I am Not a Serial Killer was one of the first novels I reviewed and it was (and is still) one of the best books I have ever read. Dan Wells continues his John Cleaver books with Mr. Monster, published in the UK first week of March (2010). I’m usually not a huge fan of horror—though it’s hard to call Wells’ stuff horror in the typical sense of the genre—but I felt compelled after quite a few good comments and recommendations to pick up the first book. Unsurprisingly, as soon as Mr. Monster became available I purchased it and devoured it with a passion that even I (being a huge book lover) rarely have. Let me say right now that I loved it. It probably outdoes even I am Not a Serial Killer and might possibly be the best book I have reviewed on this blog up to now. Yes, it’s that good.
My name is John Cleaver. I’m sixteen. I’m a mortician. I’m a sociopath. But I am not a serial killer. Yet.I guess I’m lucky that I got to reading I am Not a Serial Killer not too long before Mr. Monster came up, or else I might not have survived the wait. In this second book Wells takes us further into the life of John Cleaver, and specifically how he is dealing with what happened in book one. Obviously this evolves into a story of its own and builds a very solid novel. We get a feel for the newly found instability in John’s character, specifically when dealing with his “Mr. Monster” side. The story gets ever more engaging in this novel and I’ll admit to having finished it even faster than its predecessor (and I read that one fast), though they both are relatively short books.
It’s been almost five months since I first killed someone. Nobody knows it, but I stopped the Clayton Killer—a serial killer who tore his victims to shreds. The other thing nobody knows is that he wasn’t even human—he was a monster. Literally a monster. A demon.
Now the only monster left is me—the dark side of me I call Mr. Monster. I try to keep him locked up but he’s desperate to kill again, and now people are getting suspicious, the FBI is asking questions and corpses are showing up all over and—well, something’s gotta give…
Mr. Monster plunges into even darker areas, while staying mostly out of the cliché gory stuff often associated with the horror genre. If that is what you’re expecting to find with Wells’ books than look somewhere else. We can definitely see that John has grown and become something very different from what he was at the beginning of I am Not a Serial Killer, and that makes things way more interesting. Mr. Monster also sees the rise in importance of romance and a particular relationship with a girl, something that was somewhat present in the previous book but really shines in this one. The romance arc is one that I most appreciated and most looked forward too as I was reading. It brought a refreshing feel to the somewhat
darker feel of the book.
We find once more Wells' dark, comic humor, especially in the passages between John and his mother. For most of you it probably won’t make you drop out of your chair but it will most likely pull a few grins out of you. Going with the tone of the book there is probably a little less humor in Mr. Monster than I expected, but I didn’t miss it and all the other aspects of the book made up for it. Mr. Monster also has it's minor mystery aspect, just as in I Am Not a Serial Killer, as John once again runs his own small investigation about the recent murders.
A book for any who read I am Not a Serial Killer to enjoy. If you haven’t picked up the aforementioned first John Cleaver book then don’t waste any time. It will be out in the US this month and has already been out in the UK for quite some time. I promise that pretty much every single one of you will enjoy both of these. I find myself longing for the concluding entry in the series already. This third book, titled I Don't Want To Kill You, should see a similar release date as this one next year.
Reading Age: 14 and up
Violence: Yes, of course
Sex/Language: None and none
Dan Wells's Website: http://www.fearfulsymmetry.net/
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