I think it’s only fair to warn you…since Game had one of the worst cliffhangers I have ever read, this review WILL HAVE SPOILERS. Plus, due to plot twists, there will be no pros and cons this time around. Thank you.
Summary: Jazz Dent has never been closer to catching his father. Jazz has been shot and left to die in New York. His girlfriend, Connie, is in the clutches of Jazz’s monstrous father, Billy–the world’s most notorious serial killer. And his best friend, Howie, is bleeding to death on the floor of Jazz’s new home. Somehow, these three must rise above the horrors and find a way to come together in pursuit of Billy. But then Jazz crosses a line he’s never crossed before, and soon the entire country is wondering: “Like father, like son? Who is the true monster?” From New York City to the small town of Lobo’s Nod, the chase is on, and this time, Jazz is the hunted, not the hunter–while Billy Dent lurks in the shadows. And beyond Billy? Something much, much worse. Prepare to meet…the Crow King.
Story: 4/5: This is definitely the least “mystery” of the series, though of course, it does have those elements. It’s the one that gets the most in Jazz’s head, and is honestly the most psychologically and emotionally compelling. The mystery mainly comes from what we don’t know, rather than a set of murders that we must solve. It’s more about the unsolved mysteries in Jazz’s life and past, old memories even he doesn’t remember. His journey, on the surface, is to track down Billy, and ultimately, his mother, who is alive and been kidnapped by Billy.
However, he is being persued by detective Hughes, who was his ally in Game, but is now after him in relation to the death of agent Morales, who was killed by one of the Hat-Dog killers. Hughes eventually goes to Lobo’s Nod, where he works with G. William and questions Connie and Howie for information.
There are a ton of revealed answers, and plenty of twists that are really, really good. Some I guessed, but some I didn’t.
Characters: 4.5/5: This was the most character focused story in the Jasper Dent trilogy. Jazz’s mind is again the most interesting part, and this book ventures more into his darker, sociopathic tendencies than ever before. After seeing his father after being shot and finding out his mother is alive, he sets out to track down and kill his father to save his mother. The methods he employs to find them and to get from New York to Lobo’s Nod are questionable, and his obsession can become downright scary.
Connie handles being captured by Billy remarkably well, using her smarts and resourcefulness to form a solid escape plan. Her interactions with Janice Dent are particularly memorable. Although she isn’t shown as much here, she proves to be pretty capable. Again, I do wish that she and Jazz weren’t an established couple right off the bat; I felt it made their interactions less interesting, and didn’t click with Jazz’s character for me. But I do like the psychology involved in their relationship.
Howie is one of my favorites, he has so much character development. I didn’t care for him in the first book, but liked him more in Game. And I really liked him in this. I love how hemophilia is shown with him, and that it doesn’t make him any less brave or helpful than anyone else. It could be argued he’s one of the most helpful character there. And can we appreciate his and Jazz’s friendship? There’s something about it that makes it one of the most memorable parts in the series.
I can’t talk in depth about other characters, but they are no less memorable. Billy’s scenes in particularly stand out as some of the best written and memorable sequences, as well as Janice’s.
Writing: 4/5: What can I say that I haven’t already said? Lyga gives everyone their own voice, even in the third person. He also goes into Hughes’ head a lot, giving sympathy to a character who would otherwise be fairly unsympathetic. Jazz’s obsession is brilliantly written, as is how it affects Connie and Howie. And those twists…wow, were they well written.
Details: 5/5: The details here are particularly filled with spoilers. Lyga’ research is obvious yet again, and feels organic and realistic. I feel as though I can’t gush about them without saying what I already said in previous reviews, but there is one more new detail: the reasearch done on female serial killers is particularly interesting…
World Building: 4/5: It takes place in the real world, though it does feel very realistic, and the people’s reactions to these events feel like the most likely outcome, particularly the psychological impact.
Grade: 4.5/5: This is the most disturbing of the series, mainly due to thematic elements and going down roads that were previously (for the most part) unexplored. It’s a dark read, but doesn’t feel all doom and gloom; there are lighter spots, and some comedic relief here and there. This is a great conclusion to an amazing trilogy.