Genre: Horror, Paranormal Fantasy, Detective/Thriller, YA
Synopsis: 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.
I don't often read thrillers, but when I do, I like them to be with serial killers. I am not a Serial Killer is very Dexter-esque for any of you who have watched Dexter before. The protagonist, John Wayne Cleaver (get it?), is basically a high functioning sociopath who really does his best not to murder people. Do people get gold stars for not being a murderer? I guess you do if you're a sociopath. John has all these rules that limits that helps curb his homicidal intent and frequents a therapist to help him sort out his... er... urges.
A part of me still loves this book. It's short, fast-paced, and fascinating. I like that he works in a morgue with his mother and aunt, I like his morbid fascination with serial killers, and I like that he tries so very hard to not become one. John is the an anti-hero that can be sympathized with.
But then... this out of nowhere the fantasy element comes in and ruins it. Seriously. Out of nowhere.
Fantastical elements tends to put a damper on a lot of books that could've been excellent but had to settle for pretty decent to good (i.e my review of Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children). WHY? WHY WHY WHY DAN WELLS? WHY COULDN'T YOU HAVE KEPT THIS STORY GROUNDED IN REALITY!?
I mean, really?
If you don't want any spoilers, stop here now.
You have been warned!
So in this small town, a bunch of murders have been taking place and John thinks it's because there's a serial killer in town. But guess what? It's really a demon. Yes, a demon! What the hell is going on? Why the hell is there a demon? What the hell is the point of making this book about serial killers when THE serial killer in this book is not even human? Is this some sort of ploy? What is this? I don't get it. Someone explain to me why this happened!
I thought this book was going to be awesome. Sociopath vs. Sociopath in a fight to the death, but noooooooo, instead it's about a demon who is has to kill people to absorb their body parts in order to keep living. And the reason he's doing it is because he fell in love with a human woman.
Just argh. Can you imagine watching Dexter one day and thinking "oh this is so exciting, I can't wait to see him catch the ice truck killer" only to find out the ice truck killer was the abominable snowman? No, I didn't think so.
*takes a deep breath*
That MESS aside, the book is pretty good. I am on the fence about recommending it because of this demon curve ball, but since I actually finished it and was interested in what happened, I think it is worth taking a look at. A lot of things don't end up being explained, but I guess that's why it's a series. I might look into getting the second book in the series, but at this point, I'm still too infuriated to continue.