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Io non sono un serial killer: [romanzo] by…

Io non sono un serial killer: [romanzo] (original 2009; edition 2012)

by Dan Wells, M (M), R (R)

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Title:Io non sono un serial killer: [romanzo]
Authors:Dan Wells
Other authors:M (M), R (R)
Info:Roma, Fazi, 2012
Collections:Your library

Work details

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

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English (72)  German (1)  All languages (73)
Showing 1-5 of 72 (next | show all)
John Wayne Cleaver is one mixed-up kid. He’s the son and nephew of morticians and grew up around dead bodies. He’s tied to serial killers through names (John Wayne Gacy, the tool cleaver, and the Son of Sam—John’s dad name is Sam), and he’s obsessed with their “craft.” More than anything, John is worried that he’ll become a serial killer.

This book is craaaaaazyyyyyyyyy. Dan Wells has clearly done his research. The depictions of serial killers and sociopathology are so on point, I nearly squealed out loud while reading. I LOVE it when I can trust the text to know what it’s talking about, especially when it concerns a subject that interests me. Everything from the steps to properly embalm a body to the psychology of a killing spree was laid out with precision and—dare I say it—charm. I was certainly entertained. I Am not a Serial Killer is a story in the tradition of Alfred Hitchcock’s Rope. John isn’t the most likable protagonist, nor even a character you want to succeed, but you can’t help rooting for him.

I think this book would have been just about perfect for me if it hadn’t been for the twist. [SPOILER] [END SPOILER]

Without that twist, I think this book would have been a four or even five star. With it, I’m left vacillating between a two and a three, and I will proceed with caution when reading the sequels.

READ THE FULL REVIEW WITH SPOILERS AT: http://www.shaelit.com/2014/08/mini-reviews-blaze-and-i-am-not-a-serial-killer/ ( )
  Shelver506 | Aug 20, 2014 |
Serial Killers are frightening enough, but even more so when the desire to kill emerges in the mind of a child. Every day, John Wayne Cleaver fights to keep the monster he knows is inside of him locked up, until a real serial killer begins to terrorize his small town, and the monster is awakened. The hunter becomes the hunted as the figurative demon inside John stalks a real demon who must kill and steal body parts to replenish its disguise as a healthy older man.

Overall, I thought this book would have been better without the supernatural element. The author does an excellent job writing the mind of John, as a would-be serial killer with dark conflicting emotions. There's a lot of potential here to give the reader something chilling and twisted, but it's lost on this demon, whose actually a pitiable character. This could have been done along the veins of a younger American Psycho or We Need to Talk About Kevin, but the ending was just a bit of a let down. By the title, one would think John was perhaps accused or suspected of being behind the killings, but this never happens. The supernatural element could've worked if perhaps the demon was a hallucination, a dream that John suffers from every time he feels the desire to kill. After all, the best parts were when John nearly kills the demon's unsuspecting human wife and the lengths in which he goes to spy on his neighbor, Brooke. Why, because the reader actually gets to see the monster inside John's head nearly pull his mind over the edge. Nevermind the demon. So while it is a good story, it could have been better. ( )
  asukamaxwell | May 12, 2014 |
In this first book of a trilogy, the aptly named John Wayne Cleaver is well aware that he has all the makings of a teenage serial killer, and he has the good/bad fortune to explore his darker side while working in his family's mortuary. Fascinated by serial killers of the past, but knowing--intellectually, at least--that following in their footsteps would be a bad idea, he has made some very specific behavioral rules for himself, rules that keep him from spiraling out of control. But when a murder comes to light in John's small town, he cannot control his obsession with the case, as he struggles to identify the killer while keeping his own murderous impulses in check. Despite the dark topic, John is funny and charming, his dysfunctional family is loving in its own weird way, and the story's turn into fantasy fiction keeps the horror from being too real. ( )
  SLWert | Jan 2, 2014 |
I have to say that this book was excellent, practically Five Star worthy, for the first hundred pages. Then... uh. You kinda got hit with a "WTF?! WTF did I just READ?!" moment out of the clear BLUE. It all starts out kinda like:

And you don't pay it any attention, like, "Yeah right~ Whatever~" But then you're like:


BAM. Hits you.

And at first you're like:

No, no~ Can't be!

*Reads a little more*

"............DA FAK AM I READING?!!?!?!!?!!??!"

After that point, I had to put the book down for the night and just come to grips with the RANDOM-AS-HELL turn that the story took. Did it take away from the initial connection I felt the book made with me, writing in the well-researched and legitimate grooves of a serial killer's mind? Yeah, yeah it did. Some people mentioned in their reviews that after that point in the book, they couldn't get back into the story. And honestly, I don't blame them. It came so far out of left field that I doubt anyone in the entire planet could have expected it or saw it coming. And the problem is that this book was written strictly realistically up until that point. Then when that curve ball came flying, it really hit you full tilt in the face.

