Blood of My Blood by Barry Lyga
Series: I Hunt Killers #3
Published on September 9th, 2014
Genres: Fiction, Social Issues, Suspense, Thriller, Young Adult
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Jazz Dent has been shot and left to die in New York City. His girlfriend Connie is in the clutches of Jazz's serial killer father, Billy. And his best friend Howie is bleeding to death on the floor of Jazz's own home in tiny Lobo's Nod. Somehow, these three must rise above the horrors their lives have become and find a way to come together in pursuit of Billy. But then Jazz crosses a line he's never crossed before, and soon the entire country is wondering: "Like father, like son?" Who is the true monster?
The chase is on, and beyond Billy there lurks something much, much worse. Prepare to meet...the Crow King.
Author Barbie Bohrman recently read an ARC of the third book of Barry Lyga’s I Hunt Killers series. We asked her if she would be willing to review the book for our blog, and she was really excited to show her Barry love through her review!
Before you read this review below, know that it’s VERY important that you read the first tow books before reading this. There are plot twists, and potential spoilers that may be within this review, so read at your own risk! (However, if you have read the first two books, you should be in the clear!
Up until a month or so ago, I had never heard of Barry Lyga. It wasn’t until No BS Book Reviews featured the first novel in the trilogy, I Hunt Killers, as their pick for “Novel Nudity” that it hit my radar. (Here is the link for that initial post that piqued my interest: http://nobsbookreviews.com/novel-nudity-i-hunt-killers-barrylyga/)
To say I’m a bit of a cover whore, would be putting it mildly. And the naked cover of the hardcover of IHK got me hook, line, and sinker. I was in love. And then that opening: “It was a beautiful day. It was a beautiful field. Except for the body.”
I dove into the first book and loved it. So much so, that it has cracked my top ten best of books list of all time. I immediately went on to book two and the novellas. I devoured ALL of them in two days. I was enthralled with Jazz, Howie, Connie, G. William, and yes, the incomparable, Billy Dent. I was dying for more about these characters. I needed the third book yesterday. If I didn’t find out what the hell happened after that crazy cliffhanger in book two sooner than later, I was going to lose my mind.
So when Stephanie at No BS Book Reviews asked me to read and review the third and final installment in the trilogy, Blood of My Blood, for the blog, I jumped at the chance.
But, there was this one tiny issue…I didn’t have my Kindle with me.
I know, I know! What the hell was I, an avid reader, thinking?!?
I had a moment where I seriously considered driving in the summer shore traffic along the Garden State Parkway, which would have taken about two hours, at the very least, to go and pick up my Kindle.
I could almost hear Bruce Springsteen crooning in my ear while I weighed out my options: “Highways jammed with broken heroes on a last chance power drive.” As romantic and poetic as Bruce makes it sound, dealing with NJ shore traffic firsthand is something else entirely.
Enter option number two: run to my local electronics store and buy a new Kindle.
At first, even I thought that was a bit crazy. But when I asked my closest book buddies their opinion, they immediately said, “DO IT!” (I knew I could count on them to placate my psychotic book reading tendencies.)
So, a ridiculous amount of money later that I’ve been able to justify, because really, we’re talking about more Jazz Dent, I was snuggled up with a brand spanking new Kindle Fire HD and reading Blood of My Blood. It was more than worth it.
I had very high expectations for this book. And, I hate to say it, usually trilogies somehow end up disappointing me; that last book never quite living up to the first and the momentum just falls short.
That wasn’t the case here. Not by a long shot.
**Slight spoilers ahead, beware!**
Lyga picks up right where we left off…our three heroes in dire circumstances; all of them struggling to survive in life and death situations.
Jazz Dent, the son of the infamous Billy Dent, one of the world’s most prolific serial killers, is clinging to life and coming to terms with a revelation that rocks his world on it’s axis. Connie, Jazz’s girlfriend, is literally face to face with evil incarnate. And finally, Howie, Jazz’s loyal and hysterical best friend, and honestly, one of the best sidekicks I’ve ever had the pleasure of reading about, is fading to black after having confronted Jazz’s Aunt Sam.
So when book three begins right at these starting off points, you know you’re in for the ride of your life. And the ride is bloody brilliant…pun intended. It’s a non-stop roller coast ride of ups and ups and more ups until the crescendo. And then…well, let’s just say it’s one of the most awesomely crazy, badass, disturbing, and creepy crescendo’s I’ve ever read. It is more than satisfying to those that have read the entire series and the one that makes the most sense.
As I stated previously, sometimes the final book in an installment can leave me wanting more from the story and the characters; think of Oliver Twist, “Please sir, may I have some more.”
Blood of My Blood left me beyond gratified. That ending. Simply put, perfection. Lyga was able to tie everything up beautifully. But more than that, as a reader, it felt as if you could tell that he held these characters in such a high regard, that to end it any other way would have been a disservice to them.
Speaking of the characters. This entire series is a fantastic study in character development. Case in point, Jazz Dent. Our hero begins his journey in book one wanting to prove to the world and to himself, that he’s NOT his father’s son. Even though his secret sociopathic thoughts are always present and surfacing every now and again, he’s continually fighting them off. By the time we catch up to him in book three, he’s embraced them and learned to handle it in a way that helps him move forward. It’s as if he knows that in order to live his life in a semi-normal way, he needs to take the things his father taught him and put them to use. If not, he won’t survive.
And then there’s Billy. Ah, Billy Dent is one seriously twisted character that I love to hate and hate to love. The gruesome things that he’s done in the past and in the present are beyond disturbing. Yet, there are times when I found myself rooting for him. I don’t know if that makes me a little off, but there it is. His dialogue is charming and then switches at a bat of an eyelash to psychotic. One scene in particular in book three sticks out to me for Billy. I won’t say much so as to not ruin it for the reader, but in this scene, Billy IS a dad. Not that he’s never been a dad to Jazz in the basic sense of the word, but caring for his health specifically in the scene I’m referring to is a bit of a mind f*ck. It’s a paradox to read something where you know the same hands that have claimed the lives of countless women are the same ones he’s using to save his son’s life.
In short, which is obviously impossible right now, this is a must read. The entire series is a MUST read. The writing, plot, character development is top notch. So much so, that after reading this series, I went back and read all of Lyga’s previous works, which are equally as good. He’s an incredibly gifted author and deserves a lot more attention. Personally, I’ve added him to my small list of authors who I automatically purchase any of their books as soon as one’s announced; sight unseen, synopsis not read, go in blind. To me, there is no other higher praise I could possible offer…and I very much look forward to see what he has in store next.
P.S. I will never be able to listen to Waterfalls by TLC again in the same way. So thank you, Barry Lyga. :)
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