- Series: John Cleaver (Book 1)
- Paperback: 272 pages
- Publisher: Tor Books; 1 edition (March 30, 2010)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0765327821
- ISBN-13: 978-0765327826
- Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.8 x 8.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 345 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #78,998 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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I Am Not A Serial Killer (John Cleaver) Paperback – March 30, 2010
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“This dazzling, un-put-downable debut novel proves beyond a doubt that Dan Wells has the gift. His teenage protagonist is as chilling as he is endearing. More John Wayne Cleaver, please.” ―F. Paul Wilson, New York Times bestselling author
“The beauty of the prose, mixed with the depth of characterization, gives the haunting, first person narrative a human touch. Regardless of your age or your genre preferences, you will find this story both profound and enthralling.” ―Brandon Sanderson, New York Times bestselling author
About the Author
Dan Wells is the author of Mr. Monster and I Don't Want to Kill You. He lives in Orem, Utah, with his wife, Dawn, and four young children.
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I loved it so much more than the movie. John is the kind of character every author wishes he/she could create. I certainly do. He's an anti-hero that you can't help but fall in love with, and then you feel guilty about loving someone so screwed up, but that makes you love him more, because he's screwes up. A lovely sick cycle.
If you like incredibly well written YA paranormal, this is for you - don't let the YA deter you, John is every bit as adult as you or I. Maybe more so? He's a self-proclaimed, semi-diagnosed sociopath. He lacks empathy. He's got rules to keep him from doing anything bad, but he really really wants to do bad. He's a training mortician, and he dreams about embalming the girls in his classes. Yet there's something about him that's easy to associate with. Or maybe I'm just a psycho, who knows. He knows he can't hurt people, but when someone else starts hurting the people in his town, he figures maybe he can fight fire with fire. Emphasis on fire.
I will be honest - the series did not maintain the excellence that was this first novel. You can't maintain a character like John without losing something.
But with that being said, I inhaled all five over the course of four days, and I'm anxiously awaiting book six, and none of the books were rated below a 4 star from me, so they're still better than most of the stuff I read.
If you like dark and screwes up and strange and entrancing, I cannot recommend this book enoug
But then a real demon shows up and starts butchering people. And it’s this supernatural component that begins to set I Am Not a Serial Killer apart. We’ve seen the “It takes a killer to catch a killer” angle before; setting John on the trail of an actual monster was an interesting wrinkle.
Beyond the otherworldly aspect, though, what I really liked was how John’s inner conflict drove the story. He convinces himself he’s the only one who can stop the demon, but to do so, he has to unleash his own. Embracing his personal darkness both helps and hurts his cause: John’s confident he can kill the demon, but he’s drawn to—and distracted by—the carnage his quarry leaves in its wake. The demon also turns out to be a reluctant villain, motivated by emotions that make it feel more human to John than he does to himself.
My only real issue was that the supernatural element ultimately felt a little underplayed (and late; it doesn’t get introduced until several chapters in). John is shocked when he first sees the demon reveal its true form, but he doesn’t seem surprised that it exists. Even if this is because he lives with his own beast, I could have done with more of John researching tales of demons, looking to mythology for ways to defeat them, etc.
Oh, and it goes without saying that the story is super twisted. But if you liked Dexter or want to see a great example of how to connect—and complicate—a character’s inner and external goals, give I Am Not a Serial Killer a shot.
I had this book in my queue for a couple of years and resisted reading, probably because of the years I had been immersed in the TV show Dexter. Once I decided to read it, I found it much more compelling than I expected. And I must say that by the final third of the book, I found myself in full non-stop reading mode.
As a Thomas Harris fan, I enjoy psychological horror. Although Dan Wells is not yet a Thomas Harris (and really, few pro writers are) I found that there was enough interesting psychology to propel the novel and my interest.
And though I was initially unsure about this being a series I would continue, I'm now putting the second book in my cue and warming up for it.
Other reviews have already given away the genre-mixing difference in this book. I recommend that if you don't know about it, avoid those reviews and dive in. It's a refreshing difference, one that helps keep this world unique and not so Dexterish.
I liked the straight forwardness of this book. We knew early on who had what role to play in our story. The mystery was to which internal demon would survive coming out to play. And what that would do to the other half left behind while the monster ruled.
Loved this story and looking forward to the next in the series. I hope at some point John or his next therapist will help him see his skills and inner monster makes him an ideal candidate to be the person on the side of the law who stalks these guys. His observations are outstanding as his his ability to stalk his prey. Use it for good, what a thought!
The books not perfect. I would have liked to have seen a scene with his best friend Max after Max lost his father. Seems like Max would have been drawn back to John to discuss the horror at least.