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I Am Not A Serial Killer (John Cleaver) by…
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I Am Not A Serial Killer (John Cleaver) (original 2009; edition 2010)

by Dan Wells

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1,1481047,123 (3.65)89
Member:sylviawrigley
Title:I Am Not A Serial Killer (John Cleaver)
Authors:Dan Wells
Info:Tor Books (2010), Edition: 1, Hardcover, 272 pages
Collections:Your library
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Work details

I Am Not a Serial Killer by Dan Wells (2009)

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» See also 89 mentions

English (102)  German (2)  All (104)
Showing 1-5 of 102 (next | show all)
This review will have no spoilers, I promise.

I picked up this book because I listen to the Writings Excuses podcast; the author is one of the hosts. It sounded like an appealing read with an unusual conceit - the narrator is a very self-aware 15 year old sociopath. The {spoiler} coming when it did might have put me off, if the writing and the characterization wasn't so damn compelling. If you read more for the characters than the plot, this book is so very much for you. I have no idea how Mr. Wells can go from this book into a series, and I don't actually care - I'm going to read the rest of the books just to spend more time with the people I've gotten to know in this book. ( )
  hopeevey | May 20, 2018 |
With both this and Mr. Monster I can't decide whether to rate this 4 or 5 stars. Ultimately, it comes down to the enjoyment factor, and for that, I'll toss the fifth star on anyway.

More detailed review here: http://www.andrlik.org/blog/2010/nov/10/review-i-am-not-serial-killer-mr-monster... ( )
  andrlik | Apr 24, 2018 |
Pros
an incredibly original character in John Clever
The horror elements are nicely offset with some humor and humanity
I appreciate that many bad things happen and the writer is aware of them and thus analyzes them
Themes of involving moral ambiguity, what is accepted in society, and our primal urge to hurt
Every supporting character felt like a living person
The serial killer has streak reluctance that adds a lot to the book
Cons
Feels like it could have been a little more complex overall
9/10 Great. A fresh and vibrant novel that will satisfy the horror and non-horror lover (though having a strong stomach is advised) ( )
  DanielRobledo | Jan 16, 2018 |
“I made my decision. It was time to tear down the wall, to throw away all the rules I’d created for myself. It was time to let the monster out. I got back on my bike and rode home, tearing down my rules as I went. Brick by brick, the wall came down, and the monster stretched its legs, flexed its claws, licked its lips. Tomorrow, we would hunt.”

Teenager John Wayne Cleaver has been obsessed with serial killers since he was seven, and has diagnosed himself with psychopathic tendencies. When the book starts he’s already been in trouble at school for studying psychopaths and scaring his teachers, sending him into therapy.

John’s character is a great narrator for this story. The reader sees into the mind of someone who is detached from humanity (sociopath) and can not feel for them, but still knows what is right and wrong. This first installment of the series is a bigger internal struggle for John then it is an external one; controlling his monster while another runs free.

There’s a lot of dark humor, but not morbidly so. We are talking about a teenage-psycho living in a mortuary after all, so there’s plenty of one-liners about death, dying and dead bodies to go around; perfect for those who like dry humor.

The story does go a little slow at some points, but it’s not a deal breaker considering the narrator is a sociopath. At points it’s more like you start to get a feel of John’s obsessions the more repetitive he becomes on the longer he lingers on a certain subject, and even though you might be interested in something else he couldn’t care less about it; so in the end you’re stuck with him and his thoughts.

The story also takes a supernatural turn. Some hate it, some love it. It really depends on the reader’s preferences, but the story still keeps the psychological aspects that it started with so I didn’t mind the turn and found myself intrigued by how the new development would effect John.

It’s an easy and quick read, and well written for the strange point of view. It might take a little time getting into the story due to the slowness and lack of emotions from the main character, but once you figure out that’s part of the story it’s easy to get yourself in to the character yourself.

