I Am Not a Serial killer by Dan Wells is the story of John Wayne Cleaver, a self-described sociopath whose mother and aunt are morticians, running the family business on the basement level of their home. John has spent many years establishing rules for himself in order to not let his serial killer tendencies take over. If he thinks a murderous thought about someone, he goes out of his way compliment them. If he finds himself following/tracking someone, he ignores them for a week. He is doing quite well, and is pleased with his progress! That is, until a real serial killer comes to the small town of Clayton. John knows that he is the best person to find and stop the killer, because he, too, has the mind of a murderer.
This was it. This was what I had never felt before- an emotional connection to another human being. I’d tried kindness, I’d tried love, I’d tried friendship…and nothing had never worked until now. Until fear.
This book was in a pile of free galleys being given away at ALA in June. I picked it up, not knowing it was actually published in 2010 and that all 3 books in the trilogy were already published. Then I started researching the book and reading reviews, of which there are many positive ones. So, why give out free copies of an old title? No clue. I’m not complaining! Really! But still…I found it odd.
I liked the book. The action was great, and it was creepy yet exciting to be inside the mind of someone who believed himself to be capable of being a serial killer. The skills he exhibited were like those found in spy novels, while the embalming scenes were straight from the TV show Bones, part medical part just downright disgusting. I think a lot of teenaged boys would like this, because the main character is relateable. NOT in the serial killer sense, but because John is struggling to be normal yet also to be true to himself. He struggles between good and evil, right and wrong. There are a few young men who I will be strongly recommending this book to.
I did not quite love the story enough to continue with last two in the trilogy, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t! The blog A Motley Vision: Mormon arts and culture interviewed Wells. Check it out: