Review: In truth, this is a book I read for my book club, one that would not likely have been on my radar (or my TBR), but…I’m really glad I read it. Glad enough that, midway through reading the digital library copy of this first installment, I purchased the 2nd and 3rd books when I saw them at my local bookstore.
This book felt very original to me. Sure there are lots of books about serial killers, but how many are written from the perspective of a child raised by one? AND geared towards YA readers? And the characters were just so damn likable. There were some points at which the storyline seemed a bit far-fetched. In the real world, it is unlikely that the authorities would rope in a kid – even a teenager on the verge of adulthood – to assist with an active investigation into a serial killer, no matter the circumstances. So suspending disbelief was sometimes a challenge. BUT. The draw for me was not so much the murder mystery aspect, but the psychology of Jasper.
Here is this kid who was raised by the most notorious serial killer known to man, who saw unbelievably horrific things at a very young age, who has no idea what his future holds, and we get to witness him wrestling with his demons. We get to see what his worries are, what he thinks of himself, what he hopes for and dreads, to see how he manages and views the relationships in his life. Most of all, we get to see him fight and persevere. Given everything he’s been through, Jasper seems pretty whole, even if he is riddled with questions and bad dreams, and failed memory. And maybe that isn’t very realistic, but maybe it makes us feel better to see him trying, doing well(ish), because it helps bolster our faith in the resiliency of the human mind, especially in the young.
It was entertaining and unusual I’m eager to see what comes next.
P.S. I have read that some people find this book to be gory. Even the author commented that some of his writer friends thought so (he didn’t). I didn’t find it to be gory, but I had a father who was into horror flicks, and who never questioned the suitability of said horror flicks for young kids. By the time I was 8, I could recite the lines from The Exorcist and had seen countless horror flicks at the drive-in. I actually don’t like those kinds of movies anymore, but I’ve yet to run across a book that I would label gory. And I’ve certainly read more intense books than this. BUT, my point…some people are more sensitive than I am (or less insensitive than I am?) so I felt a mild warning was called for. 😉