Overall I recommend this to fans of phycological thrillers, mystery, and paranormal novels alike. There’s a little something for everybody in the mix! ( )
  ReadingBifrost | Oct 19, 2017 |
I've heard a lot about this book on the internet, and today I was in a bookstore, saw it on the shelf, and picked it up. BE VERY CAREFUL about that. I read chapter 1 while standing in the aisle, then I sat down and read chapters 2 and 3, and then I decided I'd better buy the thing so that I could take it to lunch with me. I read the entire book today.

This book is fantastic. It's gory, sure, but it's more than that. It's also got amazingly complex, relatable characters and a plot that will keep your fingernails at clinical length. Also contains excellent comparisons of mortuary supplies to food items.

If you like thrillers in which the characters behave like real people instead of cliche caricatures of people, you will love this book. If you like messed up main characters, you will also love this book. Myself, I am going to traipse back to the bookstore and buy the sequel, Mr. Monster, ASAP. ( )
  R.E.Stearns | Aug 15, 2017 |
Showing 1-5 of 102 (next | show all)
"I liked I Am Not a Serial Killer. It wasn’t a perfect book but it was engaging and creepy while still managing to be sweet. "
added by r.orrison | editTor.com, Brit Mandelo (Apr 26, 2010)
 
Great pacing, a likable character, and a combination of horror and supernatural elements make this title in a new trilogy appealing.
added by Katya0133 | editLibrary Journal, Craig Shufelt (Apr 1, 2010)
 
[T]his deft mix of several genres features a completely believable teenage sociopath (with a heart of gold), dark humor, a riveting mystery and enough description of embalming to make any teen squeamish even if they won't admit it.
added by Katya0133 | editKirkus (Apr 1, 2010)
 
Wells does a good job entering the mind of his unlikely protagonist, but a surprising revelation about the Clayton killer's identity may turn off thriller readers who prefer not to mix genres.
added by Katya0133 | editPublishers Weekly (Feb 1, 2010)
 
gives a fascinating glimpse into the psyche of a fifteen year old boy on the verge of possibly becoming a serial killer. It delves into the human side of what it's like to have dark, murderous thoughts and how to keep them in check.
 
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Epigraph
I should have been a pair of ragged claws / Scuttling across the floors of silent seas.
- The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock
Dedication
For Rob, who gave me the best incentive a little brother can give, he got published first.
First words
Mrs. Anderson was dead.

Nothing flashy, just old age—she went to bed one night and never woke up. They say it was a peaceful, dignified way to die, which I suppose is technically true, but the three days it took for someone to realize they hadn’t seen her in a while removed most of the dignity from the situation. Her daughter eventually dropped by to check on her and found her corpse three days rotted and stinking like roadkill. And the worst part isn’t the rotting, it’s the three days—three whole days before anyone cared enough to say, "Wait, where’s that old lady that lives down by the canal?" There’s not a lot of dignity in that.

Quotations
Tiger, tiger, burning bright / In the forests of the night / What immortal hand or eye / Could frame thy fearful symmetry?
Last words
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Book description
Fear the darkness within...

John Wayne Cleaver is dangerous, and he knows it. He's spent his life doing his best not to live up to his potential.

He's obsessed with serial killers, but really doesn't want to become one. So for his own sake, and the safety of those around him, he lives by rigid rules he's written for himself, practicing normal life as if it were a private religion that could save him from damnation.

Dead bodies are normal to John. He likes them, actually. They don't demand or expect the empathy he's unable to offer. Perhaps that's what gives him the objectivity to recognize that there's something different about the body the police have just found behind the Wash-n-Dry Laundromat — and to appreciate what that difference means.

Now, for the first time, John has to confront a danger outside himself, a threat he can't control, a menace to everything and everyone he would love, if only he could.

Dan Wells's debut novel is the first volume of a trilogy that will keep you awake and then haunt your dreams.

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John Wayne Cheever keeps his obsession with serial killers in check by a set of rigid rules that he lives by, hoping to the prevent himself from committing murder, but when a body turns up behind a laundromat, John must confront a danger outside himself.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

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