said I would love the end and all of book three…almost as if these scenes and most of the third book were made for me. And I thought, hmm, okay, I guess we’ll see then. Everyone has a different trigger point, a different idea of what scary is, what humor is, what danger is, so it’s all fairly subjective, if you think about it. I almost always hear (or rather, see) people say ‘OMGAH THAT ENDING’ or “OMG I NEED THE NEXT BOOK NOOOOOW’ or ‘EVIL CLIFFHANGER’. You know the reviews, you’ve likely seen them for your future reads. Well, unlike most sane people, I love when I see those headlines-what’s better than getting your heart pumping at the end of your favorite books?? If you don’t get intense feels, what’s the point? Not many people agree about wanting things to go to Hell in a handbasket, but it’s one of my favorite things about books. *shrugs* That’s just me. But, my point is, more often than not, people are overreacting. Most endings aren’t that bad, and I can’t help but to feel a tad disappointed each time I get my hopes up. But, and trust me on this, if you read this book….The end will not let you down. Believe me.

Inwardly, Jazz bristled, but he didn’t let Morales see it. His past was his. It was fractured and weird and a typhoon of emotions and fragments of memories, but it was his and his alone.

Wow. I’m still reeling after finishing last night. My (book) adrenaline was on high and I couldn’t sleep, tossing and turning and desperate for more. That’s what makes a good series. The first book is great-Yeah, awesome. But when book two makes it impossible for you to put down?? That’s a fuckin’ win. I am almost always annoyed by book two in a series, but this series doesn’t fall into that curse. Book two not only kept me up late into the night reading, it intensified my thirst and longing for the third installment. Instead of being weary about what’s to come and how the author could possibly fuck up probably one of my (only) favorite thriller series thus far into my life, I know, without a doubt, the third book will be fantastic.

What was lurking back there in the cold, dark recesses of his memory? What secrets were hidden in his past? Jazz felt as though his own life was a minefield, one he’d lost the map for. One wrong step and he’d lose a foot or a leg.
Or his mind.

Jazz. Jasper. Jasper Dent. The elusive serial killer’s son. Billy Dent Jr.. There are literally no words to describe how obsessed with him I am (see picture above). He’s raw. He’s unsure of himself. He’s loyal. He’s tormented. He loves deeply. He’s devoted to clearing his name. And….he’s a manipulative little shit. I love love loooooove him. Being in his mind is like walking on shards of glass. He never knows if he’s doing something because he’s inherently good, or if he simply wants people to believe he’s good. He helps hunt killers, he protects those around him…but to what end?? What if he snaps? What if he’s just sitting around with the girl he loves or his best friend in the whole world…and he decides to go Billy on their asses? What then?

“I’m sorry. I really am.” Nah, Billy whispered, you ain’t sorry. You just know sayin’ it gets you what you want.
Jazz shook Billy away. He was sorry.
He was, like, 99 percent sure he was really sorry.
“I shouldn’t have done that,” he said. “I’ll apologize to your dad right now.”
Maybe 98 percent.

Jasper doubts himself on the deepest levels and I truly enjoy watching his internal struggle. He wants so badly to be good, to prove he’s more than his piece of shit dad, but it’s an uphill battle and he feels the only way he’ll ever know if he’s truly good is to kill the baddest of bad men himself-his dad.

Jazz stared at her father. Connie had never seen such a stare. He didn’t move; his expression didn’t change. It was something ethereal, something in his eyes, or in his soul. Something had shifted, and Connie suddenly realized that she’d been wrong before-her father wasn’t the hawk on the high branch.
Jazz was.

We follow him to NYC to try and stop the Hat-Dog killer (I SWEAR it’s not…like….something about killing dogs-I’d NEVER support a book where I had to read about animal slaughter as a main plot point), which he thinks is also one step closer to dear old Dad…and we see his journey to redeem himself unfolding before our eyes. I can’t say much more than what I’ve already said, so all I can do is encourage you to try this series. It’s gruesome. It can be sad. There is a lot in book one I didn’t want to have to read about…but it’s Jazz’s journey and I wouldn’t change it for the world. You have to read these books. If you like thrillers or tortured leads at all, you’ll likely love it. Just a thought.

“You think you’re gonna find your soul. Ever since I’ve known you, you’ve been thinkin’ that someday you’re gonna crack and end up like your daddy. And you’ve been looking for proof that you won’t. What you don’t realize is this: The looking is the proof. Trust me when I tell you that Billy Dent never had a moment’s doubt in his life about what he was and what he was doing. Your doubt is your soul, kid.”

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