Still, it's not my policy to put down a book (regardless what twists or turns it's taken) when I've started it. So I read on and to the end, and know what? It's not a half-bad story. It's got some really strange but enjoyable features. I think the problem comes that when you write a story and it seems like an entirely realistic world setting, just like any of our everyday lives, that when you throw in a twist like this, it's so unnatural that many people have a hard time coming to grip with the change in course. You're thinking on one level, and then you're forced to think on a completely different one.

It's like reading a strict history textbook, littered with facts and timelines and every historical detail under the sun, and then randomly coming to a sentence that says, "This was why the unicorns of Afghanistan were unable to survive the desert environments."

It's like: *Cricket... cricket... cricket...* "...what? o_O"

It just doesn't FIT. When you read romance, you expect romance. When you read sci-fi, you expect sci-fi. When you read a psychological thriller, you expect a psychological thriller. And trust me, this story still delivered on that part. I, and countless other readers, just weren't expecting the "SURPRISE! NOT ALL REALISTIC AFTER ALL~!" addition to the story. It didn't just break the flow and pacing of the story. It ground you to a full HALT in your tracks, and you literally had to stand there gaping for a good few minutes before you got the fact that this craaaaazy thing you just read was being written SERIOUSLY. And it was EXPECTED that you, as the reader, were SUPPOSED to take it seriously.

Now is the author a bad writer? Far from it. I think his dialogue, vocabulary, flow and pacing are all great. In fact, that's the trying thing. This is clearly a talented author. He can write realistic fiction, he can write psychological thrillers, and he can write supernatural or directly fictional stories as well and make them remarkable. He just needs to learn how to balance out the composure between them. He needs to learn to introduce surprises without making them seem like a gunshot to the chest or a slap to the face.

I was able to find a lot of meaning and delight in both the antagonist and protagonist of this story. I connected to them both, I enjoyed both their stories, and though the blend was difficult, I was able to get through the book and still find myself invested at the end, and thinking about what unfolded upon these pages. I am still altered by That, but I don't feel it was so terrible a blow that you couldn't enjoy the book for itself.

On another note, I want to take a moment to praise the author. This is his first book, and he has some very obvious talent in the writing field. He has things to learn yet, but that's fine. He'll learn with time and experience. One thing that caught my attention however, and what you might notice from my status updates if you read them, is that the psychological aspect of the book resonated with me very strongly. It's not everyday that I read books about big psychological issues--disorders of various sorts specifically--but as someone who invested years of study and personal interest into psychology, the chance to read a book that delved deeply into antisocial personality disorder was delightful. It's a difficult disorder to understand, but this book.

Hnnnng. This book!

It did an incredible job of writing from the point of view of someone who has the disorder. And yes, it is a disorder that is usually the requisite for serial killers. Most suffer from this disorder. That's only half the fascination though. The authenticity of the perspective that Dan Wells brought out in this book is astounding. He knows what he's talking about when he writes from the point of view of a character who has this disorder. It's perfect, down to the smallest detail, and it's beautiful. Seeing a psychological disorder portrayed so accurately is so difficult to find. People usually stick to stereotypes or attempt to hype up the issues. Dan Wells did nothing of the sort. He made his main character believable. And that's an impressive act.

For all that this book was disheveled by the writer's choice of plot twist, it's still a book that is interesting and well-done. I don't feel people should judge it on plot twist alone, even though that played a huge factor in this book. Without it, the book is still a well-built story and has deep, engaging characters. The part that was lacking was the execution in the twisting point.

I'm at a bit of a crossroads. I feel that all the factors of the book are worth a four-star rating. However I'm torn because the execution of That tells me to rate it only three stars. Truthfully, for all that I feel it was beautifully done, my gut is what I'm going to follow. It could very well have been a four-star rating for me, once the book was said and done. But the pacing was never quite right after That happened. And I'm sorry to say that, since this book and idea had and still has a lot of potential. Either way, my gut says three stars, and I have to go with my gut on this one.

Recommendation for Reading: I would say library this one. Some die-hards might find it worthwhile to add to their own library afterwards, but my advice is not to buy it on a whim. Feel free, by all means, to read it on a whim. I just know from this experience that you may hate this book and feel it ripped you off if you buy it before you know what you're in for.

As for a personal note, this book is part of a trilogy. And, believe it or not, I would like to read the rest of it. In fact, I'm planning on it. So, if you want to hear about how the others turn out, I'll make sure to let you all know when the time comes. Till then~! Seeya in the next review! Enjoy reading! ( )
  N.T.Embe | Dec 31, 2013 |
The author does a good job at centering the story on an antihero and an antivillain. I did notice the lack of fantasy context in the first quarter of the book but it did not bother me as much as other reviewers who said they were taken by surprise. Not recommended for those who are turned off by the lurid and by descriptions of gore, but I don't believe they would be likely to get past the cover. ( )
  rmagahiz | Dec 21, 2013 |
Showing 1-5 of 72 (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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I should have been a pair of ragged claws / Scuttling across the floors of silent seas.
- The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock
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.

Tiger, tiger, burning bright / In the forests of the night / What immortal hand or eye / Could frame thy fearful symmetry?
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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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