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I Am Not a Serial Killer: John Cleaver, Book 1 | [Dan Wells]

I Am Not a Serial Killer: John Cleaver, Book 1

John works in his family's mortuary and has an obsession with serial killers. He wants to be a good person but fears he is a sociopath, and for years he has suppressed his dark side through a strict system of rules designed to mimic "normal" behavior. Then a demon begins stalking his small town and killing people one by one, and John is forced to give in to his darker nature in order to save them.
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Publisher's Summary

John works in his family's mortuary and has an obsession with serial killers. He wants to be a good person but fears he is a sociopath, and for years he has suppressed his dark side through a strict system of rules designed to mimic "normal" behavior. Then a demon begins stalking his small town and killing people one by one, and John is forced to give in to his darker nature in order to save them.

As he struggles to understand the demon and find a way to kill it, his own mind begins to unravel until he fears he may never regain control. Faced with the reality that he is, perhaps, more monstrous than the monster he is fighting, John must make a final stand against the horrors of both the demon and himself.

©2009 Dan Wells (P)2010 Tantor

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  •  
    Lisa United States 01-17-13
    Lisa United States 01-17-13 Member Since 2012

    Paranormal-urban fantasy book lover!

    HELPFUL VOTES
    409
    ratings
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    Story
    "Great Story -- PAINFUL Narration!"

    This was an enjoyable book for me, would have been perfect if there had been a different narrator - (Keith Nobbs would have been an excellent narrator choice)
    I agree with the other reviewers that it is like a dexter junior but it is just different enough to be unique. I will try the next book since there is a different narrator
    This book was from the perspective of a 15 yo boy and you have someone with a deep voice reading, or shall I say screaming the story to you. It was most painful at times.
    Other than the narration the book was a great story.
    I would recommend this book in paperback because the story is so good.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    David 11-17-11
    David 11-17-11 Member Since 2010

    Indiscriminate Reader

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    Story
    "A creepy but interesting protagonist"

    The protagonist of I Am Not a Serial Killer is a 15-year-old sociopath. Fascinated by serial killers, supposedly because he doesn't want to become one himself, he greets the arrival of a serial killer in his town like the most exciting thing ever. Then he decides to try to stop the killer. The battle of wits between John Wayne Cleaver and his adversary can best be summarized by that famous Nietzsche quote: "Be careful when you fight the monsters, lest you become one."

    This was a surprisingly good story with a teenage main character you really want to like despite his increasingly creepy behavior, but it becomes harder and harder to overlook it. In fairness, he warns you up front what he is, but by the end of the book, you'll be torn between pity and disgust for him. I thought the story itself was very well executed, as it delivered several twists I didn't see coming, and for the most part, John remained believable as a sociopath who really doesn't want to be one.

    Overall a decent little thriller that scored solidly above average in story, interesting characters, and writing. Be warned, though, that even though it's YA, it gets pretty gruesome, and the main character does some seriously skeevy stuff. The author makes an attempt at an uplifting ending of sorts, but after the events of the previous few chapters, you're just not going to have a lot of warm fuzzies for Johnny.

    I'm afraid I did not love John Nelson's narration. Reading for John Wayne Cleaver, he sounded like a radio announcer, and his voices for a couple of the older characters were kind of comical falsettos.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    SHEILA FAIRVIEW, TN, United States 04-01-10
    SHEILA FAIRVIEW, TN, United States 04-01-10
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    "Awful."

    Wow. Wanted to like it....but got so tedious that I had to force myself to finish and this is basically a short book. Could have been a good story. But. It wasn't.
    Like another reviewer said, narration is terrible. Besides the inappropriate accent on different words....sounded as if it had been recorded in a closet.

    10 of 13 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Nathan London, Ontario Canada 08-02-13
    Nathan London, Ontario Canada 08-02-13
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    Story
    "I am not a book critic, but this book is great."

    Has a fascinating premise: teenage bay knows he's a sociopath and that he has the personality traits of a serial killer. So he tries not to become one.
    If your curious about serial killers, sociopaths or mental issues in general this does a very good job of explaining them it in entertaining way. Also lots of details on embalming.
    I didn't realize there would be supernatural elements but it's used well to stress how different he feels from 'normal' people. People who felt different growing up will easily connect with the character.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Matthias5 Albany, NY 06-04-12
    Matthias5 Albany, NY 06-04-12 Member Since 2008
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Genre bending Dexter Jr."
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    Yes, particularly because of the genre bending twist that comes out of no where. Its the sort of surprise that realy wakes me up durring a listen. "wait! What?!" I love a book that can through you of balance.


