I am not a serial killer by Dan Wells
First things first, how this ever got categorized as “young adult” mystifies me, other than the voice and age of the main protagonist, John, that’s about the only ‘young adult’ thing about it. I’ve read a few horror/suspense novels in my time, and none ever got so deep into my head like this book did. You are welcomed into the mind of clinically diagnosed teenage sociopath, and while parts are really quite disturbing, I felt myself completely engrossed having to turn the next page! You can tell the author either is an insanely good researcher or if he is just a little bit insane himself. The descriptions go in depth and get you thinking about death in a totally new perspective. I never knew how much really went into the work at a mortuary, and this book definitely filled me in. Had this book been a movie I wouldn’t be able to watch it is all I can say. It reads like a movie, fast paced and thrilling.
John Wayne Cleaver, is a 15-year-old who lives over a morgue, which his mother and aunt work at. He feels that he is ‘fated’ to become a serial killer because of his many observations of behaviours he finds are key characteristics to being one. From stalking people, to animal cruelty, a love for pyromania , and a tendency for bed wetting, he’s set ‘rules’ to control himself and be “good” or “normal” i.e never having pets and avoiding people. I’ve never watched the tv show Dexter before, but I am reminded from the tv adverts, Johns character is a sympathetic villain, a villain against villains. But like the novel’s tagline says: “Can he catch the killer without releasing the monster within himself?”
If I had to pick something negative of the book (although I am pretty much sold, and have now become a loyal reader for Dan Wells) I would have to say, I wish he stuck to staying so realistic. Bringing in a ‘supernatural’ theme sort of put me off a little, it was like a change of genre. Had Dan Wells made the elusive serial killer a real life one and not some ‘demon’ it would’ve been much scarier, going along with the theme he had been writing with from the beginning – that some of the scariest things don’t need to be made up, they exist.
The main character, John, is an interesting and complex individual. He brings out questions to morality and how we perceive murder in general – how would we see it through a person eye’s who has absolutely no empathy, who views people as ‘it’ or as objects and not ‘she or he’. I don’t know how close to the truth the profiling of serial killers is in this book, but I tell you the scare tactics in this book are clean and to me, highly convincing. I would recommend this to anyone who loves a good horror, or psychological thriller. I give it 4 and ½ stars only because of the whole demon idea, but I like the realistic parts of the novel, they are the meat of the book, they keep you up at night thinking about what evil really looks like and thinks like. While it’s not the kind of book I usually read, it definitely deserves a high rating, because it takes the reader to another world, it grabs you and doesn’t let go. Mr. Monster is the next book, and I’m really looking forward to see what happens next in Dan Well’s series.
Mr. Monster by Dan Wells
The next day after reading “I am not a serial killer” I couldn’t help myself and went out and got the next book in the John Wayne Cleaver series and it did not disappoint. Staying true to the dark themes of the first book, it turns out to be even more sinister in the second. I found it utterly thrilling, and read it all in one night! What can I say that I hadn’t already in the first book, while the voice is that of a young teenager, it grows more and more mature and interesting as the story progresses. The villain this time makes the villain in the first book pale in comparison. Like I’ve said before I usually don’t like reading thriller/horrors but this book reads like a movie, Dan Well’s prose is effortless and clear. Definitely one to recommend to friends and book lovers alike. Yet again I am excited to read the last installment of the trilogy “I don’t want to kill you”.
I don’t want to kill you
The third and last installment of Dan Well’s John Wayne Cleaver stories, had me sad to see it end. After three long nights of non-stop reading, I had to bid the series goodbye. The last book was awesome, full of plot twists that had you guessing the whole way through, and a lead character you couldn’t help but root for. The ending was fitting I think and made me feel rather reverent of the world created throughout these novels. Of course, no one enjoys (well hopefully not most people anyway) to read the gruesome things told, but Dan Wells is such a great storyteller, you can’t help but want to read more. After finishing the series, I’m now a die hard Dan Wells fan. I look forward to seeing what else he will write about. I won’t write too much because I don’t want to give away how great this last book was. Hope you guys enjoy it as much as I did. It’s addictive.
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