Game by Barry Lyga (Jasper Dent #2)

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Game is the second book in the extremely fascinating young adult thriller series featuring Jasper Dent (Jazz to his friends and family), the son of one of the most prominent serial killers alive, Billy Dent (Dear Old Dad).

In the first book we entered Jasper’s head, where we could learn all about him fighting his demons which were born out of his struggle with the knowledge that he is the son of an infamous serial killer, and his need to be different, to fight his murderous urges and prove that he can be exactly the opposite of his father. The first book really reminded me a lot of Dexter Morgan and I was wondering whether the second book would see him take the killer’s path and calling.

As he helped the police in I Hunt Killers catch The Impressionist, in Game he is asked again for help in catching a new vicious serial killer called Hat-Dog killer. So here we see a lot more action than in the first book. Reading Game, I couldn’t help but feel that it is more of a traditional, mainstream thriller than the previous book.

While Jazz agrees to help, he is still fighting his inner demons. Now his struggles are focused on Connie, his girlfriend. He wants to sleep with her, but how can he – he is the product of a serial killer, and what if he becomes like his dad as well? What if this will become his undoing, turning him into a sexual rapist and killer as his dad?

Afterall he grew up with his dad who taught him that people are nothing and gave him the tools to use anyone and everyone to his liking. Especially woman. So Jasper’s struggles are painfully real. He loves Connie and is fighting the early lessons from his dad with all his heart and soul.

We also get more of Jazz’s best friend, Howie, who plays a great part in the adventures the friends have in New York. I love Howie, he is one of the funniest teenage characters I’ve read in books recently. In fact, Blood Boy, one of the novellas in the series (which I will be reviewing shortly) is focused all on Howie, much to my delight. Howie wants to help Jazz catch this new killer and he puts his life in danger for him.

To help Jazz, Connie also thinks she has it all figured out and goes on a scavanger hunt organized by the killer. Afterall how bad can things become, right? And boy does she get the surprise of her life…

Which brings me to the half star taken off from the glorious 5 star rating I gave the first book. It’s the wicked cliffhanger. The story left us hanging real bad, with a situation that make us crazy while waiting for the third book, Blood of my Blood (which was finally published in 2014 as well, and it’s one of my next reviews to come). Connie gets herself in a situation of (literally) life and death and we don’t know her fate. Howie gets himself into trouble as well and let’s just say Jazz has a fate that is yet to be determined.

I really don’t know many authors who can leave us in such a horrible suspense from one year to the other when the next book is out. And what makes it worse is that we were left with not one, not two, but three major cliffhangers, all in one book. That I didn’t throw my iPad out of the window in frustration when finished reading Game is a testament to how much I actually love the series, even with the author leaving us in suspense regarding the fate of the 3 main characters for over a year.

Having said that, Game is a heck of a thriller. If you pick it up, you need to start with I Hunt Killers, because there are just too many things that you’ll miss out on if you read Game as a standalone book.

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