Friday, December 16, 2011

Review: I am not a Serial Killer by Dan Wells

Author: Dan Wells
Publisher: Tor Books
Release Date: March 2010

I Am Not a Serial Killer tells the story of John Cleaver. John is a teenage sociopath with all the common characteristics of serial killers, who has designed very strict and important rules in his life to make sure that he doesn’t fall into the horrible life of a serial killer. His rules and his life are on the line, however, when an honest to goodness serial killer starts killing people in his hometown

The story is told in first person through John's eyes, and this is where the book really shines. John is creepy. He's so creepy that you have to keep reading, because you don’t know if he’ll actually let loose and do something terrible or not. For those of you that can’t stand to read about people getting killed, or wouldn't be able to stomach the description of an embalming procedure at a funeral parlor, you might want to avoid this one. If that’s not an issue, this is a very exciting and page-turning read that also has a lot of depth and heart. The book is in equal parts comedy, horror and thriller, with John getting more and more obsessed with who the killer is, why he's doing what he's doing, and who the next victim will be.

Dan and Rob Wells (brother authors) must really like big plot twists, because both of their books take a decidedly interesting turn at right around the midpoint, and it makes for some truly great reading.

There's also something of a twisted love story between John and his next door neighbor, and it really gives Wells a chance to showcase what makes John so different from people who aren't sociopaths, and keeps you turning pages, just waiting for something terrible to happen to that poor girl, or to John as he delves deeper into the Clayton County Killer murders.

Score: 8.75/10- A good beginning to a wonderful series. I will eventually post reviews on each of the next two books, but I can tell you right now that this is one of my favorite YA series of all time and is well worth the read for anyone that's at all interested in serial killers, or just YA novels in general.

I loved
  • John. He's incredibly interesting, and shows how an author can really use the first person narrative for his benefit if he's got a great character.
  • John's relationships with others. Every little detail of his life is so much more interesting because of the way his mind works.
  • The big twist. This one really rocked me at the time that I read it. Suddenly, a whole new story!
I hated
  • The length. I wanted more.
  • There were a couple of places where I thought the pacing could have been slightly improved.


  1. I really love this series. In fact, I Don't Want to Kill You was my favorite audiobook of 2011, and I really don't read much YA (in 2011, I read 6 YA/MG books out of over 170 total.) Dan's new novel, Partials comes out in just over a month, and it looks really good.

  2. I Don't Want to Kill You was truly excellent. I thought this was an excellent series, and really look forward to Partials as well. I'm even more excited for Dan to eventually write something geared just to adults.