I Am Not A Serial Killer

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Macmillan, Mar 30, 2010 - Fiction - 272 pages
6 Reviews
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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.

Dan Wells's debut novel, I Am Not a Serial Killer, is the first volume of a trilogy that will keep you awake and then haunt your dreams.

At the Publisher's request, this title is being sold without Digital Rights Management Software (DRM) applied.


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I enjoyed this quick read for a number of reasons, but primarily due to the well characterized protagonist. It is ironic that while John Wayne Cleaver is a sociopath who spends a lot of time dwelling on his inability to understand the emotions of others it is this very distance that makes his character so easy to relate to. Everyone can empathize with emotional distance and confusion during adolescence, and John's psychopathic casts him in an intriguingly distant, but also oddly sympathetic, light. I also enjoyed the antagonist, who was both initially unexpected and well rounded given his nature, although the remainder of the supporting cast has somewhat scant characterization, in particular the mother, I presume due either to the brevity of the novel.
I also appreciated the way the supernatural elements were included. The progression felt very gothic, and made the stories progression that much more interesting. There stark contrast between how the world was perceived and understood by the protagonist was made more concrete by his secret knowledge, and reinforced the strong individualism in his character.
Fun read, not too deep, and definitely easy to relate to.
P.S. I listen to Writing Excuses, which is a fun podcast, and is probably one of the reasons I liked this book.

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This was the best book I have ever read. I love the way in the begining the detail on embalming. I also loved that the main character's name is named after a real life serial killer (John Wayne Gacy). I loved every second of this book. Thank You Dan Wells.

Selected pages


Chapter 1
Chapter 2
Chapter 3
Chapter 4
Chapter 5
Chapter 6
Chapter 7
Chapter 11
Chapter 12
Chapter 13
Chapter 14
Chapter 15
Chapter 16
Chapter 17
Chapter 18

Chapter 8
Chapter 9
Chapter 10
Chapter 19

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About the author (2010)

Dan Wells is the author of Mr. Monster and I Don't Want to Kill You. He lives in Orem, Utah, with his wife, Dawn, and four young children.

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