I Am Not A Serial Killer by Dan Wells

A change of pace from the past books I've been reading. While I Am Now A Serial Killer has a teen main character, it's not what I would call a young adult novel. Plus the character is a boy instead of a girl, so that makes it different than most of the books I've read over the last couple of months. It was a nice break, to have a more ambiguous (to put it lightly) main character.

About the book from Goodreads: 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.

Overall: this was a really good book. As much as I thought I might like the story, it was even better. Having the young male character be a less than moral teenager was perfect and I loved having a character where I couldn't tell if the bad guy would be stopped or if the main character would be able to stop himself. And the action starts right away. There isn't too much reflection or whining over past things like his father leaving, it gets mentioned then the story moves on. Everything felt like it had a purpose. The only part that had me question was when John first decided he had to go after the antagonist himself, that it must be him. I paused to wonder what brought him to that conclusion but it was a minor pause. I couldn't wait to finish reading the book.

Characters: The main character, John, is a troubled teen and he knows it. Growing up around a mortuary and even helping out with the bodies makes for an interesting setting to what becomes an intriguing character. If anyone wants to write an anti-hero or any hero that is questionable in reader acceptance, John would be a good example. He isn't good but readers will still want to root for him. All of the other characters, from his mother, the other kids and the therapist, all worked towards moving the story forward.

I am looking forward to reading the next book already. Judging by the next titles, there is more troubled times ahead and who knows what John will do next.

Dawn's Verdict: 9/10



L'Aussie said...

Hi Dawn. It's great when a book exceeds our expectations which this one seemed to do for you.


Dawn Embers said...

Very true. I'd been wanting to read it a long time. Dan can be amusing, from what I've heard on the podcast. Though I knew a few things about the storyline ahead of time but didn't remember everything that he'd said on certain episodes.

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