Friday, February 11, 2011

I am Not a Serial Killer

Rating: 4 out of 5 Autopsies

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 is the first volume of a trilogy that will keep you awake and then haunt your dreams.

Interesting. This book was not anything like I expected at all which was actually, probably, a good thing. I had anticipated it to be about an actual serial killer and this kid with serial killer/sociopathic/psychopathic tendencies is the only one smart enough to catch him. I was sort of right. The demonic/magic/supernatural element is really what I was not expecting, but it was sort of a pleasant surprise. At first I was a little disappointed, but then I liked what Dan Wells did with it.

I was given this book recommendation by a good friend of mine who loves sci-fi/fantasy. Don't get me wrong, I love sci-fi/fantasy as well. In fact that is all I used to read, but I have since looked outside the box and have found some pretty amazing stuff outside of it. So much so that it has been hard for me to return to full-on fantasy altogether. I like my books with an element of reality to it. That is, I guess, why I was able to get into this book. Mr. Wells did an excellent job of weaving the fantastic with the realistic and the gory.

Talk about gore. I was reading this while I was eating breakfast and realized that was not such a good plan. He discusses autopsies, blood, and gore like it's an every day thing.

I have a love-hate relationship with the protagonist. He is endearing, but he is such a creepy, creepy kid. I know that is what I'm supposed to feel. I find myself rooting for him even when I know he's a freak. He is quite a complex character that can actually hold his own and I love that about him. Part of what is so interesting about him is his inner conflict. The fact that it remains a conflict for him is what makes him readable. If he just embraced his monster inside we would all be turned off because...that's scary. However, I'm thinking it's not too far off when he will be forced to fight off his Mr. Monster by embracing it.

All right, so let me explain. At first, I was disturbed and unsure about this book. But, before I knew it, I was sucked right in. And I'm pretty sure I am just going to go ahead and read the next one. I thought I was going to take a break because of the slightly disturbing nature of this one, but I find that I want more! When I read, I usually think of what rating I would give the book even before I have finished it, just to work it out in my head. This one had me conflicted. I didn't want to love it because it was disturbing. But I loved it because it was disturbing. And, at first, I really didn't like it, but I knew the writing was really good and that Dan Wells had done something wonderful with a character that should be hated. So I had this whole theory worked up about how I would give it a high rating even though I personally did not like it. Somehow I was going to separate myself from the rating of it. Now, I am convinced that is not only impossible but purely stupid. The point of rating a book is that it's your own rating. So I have given it 4 out of 5 autopsies with the one star docked simply because...I was disturbed.

1 comment:

  1. I also loved and hated this book. It was super intense, I figured that I was so emotionally connected with John that I hated the fact he was becoming a monster himself. The next book Mr. Monster is equally gory and crazy, most of the killing is done, and then found, but it is still disturbing but super awesome. I highly recommend both of those books. The last book in the series comes out this year and is called I don't Want To Kill You.