Review: Mr. Monster

In this continuation, John Wayne Cleaver is still fighting the urge not to hurt people, not to kill. It’s been nearly six months since the events of I Am Not A Serial Killer, and his town of Clayton County appears to be relaxing its fear, hoping the horrible events of last winter are finished. Of course, the truth of the matter is the Clayton Killer was something not quite human, and John had killed it.

But the teen, tasting the power of death, now believes the “only monster left is me- the dark side of me I call Mr. Monster.” While John, who narrates again, does not hear voices in his head, or suffer multiple personalities, he knows there is something inside him, a dark force existing with in his soul.

And to keep the evil at bay, he continues to keep to his rules, to make sure he doesn’t let Mr. Monster out. But keeping things to himself is affecting his relationship to his mom, his aunt and sister. And his growing (and sometimes, disturbing) infatuation with neighbor girl Brooke.

But then terrible things begin to happen again: dead bodies are starting to pop up around town. The police have little clue, and sense, perhaps, that the Clayton Killer has returned. But since John knows that man is dead, he begins to suspect that someone associated with the first killer has taken up the cause. While the police are baffled, John begins to see a pattern in the slayings and becomes convinced that this new murderer is sending out a clear message, one that only he can understand.

This second book in what is starting out to be a very interesting series is much better than the first, and Wells packs a lot of info into such a relatively short book (287pages), so that you can’t help but keep turning the pages. And like the first one, Mr. Monster has some quite disturbing and graphic descriptions, once again making me wonder why this book would be classified as Young Adult.

As noted in my review of the first book, the crossing of Dexter book series and Stephen King is a clever, lively mixture of genres with the added bonus of a completely enduring sociopath, one with a heart of gold of course. This added element help keep these books from falling into some sort of parody of those two genres.

John Wayne Cleaver returns on March 29, 2011 with I Don’t Want To Kill You.

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.

That *other* Gallagher – Terrible comedian, now raging bigot!

Pardon me for a seemingly non-doorQ-y aside (although there is a connection, which I’ll get to in a minute), but I had to bring light to the fact that washed-up has-been prop comic “Gallagher” has recently been accused of all kinds of bigotry.  Seems that no one is safe from his self-important racist rants, from blacks to arabs and, yes, to us Mos.  I guess all those years of smashing fruit was just a not-so-subtle metaphor.

“But wait,” you say.  “Isn’t Gallagher himself a fruit?”  Well, I sure as hell think so.  Have you listened to him?  This recent episode of comedian Mark Maron’s WTF podcast has Gallagher trying to defend himself, but instead he just storms out of the interview.  Way to be a mature, thirty-year veteran of comedy.

Besides, being uncomfortable with their own sexual preference never stopped anyone else from showing it to the world in the form of vile attacks whether physical or verbal.  What’s nice is there now seems to be an equal backlash against the loser comedian for this very reason.

Here’s an opinion from a cute kid on YouTube.  You go, girl!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lEvPHy73pOw

And in this interview at The Onion AV Club, Gallagher defends being a dick to his opening acts.  Check out the appalling video, and then read some of the hilarious vitriol in the comments on Youtube.  I don’t think Gallagher’s gaining any new fans.

But finally, I promised I’d bring it back to doorQ-dom, so here it is, the final insult:  For those that didn’t listen to the entire Mark Maron podcast, here is a short transcript of some of Gallagher’s transgressions, including an attack – on Pokemon!  How dare he?