I Am Not a Serial Killer was published in the UK in March 2009 (will be published in the US in March 2010) and unfortunately I have not been able to get to it until now. This is author Dan Wells’ first published novel, and what a read it is.
The book follows the life of 15-year-old John Cleaver who possesses an obsession with serial killers. He is anti-social, just plain bizarre, and it probably doesn’t help that he often joins his mother and aunt working in the in the family mortuary. John is scared of becoming a serial killer and so he has set up a number of rules to keep himself in check. His limits are tested, however, when a series of bestial murders are committed in his small hometown and John cannot resist the impulse to investigate.
The novel, a relatively short 281 pages, reads fast and intensely. John’s first person point of view adds greatly to the value of the story telling so that as readers we may immerse ourselves better in his life. Wells’ style is simple yet effective and rarely leaves room for misunderstanding.
Though starting out a bit slow, once you get past the first meeting between John and his therapist the story quickly picks up and carries you straight to the end. John is a bit of an odd character, as it would be hard to find a reader that can identify completely with his personality, but most all readers will probably see themselves in some of the aspects the character. For myself, it didn’t matter that I didn’t identify with the character so much because John remains one of the weirdest and most interesting characters I have had the chance to read so I had no problem whatsoever sticking with his psychopathic ways throughout the book. The rest of the plot is riveting and Wells manages to makes us care and feel for side characters when even John does not.
A great read, quite an unexpected one for me as I generally do not veer towards the horror genre but nonetheless gratifying. I cannot stress how worth it this book is. READ IT. And if you like it remember that the next book in this series will be published in the UK in March 2010 with a third novel to follow at some unknown date.
My Rating: 5 out of 5
Reading Age: 13 and up, (everyone should read it)
Dan Wells’ website: http://www.fearfulsymmetry.net/
Time Waster’s Guide: http://www.timewastersguide.com/ (Wells runs this site)
Writing Excuses: http://www.writingexcuses.com/ (an extremely popular writing podcast run by Wells and two fellow authors: Brandon Sanderson and Howard Taylor. Go check it out…)
Buy I Am Not a Serial Killer: