Blood of My Blood by Barry Lyga

Blood of My Blood by Barry Lyga

Title: Blood of My Blood
Author: Barry Lyga
Series: Jasper Dent, #3

Jasper “Jazz” Dent has spent his entire life in the shadow cast by his serial killer father, Billy Dent. He thought he could be smarted than Dear Old Dad, but Jazz’s quest to outwit his father has left him alone and bleeding from a gunshot wound. But Billy isn’t done with his son just yet. After saving him, Billy leaves Jazz with the knowledge that he has someone he loves. Jazz has two choices: let the authorities chase Billy, who spent most of his life being ten steps ahead of them, or sacrifice everything and go after Billy himself.

“I’m not afraid of you.”
“Course not. You’re not smart enough to be afraid of me.”

Barry Lyga’s Blood of My Blood, the final book in his Jasper Dent series, sees its protagonist finally confront his father and the disturbing memories still lurking in the back of his mind. Jazz has grown up trying to convince himself that all the thoughts embedded in him by his father can somehow be overcome. But in this final installment, the ruthlessness, the cunning, and the dark thoughts are the only way Jazz can finally put a stop to Billy Dent’s murderous rampage. To stop Billy, Jazz must be willing to sacrifice his own humanity and become the killer his father raised him to be.

Billy Dent may be the most menacing and twisted villain I’ve ever come across in fiction. He’s smart, strong, cold, and there is something disturbingly warm about him when it comes to Jazz. Billy’s voice cuts through the pages, far more distinctly and more clearly than any of the other characters in this series. Billy is not the only sinister antagonist in this final book and as impossible as it seems, there is someone far more vile. Someone who will have you wondering if therapy might be a viable option not only for the characters but also for yourself as a reader.

Barry Lyga’s series deals with the age old question of nature vs. nurture. Whether or not one’s own will-power is enough to overcome these damnable influences. If you weren’t uncomfortable reading the first two books, this final one will certain do the job. With twists, murder, and cruelty at every turn, Blood of My Blood brings the series to a ferocious conclusion.

Rating: 4/5

★★★★

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The Friday 56, #61: Blood of My Blood

The Friday 56The Friday 56 is a weekly blog meme hosted by Freda’s Voice. Join in every Friday, the rules are simple.

Rules:

*Grab a book, any book.
*Turn to page 56 or 56% in your eReader.
*Find any sentence (or a few, just don’t spoil it) that grab you.
*Post it.
*Add your (url) post here in Linky. Add the post url, not your blog url. It’s that simple.

**Also be sure to leave me a link to your Friday 56 post in the comments!**

‘She had managed to serpentine her way over to the bed, where her fellow captive had — after many failed attempts — untied her hand…she’d gotten to the proper wall, braced herself, levered herself upright, and found the light switch, nestled in a cutout rectangle of the soundproofing material.’

Blood of My Blood is the final installment in Barry Lyga’s Jasper Dent trilogy about the son of a serial killer who struggles with the fear that he may be too much like his father. I plan on making this my next read and I’ll also be making sure all my doors are locked before starting.

You can find my reviews for the first two books in the series below:

I Hunt Killers (Jasper Dent, #1)

Game (Jasper Dent, #2)

Game by Barry Lyga

Game by Barry Lyga

Title: Game
Author: Barry Lyga
Series: Jasper Dent, #2

Jasper Dent hasn’t quite gotten over the nightmare that was his life a few months ago when a serial killer decided to make his town of Lobo’s Nob his playground and replicate his murders after the notorious Billy Dent, who isn’t just any serial killer, he’s Jazz’s father. Billy Dent knows how to play people and he played Jazz, pulling his most impressive feat yet: escaping from prison.

Jazz knows that it’s only a matter of time before his father seeks out his son. When a detective from New York shows up asking for Jazz’s help solving the Hat-Dog murders, Jazz is reluctant but eventually accepts that the only way he can prove he isn’t like his father is to hunt down those who are. Unbeknownst to Jazz is that Billy is also in New York and news of his son’s arrival makes him very happy.

“Livin’ another day is what it’s all about, Jasper, m’boy, ’cause every day we live is another chance to kill.”

