I Am Not a Serial Killer (John Cleaver Series #1)

I Am Not a Serial Killer (John Cleaver Series #1)

by Dan Wells
4.1 156

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I Am Not A Serial Killer 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 157 reviews.
EclecticReaderWR More than 1 year ago
Let's clear up what the book is about at the get-go. It is about a teenage sociopath with psychopathic tendencies who is trying hard to contain the monster within him. Then he comes up against a real monster that at first he believes is a serial killer but that turns out to be a demon that kills for self-preservation. What eventually kills the monster? The same as killed King Kong: love. If you are looking for a strictly serial killer novel, look elsewhere. Try any of these first-rate serial killer novels: Fowles, THE COLLECTOR (a classic, a career launcher); Thompson's THE KILLER INSIDE ME (maybe the ultimate noir novel of all time); Oates, ZOMBIE (terrific, gory and compelling); Valentino, I, KILLER (probing, compassionate romp through the mind of a tormented killer racing to his death). As for I AM NOT A SERIAL KILLER, the first seven chapters are very good. Wells has synthesized the literature on serial killers into a compelling character. He fictionalizes his knowledge well, integrating what is known about sociopaths and psychopathic killers (not to mention mortuary science) into the fabric of the story -- unlike some authors who interrupt the flow of the story to expound on the psychology of the killer. It's the balance of the book that is problematic. From young serial killer trying to control the monster within him, the novel transitions abruptly into a supernatural tale. As you read, you have visions of FRIGHT NIGHT, of a twist on vampire fare. Wells inflicts novelistic whiplash upon you. I've given it three stars for the excellent writing and the really top-rate first seven chapters. But if you prefer the realm of reality, try the other novels I've recommended.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I am an avid reader two to three books a week. Since I was 13 I am now pushing 60. I have read every type of novel written from Erma Bombeck to Charlie Chaplins autobiographay . From Steven King to Ellery Queen and Victoria Holt. The Kent family Chronicles, and Roots to Terry Brooks, Tad Williams, and Michael Jordan. From Ann Rule to Andy Rooney. As well as some self help books the best so far was "Don't Sweat The Small Stuff And It's All Small Stuff" also worth a read is "Raising your children with love and logic" . I have wanted to let you know that I am one of those people who's taste in subject matter is wide and varied because of the reviews that some readers were disappointed. They were disappointed because Dan Wells the author of this wonderful exciting novel that is full of factual details about the mind of pycho killers as well as the details of the embalming process (which we never get from) Patricia Cornwell Mr. Wells drifted his novel from facts to fantasy. I was not surprised or disappointed. This is a fictional novel. I also love sci-fi, and fantasy. This novel is a fictional story by an author of another series about the end of our world. This series also has a touch of fantasy. What I'm trying to get across is that Dan Wells is a great story teller but if you want a book with facts or just factual ideas you will not be a fan of the Dan Wells novels that he has published so far. They are all well done and if you love good fantasy like I do or just a good story Dan Wells is well worth your time and money. Keep writing Mr. Wells. Please. I will purchase them all. Thank you for the hours of excitement, suspense, and yes a little bit of fear, and yes even joy that you have given me with your words. Sanna7125
abwedige More than 1 year ago
This is one of the best books i have ever read! I could not put it down! I was reading it every chance I had! Never a boring or dull moment reading this thrilling book! Its darkness and suspense made the book so good! It's a must read! Read this book, you won't regret it!
harstan More than 1 year ago
In Clayton, fifteen year old John Wayne Cleaver has helped his mom and his aunt at the family run mortuary for years. He is surrounded by corpses so death means little to him, which makes it difficult for John to sympathize with the mourners. However, the human predators who cause death fascinate and frighten him. Concerned he may become a serial killer one day as he admires these psychopaths, he sees a shrink and has established rigid rules that he totally adheres to. A loner by nurture, he prefers the dead to the living as they demand nothing as opposed to their relatives demanding miraculous cosmetics. When a sliced up body parts arrive at the mortuary, even John is taken aback. When more carved up corpses are found, John investigates as he wants to meet his first serial killer in person though this also means he bends his rules for the first time. John holds the tale together as he constantly reminds himself that: "I am not a serial killer" though surrounded by death. He is a captivating unique lead character as is his mom and aunt. Teen-lit fans will relish his mantra and amateur sleuthing, as he investigates while also mindful of not crossing the line. Harriet Klausner
Brett Johnson More than 1 year ago
A friend lent me all three books, and I loved them so much I decided to write this review. Dan Wells really does his research, even more than you may realize just from the book. Can't wait to read more from him. John can be horrifying at one point, and heartwarming the next. The relationships between the characters are dynamic and believable. If you like a good thriller with a supernatural twist, then look no further.
jljofficepro More than 1 year ago
I love John Wayne Cleaver. This book was engaging and at times, laugh out loud funny. After finishing it, I couldn't wait to get my hands on Mr. Monster. It was easy to get caught up in the lives of Clayton County residents and i kept thinking that having grown up in a small town, I've met, at one time or another, every one of the characters - including John. It was like going home for a visit. Loved it!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I just recently graduated from college and randomly chose this book while perusing the store. As a recent graduate, this book was WONDERFUL for a multitude of reasons. First of all, it was an easy read; I found myself unable to put it down! Being a psychology major, I thought the protagonist's level of personal insight was astounding and I found myself just wanting to keep turning the pages to see what other insightful thoughts John Wayne Cleaver had to offer to the reader. Even better was finishing the book and realizing it was part of a trilogy! I can't wait for the two other novels to come out. I don't frequently recommend books to others, but I've definitely recommended this one!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I had read Dan Wells dystopian series (Partials and Fragmants-- Ruins to come out in March 2014), and decided to give his other trilogy a try. The protagonist is a fascinating character and Wells gives incredible detail into the boy's psyche. For an almost 500 page book, it's a very quick read because you don't want to put it down. There is a twist you won't expect that will keep you riveted. Highly recommend and am looking forward to reading book #2 in this series, Mr. Monster.
