Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Guilty Pleasure Reading

I've been meaning to post since I don't know... forever ago. Why has it taken me so long? Busy at work, busy at home, busy, busy, busy. That's no excuse because I've been meaning to post about my current Guilty Pleasure Reading. What, you may ask, is my definition of Guilty Pleasure Reading (yes, I think of the words in capitalized)? Simply put, it's my escapist reading. I don't care how well written the title is, I don't have to justify my reading of it as literature or I'm reviewing it. Strangely enough, my Guilty Pleasure Reading runs the gamut of types of stories. It could be my Harry Potter fanfiction I read on my phone, my manga series that I still pick up on occasion, or that Robert Cormier novel that put me on the path of my career-- The Chocolate War.

Or it could be like the book series I'm currently Guilty Pleasure Reading -- the Jasper Dent series by Barry Lyga. The first book, I Hunt Killers. Jazz knows everything there is to know about serial killers because of his Dear Old Dad. Dear Old Dad was the most notorious serial killer of today. While Dear Old Dad (D.O.D.) wastes away in prison, Jazz fights D.O.D.'s voice in his head daily, hoping, praying that his conscience will be the thing that stops him from being a killer like D.O.D.--or an even better one. Then the murders start happening in his town. Jazz knows that before long someone will start pointing their finger at him, so he tries to help the police in their investigation to stop the Impressionist.

The key to the novel for me was Jazz. What an intriguing character. How does someone who was raised to be the best serial killer not use his brainwashing? How much is nature vs. nurture and really what chance does this kid have? It reminds me of a line from the TV show Criminal Minds about those who have had the horrible scarring childhoods can become the sociopathic killers or the ones who catch them. Jazz will be the hunter to the killers. Lyga kept him interesting through his inner monologue of Dear Old Dad and his own internal battle against said training. Lyga created the right mixture of darkness with a splash of humor to make this dark time easier to swallow. The novel definitely pushes the envelope in terms of graphic violence, but older teens and adults will most likely be fine with it.

I'm one of those people who silently mocks all of you readers who read the last few pages ahead of time to see what happens. I have to admit that this book made me do it. The first time Jazz flashes to the dream/memory "cuts like chicken" I had to know if he was made to kill his mom as a kid. Of course we don't know the answer, but I still had to look.

The second book. The Game, is out and available. I'm trying to get through my pile of books I have to review for review journals before  I pick it up, but it's a tough battle. If you enjoy dark novels about serial killers, which in the teen lit world I can't really think of one, then this one will be up your alley.

3 comments:

Karen Counts said...

I have been addicted to psychological thrillers this summer so thank you for this recommendation. I think insight into the mind of a serial killer is fascinating! I wanted to mention a murder mystery novel focusing on serial killers I read recently that I could NOT put down. The book is called “The Gemini Factor” by author Philip Fleishman (http://www.philipfleishmanmd.com/)The action and surprises in this book just never stopped! It is a superb medical/psychological mystery spun with meticulous attention to accuracy. The medical aspects are gruesomely spot-on (the book focuses on serial killers with identical "calling cards" in two different countries). I cannot wait for this author's next book and hope you will give it a read!

Karen Counts said...

I have been addicted to psychological thrillers this summer so thank you for this recommendation. I think insight into the mind of a serial killer is fascinating! I wanted to mention a murder mystery novel focusing on serial killers I read recently that I could NOT put down. The book is called “The Gemini Factor” by author Philip Fleishman (http://www.philipfleishmanmd.com/)The action and surprises in this book just never stopped! It is a superb medical/psychological mystery spun with meticulous attention to accuracy. The medical aspects are gruesomely spot-on (the book focuses on serial killers with identical "calling cards" in two different countries). I cannot wait for this author's next book and hope you will give it a read!

Karen Counts said...

I have been addicted to psychological thrillers this summer so thank you for this recommendation. I think insight into the mind of a serial killer is fascinating! I wanted to mention a murder mystery novel focusing on serial killers I read recently that I could NOT put down. The book is called “The Gemini Factor” by author Philip Fleishman (http://www.philipfleishmanmd.com/)The action and surprises in this book just never stopped! It is a superb medical/psychological mystery spun with meticulous attention to accuracy. The medical aspects are gruesomely spot-on (the book focuses on serial killers with identical "calling cards" in two different countries). I cannot wait for this author's next book and hope you will give it a read!