Tag Archives: sociopaths

Review: I Am Not a Serial Killer by Dan Wells


  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Tor Books; First Edition edition (March 30, 2010)
  • ISBN-10: 0765327821
  • Source: I bought it!
  • John Wayne Cleaver is a teen boy with his own share of issues.  His mother and aunt run the family mortuary.  He’s fascinated with serial killers. Oh, and he’s a sociopath.  Don’t worry, he sees a therapist.  John has created a set of rules for himself so he doesn’t follow his “natural” calling and act out on these murderous urges. 

    When someone is found brutally slashed to death, John uses his knowledge of serial killers’ “methodology” and becomes obsessed with solving the case.

    I Am Not a Serial Killer has got to be one of the most unique stories I’ve read in some time.  It’s cover refers to it as “a sickly-disturbing, darkly comic thriller.”  Yup, that pretty  much covers it!  John Wayne Cleaver’s character is dark and disturbed, but yet you can’t help but feel some sort of sympathy for him.  Look at his life, his living arrangements.  In the battle of nature versus nuture, I think we have a tie! Wells does an outstanding job with John Wayne’s character.  Although he’s a potential serial killer, you can’t help but like him, yet be disgusted by him at the same time.

    One of the things I really enjoyed about this book was the shift in genre midway through.  Without giving anything away, it starts out as a thriller but shifts to horror.  This shift, while pretty obvious, doesn’t create a rift in the storyline or throw off the reader.  It seems…natural almost.  While there are a few gruesome scenes, I don’t think I’d classify this as an excessively gory read. 

    Don’t let the title or the subject matter dissaude you, I Am Not a Serial Killer is a must-read! I’m really looking forward to reading the sequel, Mr. Monster.