johniemack More than 1 year ago
This book was cool until it went supernatural. I was instantly angry when John's neighbor sprouted horns and demon claws and began killing people. What a stupid book.
VonBrewer More than 1 year ago
I AM NOT A SERIAL KILLER was a great book about John Wayne Cleaver, our protagonist, and his struggles with the fact that he might be a sociopath and, even worse, he could become a serial killer. The best part about Dan Wells' first novel is the change of genre that occurs roughly midway through the book that offers its own unique twist, that at first, seems a little awkward but eventually it makes complete sense. This thriller isn't your typical hack and slash melodrama but a unique unfolding of a great story. I can't wait for the next book in this trilogy to be published.
ReadingBifrost 3 months ago
“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!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Very good
lauralovesreviewingLT More than 1 year ago
It’s kind of scary that I can somewhat relate to John Wayne Cleaver, the 15-year-old boy in this story. He has a fascination with serial killers and so do I. Where we differ is, while we both wonder what makes them tick, I just wonder why, but he worries he might become one. His therapist says he’s a sociopath and has plenty of the predictors pointing towards a serial killer. That’s why John has rules. He made them so he won’t become one. But there’s something inside him, sleeping now, but soon to stir. You see, there’s a serial killer operating in his town. But it’s not your normal one, or, I should say it’s not human. As more people fall victim to the beast, the one inside John struggles to be unleashed. It may take a monster to kill a monster. And John worries that he won’t find his way back once it’s let out. The first I heard of this story was I came across the movie. Being a horror fan, I watched it. It reminded me of Dexter, the serial killer show on Showtime. I’m sure you’ve seen it or heard of it. John could be a young Dexter, almost. He hasn’t taken to killing people, yet. John is a fascinating young man. He’s intelligent and creepy at the same time. I worry whether he can keep his urges contained. He’s constantly fighting with his mother. She pushes him too hard, worried about what he might do and what he might become. I’d probably be the same way, thinking I could change him, make him normal. He knows he’s not normal, practices to appear that way, and tries to fit in. It’s a pressure cooker under that roof, waiting to let off steam. I just hope he uses that steam on the monster and not on someone trying to help him. The first part of the story is mostly about John. About half way in you start to learn about the killer. Then it really gets going and the hairs on your arms will stand on end. It’s a race to the finish with plenty of action and a great ending. About that ending. I felt like it was kind of a vindication. Well done. This is a study on character and humanity as much as it’s about serial killers and beasts. I found it thrilling and down right horrific, both must haves in horror. I’m on to the next in this series, worried and excited about where John goes from here.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Absolutely fantastic, I couldn't put the book down!
Reading_With_Cupcakes More than 1 year ago
A boy who believes that if he lets it all go, he will indeed become a serial killer. Pretty interesting concept. It is a bit like Dexter in a way, except our main character in this story ends up going after demons. I really don't believe that John has no emotions whatsoever. It could be because the author himself is not a sociopath, thus the feeling that John has emotions filtered through because of that. I don't know. Maybe when I read the rest of the books John will grow and actually develop the ability to feel some of these emotions he doesn't think that he can feel. Who know? You can find more of my reviews at: http://readingwithcupcakes.blogspot.com/
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great read
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I LOVED IT! It is a horror that totally made me think of Dexter! And Dan Wells has the kind of talent that makes me jealous and happy all at the same time!
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grc1976 More than 1 year ago
This is a solid read. It has a good level of suspense and the main character is extremely well done. The main character alone makes this book worth reading. The book does, however, progress from a murder mystery novel to more of a supernatural horror novel. This may bother some readers and was minor mistake by Mr. Wells in writing the book. I don't fully buy into the genre classification system for books, so the genre switch that occurs about 100 pages in did not bother me. Overall, this book does deserve five stars for the main character, plot and entertainment value, even if the author made a few forgivable flubs.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I loved this book. The main character John is hard to relate to, but great to watch in action. The ending was awesome. John Cleaver proves that just because you have all of the predictors for becoming a serial killer, does not mean you have to be one. His attention to detail and his specialized rules for himself were very intriguing. Getting to know him was scary and exciting. The ending was intense and a bit sad. I have an interest in real life serial killers. (BTW I am not a serial killer.) I have read many true crime and criminal profiling books. The author has done his research for this character! Well played! Highly recommended. (I do not personally know the author. Nor was I solicited for this review.) I really liked this book. I bought the next two books because this one was so fast paced, tense, and enjoyable. I read it in two sittings without much sleep. -AvidReader -AvidReader