Thursday, April 21, 2011

Blogging Challenge R(eview)

I recently finished a book that's been on my to-read list for some time. I've heard from numerous people that it's supposed to be a compelling read.

But ... wow. Serious wow.

The book is I Am Not a Serial Killer by Dan Wells. If you're interested, Robin Weeks talks about the book on her blog here where she discusses building better villains.

The protagonist is John Wayne Cleaver, a 15-year-old sociopath. His mother and aunt own a mortuary where John helps out. He thinks a lot about death and is fascinated by serial killers, recognizing within himself the tendancies that could someday turn him into one. So he establishes strict rules (like no stalking). John doesn't connect with people emotionally, and he's a smart kid. He knows he's different from 'normal' people, and he makes an effort to try and not seem quite so weird.

But when a real monster starts killing people in his town, John has to let loose his own monster so he can stop it. Unfortunately, without his rules to keep his monster in check, John could be more dangerous than the killer.

One of the most frequent comments I'd heard about this book is about the fine job Dan Wells does making John a sympathetic character. But really, you have to read the book to see just how well he does it.

I'll be honest. It was a hard read for me and creeped me out. I haven't been into the horror genre, since I gave up Stephen King (it's difficult to be a parent when you're afraid to walk down a dark hallway). As I was reading this book, I found myself saying over and over again, "No, John. Don't. No."

I really felt for this kid! I like John. A lot.

I've already purchased the other two books in the series, Mr. Monster and I Don't Want to Kill You. I've read reviews that say these other books are even better than this first one.

I definitely recommend it.

If you can handle it.

Shhh ... I'm taking an emotional break before I begin the second book.


  1. this is on my read list already!

  2. I don't usually do gruesome but this sounds so interesting. I'm definitely putting it in the TBR pile.

  3. Excellent! I'm looking for book recommendations. I'll definitely check this one out. :)

  4. I've heard a lot of good things about this book--it's not the kind of novel I'd usually pick up, but I'm going to have to check out I Am Not a Serial Killer. Thanks for the review!

  5. I actually haven't heard about this book, but I can just imagine. I'll have to check it out. Thanks for the review!

  6. Sounds kind of interesting-- kind of like the Dexter stories. And John Wayne Cleaver? What a name! The combination of the all American movie hero and the all-American kid Beaver Cleaver! Not to mention the imagery of a favorite weapon of serial killers, the meat cleaver. That is a great character name.

    Tossing It Out

  7. Loved this book! You'll enjoy the next one too, although it does get a little darker. I did get a surprise when the killer revealed himself, I had to keep going back a few pages to see if I'd missed something. The term monster can be ambiguous ;-j

    My 13yr old loved it too and even wrote a review for it on her blog. I've not read the third book yet, but it's sitting in my Kindle waiting for me.

    Wagging Tales - Blog for Writers

  8. wow. Great recommendation. Makes me very intrigued, even though I don't like scary at all. You had me giggling about your dark hallways, I feel the same way!


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