Game, Barry Lyga’s second book in his Jasper Dent series, is at times gruesome and unapologetically candid. This may be a YA book, but it does not shy away from the repulsiveness of its own topic. I wouldn’t recommend this book to anyone who is squeamish.

Jazz continues to doubt himself and this bleeds into his relationship with her girlfriend Connie. In this book we see much more of Billy’s influence as Jazz’s thoughts sometimes take on the persona of his father, which at times can be extremely disturbing. I have a great affection for Jazz, but if I’m honest he sometimes worries me. Most of what we learn of Billy Dent is because of Jazz’s make-believe conversations with him, which probably doesn’t bode well for the mental health of our protagonist.

I was so happy to see that this book zeroed in on Jazz’s girlfriend Connie. She has a much more intimate look at Jazz and less convoluted perspective of him than Jazz himself. She has so much faith in her boyfriend, but like me she has those little moments of doubt or times when Jazz’s behavior gives her pause. As the story progressed, I couldn’t decide whether the girl was brave or reckless, but it’s probably both. What I didn’t like is that a few characters seem to suffer from a bit of stupidity and while I understand this lack of sense is used to build tension (and boy, I felt the tension), it can sometimes compromise the intellect of the characters.

What did I learn from Game? Here’s a list.

Rules To Live By When Dealing With A Serial Killer:

(1) If you’re ever contacted by one, call the police immediately.

(2) Insist on 24/7 protection and your own weapon.

(3) Never go anywhere by yourself.

(4) Never let anyone leave you by yourself.

(5) Never, under any circumstances, accept an invitation from a serial killer to join a Game.

Rating: 4/5

★★★★

I Hunt Killers by Barry Lyga

I Hunt Killer by Barry Lyga

Title: I Hunt Killer
Author: Barry Lyga
Series: Jasper Dent, #1

Lobo’s Nod was home to one of the country’s most notorious serial killers. Billy Dent stalked, tortured, and murdered over one hundred people until he was finally caught. Just a boy when his father was finally apprehended, Jasper “Jazz” Dent would like nothing more than to forget the man who raised him. I Hunt Killers is the story of a boy trying desperately to escape the fate he is sure awaits him–a fate that condemns him to become the next Billy Dent.

Jazz’s determination places him in another serial killer’s path. The Impressionist is on the loose, taking great joy in mimicking Billy Dent’s first murders. There’s a growing urgency inside Jazz, a need to find this killer and prove that he isn’t like his father even when the voice inside him whispers otherwise.

“He hated most things about Dear Old Dad, but what he hated most was that Dear Old Dad was pretty much always right.”

Jazz is a complex character. He grew up in the hands of a man who wanted nothing more than to continue his legacy through his son. Jazz’s very thought process is a result of this history and in many ways he is very much his father’s son. But there’s another side to Jazz, a side that insists on proving to himself that he is different, that he isn’t simply a product of his genes. It is this part that takes tremendous risks and often proves the very thing it is trying to refute.

Jazz’s inner struggle is both frustrating and compelling to me as a reader. This protagonist is so caught up in second guessing himself that it’s difficult for him to reach a point where he can say without a doubt what he really feels. Are his feelings for his girlfriend Connie real? Does he really care about his best friend Howie? Is he simply playacting his way through life like so many sociopaths before him? Is his very worry about being a sociopath proof that he isn’t or is the truth more complicated than that?

Billy Dent spent a lot of time telling his son that he was just like him, that I’m convinced that this line of thinking is more of a product of brainwashing than an actual representation of who Jazz is. Still, you cannot help be a little unnerved when he evokes a certain emotion out of himself in an effort to draw out certain reactions in others. This is a complicated situation with no easy answers and Jazz doesn’t make it any easier on himself. He’s one of those people who has to come to a conclusion on his own because no amount of reasoning will persuade him.

If that isn’t enough to disturb your sleep, there are those memories that Jazz can’t quite get a clear handle on and the disappearance of his own mother during his father’s reign of terror looms large over him. I Hunt Killers is equal parts horrifying and painful. The end will leave you gasping for breath and starving for the next one.

Rating: 4/5

★★★★