Monday, May 21, 2012

REVIEW: I Am Not a Serial Killer by Dan Wells

I Am Not a Serial Killer by Dan Wells
Publishing information: Kindle; 320 pages
Publisher: Tor 1 April 2010
ISBN 10: 0765322471
ISBN 13: 978-0765362360
Series: Book 1 in the John Cleaver series
Copy: Out of Pocket
Reviewer: Tyson

Synopsis: "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."

Thanks to Seak over at Only the Best Science Fiction and Fantasy. Dan Well's John Cleaver series came to my attention and I hope that thanks to this review that he will hit more people's radar because the series is very good and with each new book in the series, it still feels fresh while adding new dimensions to the character and the overall story.

I Am Not a Serial Killer is an impressive book and even better series. The character of John Wayne Cleaver is interesting and much different from what we usually encounter in fiction today. He is troubled and he knows it. Thanks to a few guidelines and rules he is keeping his "tendencies" at bay. His unusual hobby of reading and studying serial killers in order to avoid becoming one is fascinating. He does his best to be like everyone else even though he desires to set himself apart and do what naturally would make him feel complete.

When people start dying in his one horse town, he ptts his knowledge of serial killers to work in order to solve just who is doing the terrible deeds all the while keeping his own natural instincts buried deep down, lest the come out and take him somewhere he will never return from. Aside from wrestling with John's own demons, I Am Not a Serial Killer tells a very compelling murder mystery. All of the characters are fleshed out very well and we have a really amazing story here. Why this book, and for that matter, the series is not read by more lovers of speculative fiction I have no idea, but this is one book that was hard to put down. I don't want to tell you the ending, but I will say there is a twist that was very unexpected and takes the series into uncharted territory and it was a welcome turn of events. If you read I Am Not a Serial Killer be prepared to stay up late into the night to finish it and to run back to the bookstore and grab the rest of the series. I Am Not a Serial Killer is the diamond in the rough. Highly recommended

Plot 9/10
Characters 8.5/10
Style 9/10

Overall 9.5/10