Blood of my Blood (Jasper Dent #3), by Barry Lyga

Eight stars

In this final novel in the ‘I Hunt Killers’ trilogy, Barry Lyga brings it all together with the ultimate reveal in a handful of key revelations that reverberate throughout the narrative. As Jasper Dent awakens in a locked storage container, he knows that he’s in trouble. Blood all around him and a few bodies scattered about, he must not only make sense of things, but also flee before he’s collared for the crimes he witnessed. Meanwhile, across town, Connie has been sleuthing around in New York City, only to be captured by Jasper’s father, serial killer Billy Dent. Locked away in a room, Connie comes across a fellow prisoner that she soon learns is none other than Jasper’s mother, long presumed dead. While Howie remains back in Lobo’s Nod, he is not free from the action, with a body of his own on the ground and the authorities trying to piece together what might have happened. These three may be dealing with their own crises, but nothing is as important as bringing Billy Dent to justice once and for all. As the lightning-quick narrative progresses, Connie is able to make her way back to Lobo’s Nod and discovers some family secrets buried in town, things that may force Jasper to rethink who he is and the path he’s lived. All this comes to the climatic meeting of Jasper and Billy Dent in a battle for ultimate supremacy, where Jasper learns more about the Crow King, a leader of a select group of serial killers. Will Jasper succumb to the King’s power and be eliminated or join the Crows with hopes of one day rising to the top? By the time the last of the blood is shed, there can be only one winner and no one is ready to stand aside. A brilliant end to the series that has been full of twists and momentous events. Lyga does a wonderful job and this trilogy comes highly recommended to anyone who enjoys a well-paced thriller with murderous undertones.

Lyga has developed a strong trilogy with several key plot lines that flow throughout the novels, all of which are complemented by a collection of wonderful short stories to hash out additional backstory. The action throughout this novel is non-stop, particularly as Lyga left readers hanging before, with plots and character development snaring the reader throughout. Jasper develops significantly throughout this book, as he has in the entire series, while trying to gather up the threads of his life and bind them into something with which he can live. There have been so many instances of horror and desperation that one can only hope Jasper finds solace in some of the happier things that he learns. However, Lyga offers more dark and twisted revelations, which can only jade the series protagonist more than help him become a young man who rises above. While Connie and Howie are still strong characters within this book, they serve as vessels to bring Jasper what he needs to know, rather than serve to develop themselves significantly. I found that Lyga intentionally used these two to support their friend and to help highlight some of the aforementioned revelations without adding much to their own character development. The other characters find themselves offering needed flavours to propel the narrative and keep the story strong, especially the appearance of Janice Dent as Jasper’s mother. Long thought dead, she has a story all her own that will leave Jasper wanting to know more when finally they come face to face. I found the plot to be quite strong, which is to be expected in a final novel, as Lyga seeks to push through as much action and information to tie off many of the topics. This series has captivated me, which might explain how I was able to steamroll through it in under a week. I was expecting something with a little less pizzazz and more catered to a YA audience, but was pleasantly surprised to see just how complex some of the storylines became and how much of a connection I had with the characters. Older teen and adults alike will enjoy this book, which explores not only coming of age, but the struggles of personal relationships and the role that one’s upbringing has on adult choices. I certainly was able to do some self-reflection and would hope others take the time to do the same, as they push through this series.

Kudos, Mr. Lyga, on another stellar piece. I have thoroughly enjoyed this series and will surely keep an eye open for more of your work!

A Book for All Seasons, a different sort of Book Challenge: