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I Am Not A Serial Killer

I Am Not A Serial Killer is a sort of hybrid of the Dexter series by Jeff Lindsay and the early works of Stephen King (in particular IT). Author Dan Wells just adds some teen angst to the mix and what you get is clever, gruesome, yet an often boldly written story about 15 year-old John Wayne Cleaver.

John has standard issues most teens have, but unlike those kids on SKINS, he knows he is turning into a sociopath – this is something him and his therapist can at least agree on. Anyways, he spends his days and nights (while not at school and crushing on the neighbor girl) helping out in his family’s mortuary and over the years, he’s become obsessed death, and in particular, serial killers. So he does research on them in secret, if only because this hobby disturbs his mother.

His mother, by the way, is aware of her son’s issues, and worries about how little emotion or empathy he has, and she see how John frequently has to stop himself from losing control of his inner demon. So John, to keep it at bay, he has created his own set of personal rules that is designed to help keep the monster that is in him at bay.

But things become complicated when a serial killer begins stalking his home town. Intrigued, excited and  every bit as curious as the police, John decides he must find out who is doing it, and sets out to discover who exactly is the killer, all while trying not to let the evil that is in him get out, because it wants to get out.

When the novel was first released, it was place in the Young Adult section of the bookstore, but  while some teens maybe interested in serial killers, I’m guessing this won’t appeal to a mass audience of teens brought up on the recent drivel of The Twilight series. That being said, though, his loneliness and alienation from his family and the folks around him could help teen readers relate to him. Still,  the novel is gory and gives great detail of what happens in a mortuary – I learned a great discourse in the art of embalming. More than I really cared to know, to be honest.

Still, Dan Wells has created a dark, very satirical voice in the character of John. He speaks bluntly, even though some of its quite dark. He’s chilling, yet sometimes endearing, and you sometimes could not help but feel some sympathy for the boy.

Yet, as I finished it, I wondered if I or anyone else should.


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  1. Allie says
    June 15, 2011, 4:26 pm

    This book was amazing, I couldn’t put it down 🙂

  2. Paano Pinoy says
    September 12, 2011, 8:06 am

    I just finished this one. I find it amusing being inside a sociopath’s mind. I sometimes laugh at John’s dark humor. Certainly, I couldn’t put it down if it’s not because of my work.

    I’m currently reading the second book, Mr. Monster. 🙂


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