    What other book might you compare I Am Not a Serial Killer to and why?

    The sociopathic protagonist puts me in mind of the many wonderful 'Dexter' novels by Jeff Lindsay. The surprise supernaturtal elemnts put me in mind of 'The Harbor" by John Ajvide Lindqvist (of 'Let the Right One In' fame). But in retrospect the unsetling mood that inspires great discomfort reminded me of "The Dead Father's Club" by Matt Haig.


    What does John Allen Nelson bring to the story that you wouldn???t experience if you just read the book?

    Due to the detatched emotionless pressence the main character maintains through most story Nelson's performance is really effective when he really lets loose. The characters are clearly seperate with enough life and depth that you feel for them even for the protagonist and antogonist, each of which the reader may feel guilty sympathising or empathysing for.


    Who was the most memorable character of I Am Not a Serial Killer and why?

    John Cleaver is an very interesting character. Ironically the sociopath is more human because of the relationships he has with the people in his life, particularly his mother, his phyciatrist, and his 'enemy'. Like Dexter Morgan, John Cleaver has a 'dark passanger'. He calls this darker nature within himself 'Mr. Monster'. It is his desire to sipress and reluctance to unlease Mr. Monster that makes John a sympathetic character. He knows he is different, but doesn't want to be a killer. Hense the title.


    Any additional comments?

    I thought this was a enjoyable story. It is fully selfcontained, but i was plesantly surprised to find out there are more John Cleaver books, that i plan to listen to as soon as possible.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    E. PALMDALE, CA, United States 05-02-12
    E. PALMDALE, CA, United States 05-02-12 Member Since 2006
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    "Great Story, Worst Narrator Ever"
    What made the experience of listening to I Am Not a Serial Killer the most enjoyable?

    This is a great story, and fairly original to boot.


    How did the narrator detract from the book?

    This narrator is the absolute worst narrator in the history or narrators. I couldn't get through the audiobook because of his lack of emotion in reading. I ended up buying the e-book and reading it myself instead of listening.


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jake 11-16-10
    Jake 11-16-10 Member Since 2007

    I average three books a week, but as I cannot afford to purchase that many books I frequently re-read those I already have. If you are here looking for reviews, I typically only review those books I feel particularly strongly about or have some insight that hasn't yet been posted in a review.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Great book, not the best reader"

    I just listened to this, and its sequel. Both are great books that will keep you riveted, but this first one does suffer from a reader not suited to the book and its characters. He isn't horrible (would be perfect for a cop drama) but it is a distraction. Thankfully someone much better suited to this series reads the second book.

    Listen to the preview and if the reader is really going to bother you, pick it up in text. One way or another though its a story worth reading. Particularly good for readers of The Dresden Files or perhaps Dexter.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Michael Chicago, IL, United States 04-30-10
    Michael Chicago, IL, United States 04-30-10
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    "Couldn't take it"

    I just didn't like the voice of the narrator--never did listen to it.

    3 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Romanita Moreno 04-21-10
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    "The Worst Book I've Ever Listened To!"

    This is the worst book I've ever listened to. The story line was very poor and absolutely made no sense. The Narrator, John Allen Nelson, should be embarrassed to call himself an Audiobook Reader.

    3 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Janie O'brien US 10-23-14
    Janie O'brien US 10-23-14 Member Since 2010
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "MAYBE I AM, MAYBE I'M NOT !!"
    If you could sum up I Am Not a Serial Killer in three words, what would they be?

    A nice romp!


    If you could rename I Am Not a Serial Killer, what would you call it?

    I have these strange and dangerous thoughts !!


    Any additional comments?

    I quite enjoyed this book and would classify it as lighted hearted. I did not find this book horrifying at all; maybe occasionally a little grotesque. Perhaps I have become desensitised by watching the likes of CSI on the tele, but the mortuary scenes scenes were not at all shocking the way they were portrayed in such an everyday manner. In fact, I found the book rather amusing, especially when the supernatural elements appeared in the form of 'the demon' disguised as the old neighbour. What this demon serial killer did to his victims I read in the same humorous vein as the demon himself was described. I will buy the second in the series and again look forward to a nice light hearted 'horror.' Perhaps I'm a psychopath too (hehehe)!!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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