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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

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.6 (418 )
5 star
 (97)
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 (108)
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 (22)
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3.9 (304 )
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Story
3.3 (304 )
5 star
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3 star
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2 star
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Performance
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  •  
    Sheila cleburne, TX, United States 12-29-11
    Sheila cleburne, TX, United States 12-29-11 Member Since 2008
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "falls a little short for me"

    I think I might have enjoyed this book more with a different narrator. Throughout most of the story, the main character sounded angry, hostile and just plain annoying. I think the narrator was not getting the connection with the character. It was not terrible or unbearable; just distracting. I found some valuable insight into the world of sociopaths, and how it clearly not all sociopaths are inherently dangerous. I appreciate this point of view. Add to that some inside views of a mortuary, and the story becomes that more tangible. The story progressed well, and it was not long before I was feeling a great deal of empathy for this teen and his plight. But, I have to admit I was a little disappointed with the ending. I think maybe the author struggled with this story, and may have rushed to publication a bit. I would not discourage others outright against this book, as it does have some very energetic moments. I found myself crying for some of the characters. But, I will have to think twice about others written by Dab Wells or narrated by John Allen Nelson. It may be that they are just not a good combination together. Overall, it was a worthwhile listen for me.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Melissa Wilmington, DE, United States 12-20-11
    Melissa Wilmington, DE, United States 12-20-11 Member Since 2009
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "On the Edge of My Seat for the Entire Ride"

    Loved loved loved this book. I agree that the person reading the book was miscast. I think he was trying to get across that the main character essentially has no empathy, but instead it came across as monotone. Otherwise, the story kept me on the edge of my seat. I was very skeptical about the supernatural element, which I thought was going to be a cop out, but instead I found it fascinating. I want to know more. I'd really like it if one of the characters went to the Vatican library or something and researched the issue because I'm dying to understand what exactly John is fighting. I literally stayed up all night listening to this. Best book this year.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Bryan Harvest, AL, United States 12-11-11
    Bryan Harvest, AL, United States 12-11-11 Member Since 2005
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Really great story, poor narrator."
    Is there anything you would change about this book?

    The story itself is very interesting, hard to listen to the narrator. It is suppose to be a fifteen year old, but sounds like he is in thirties ( at least ). The reader is monotone, with an odd speaking pattern (think Terminator crossed with the Twilight Zone speaker). I really wish they would redo the audiobook with another reader.


    Would you be willing to try another one of John Allen Nelson’s performances?

    Never.


    Was I Am Not a Serial Killer worth the listening time?

    Yes, even with the awful narration


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Sheila 06-18-11
    Sheila 06-18-11
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Interesting book"

    The choice of narrator wasn't a good fit. I looked at other books the actor has read and think that the non-fiction and detective stories would be a better fit for him.
    The story is an interesting one. A teenage sociopath as the protagonist is a daring concept. The characterization of the villain made him hard to completely demonize.
    My only complaint was that the editor didn't correct Dan's grammar. I was mentally correcting it as I was listening and that can be quite distracting.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Michelle EUREKA, CA, United States 05-31-11
    Michelle EUREKA, CA, United States 05-31-11

    dannyzlady

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    "Good book, bad narrator"

    It's a good thing the story is so good. Otherwise, I wouldn't be able to listen to the narrator. Whoever said it sounds like he's doing Unsolved Mysteries is correct. He overly dramatizes mundane scenes, calmly describes graphically dramatic scenes and puts way too much emphasis in all the wrong places.
    Five stars for the book. One star for the narrator. Balances out to 3 stars over all.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Daniel Hickory Creek, TX United States 04-09-11
    Daniel Hickory Creek, TX United States 04-09-11 Member Since 2006
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    "A very strange and interesting book"

    It's not very often you have a sociopath as a protagonist. But our unlikely hero in this book, John Wayne Cleaver is no Beaver Cleaver. He's a 16 year old sociopath... excuse me, he's too young for that label, but then, you'll just have to listen to get all the details of our hero's life; how he lives above a mortuary, loves to embalm people, is fascinated by serial killers and becomes a demon hunter.

    I really enjoyed this book, and wanted to listen to the other two, and did. Plenty of tension, plot twists and interesting characters. And it was well read by the narrator. I recommend it.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Laurie 02-05-11
    Laurie 02-05-11 Member Since 2005
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    "Key point missing from summary"

    From reading the publishers summary of the book I had no idea the main character was a 15 year old boy (and a diagnosed sociopath) or that there were some supernatural elements key to the story. I wouldn't have wasted a credit had I known. I have to agree with the comparision to "Robert Stack" on the narrator.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Shay Indianapolis, IN, USA 04-06-10
    Shay Indianapolis, IN, USA 04-06-10 Member Since 2009
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    "So-So."

    As the other reviewers have stated, the narration isn't easy to listen to, however don't judge the book on how someone else speaks it.

    I personally wasn't a huge fan of the story but for personal reasons. I think a lot of it could have been handled differently, however, the delivery was done reasonably well.

    This book is readable, not so much listenable. No offense to John Allen Nelson, but he was not the right choice for a teenage narrator.

    -T

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Joshua mcleansville, NC, United States 08-10-14
    Joshua mcleansville, NC, United States 08-10-14 Member Since 2011

    www.newimperium.org

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Strong and Fascinatingly Disturbing Debut"

    This was a great debut effort that stands out because of the strong characterization of the main character. Boiled down, this is a pretty straightforward mystery novel. The thing that makes it stand out is that the story is told in the voice of a main character who is a sociopath. In that sense, Wells has done an outstanding job. Now, I don't know if his depiction of a sociopath is accurate or not, but it feels believable enough. On the other hand, the main character is afraid that he is going to turn into a serial killer because he has so many common serial killer traits and thoughts. I don't know if I buy all that, and I think that it is overdone in several places. Parts of the book were disturbing and I would rather they not be in there, personally. But overall I have to admit that it is well done. The overall plot may not be realistic, but the book itself is pretty good.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
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