Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Game by Barry Lyga


  • Release Date: April 6, 2013
  • Genre: Contemporary
  • Audiobook Hours: 13 hours 28 minutes
  • Publisher: Hachette Audio


From the opening lines--which describe a serial killer’s thoughts as he disembowels his recent victim --this book hit my squick button. Hard. I  can do gritty, but Game had more body mutilation and necrophilia than I like in my….everything. I was prepared to return this audiobook the library but I was driving so I kept listening. I'm glad I did because once I got past the prologue, I was dipped right back into a story that was like watching my favorite procedural crime shows. From its twisty mystery, acerbic humor and constant supply of WTF-ery.

Picking up this book was kind of weird for me because I read the first one three years ago as a galley and gave it a high rating, but I’d completely forgotten about this series until I saw this on my library's Overdrive. Despite forgetting most of the first book I was able to get right back into the story. I would almost say you can read this without reading the first book.  This review will be a spoilers free for both books.

After the events of I Hunt Killers, all eyes are on Jasper Dent, the son of America's most notorious serial killer. Jasper is called on by the NYPD to help with a case of a puzzling new serial killer on the loose in the city. As Jasper become move involved in the case he starts unraveling things about his father, his past, and discovers the world of serial killers may be more complex than it seems.

This book uses one of my favorite tropes in YA where the Adults Are Useless so they need kids to solve the problems. This trope usually shows up in SFF YA, but I think it works well in this contemporary setting.

On top of a high stakes plot Lyga creates some interesting characters. This book is  written in an omniscient third person so we get perspectives from the killer, Jazz's Dad,  and Jazz's best friend,  but the largest piece of this story belongs to Jazz's girlfriend Connie. I enjoy a good romance , but I really like how in this book Connie and Jazz are a pre-established couple--those seem rare in YA.

There is a lot of talk about diversity and non-POC authors portraying POCs and in my opinion Lyga does a pretty good job with Connie. She has room to  deal with her identity, but also about things outside of her black identity.  Lyga  even touches on the ideas of Black Lives Matter movement (this book predates the movement by a few months) when someone is telling Connie how the media won't care if she is killed.

All that said Connie gets a little "Too Stupid To Live"--which is not my favorite phrase to use, but she does some seriously stupid things considering there is a serial killer on the loose.

The audiobook is narrated by  Charlie Thurston and overall he does a good job. I like his low  gravely voice and he does a decent job with with creating different voices and showing emotion. Although his voice for Jazz' friend Howey sounded dopier and less realistic.

My only nitpick with this book is its length. It felt like they were cramming too many ideas in and it  was going in circles. This is the first time I read a book that felt like it was too long.

In Game Lyga has created an interesting and intense story that will have you read for the last book because DAT CLIFFHANGER THO !!!



Hearing the acknowledgements Lyga seems to put a lot of research into this, but I'm still side-eyeing him for life.



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