27 August 2010

I Am Not a Serial Killer; Dan Wells

I Am Not A Serial Killer (John Cleaver, #1)I Am Not A Serial Killer by Dan Wells
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

What if Dexter had been raised not by a cop, but by the Fishers (as in, the Six Feet Under family)? In this book, John Wayne Cleaver lives with his mother above the mortuary she runs with her sister. He thinks he's a sociopath, incapable of making an emotional connection to others and essentially friendless (except for Max, another weirdo). To cope with his obsession over serial killers and death he's created a list of rules by which to live, rules designed to keep the monster out. His therapist approves.

He lives in Clayton, a small town in Clayton County (no state given). And there's a serial killer on the loose. John's fascinated: what does it feel like to kill? He starts to keep track of what's going on, stalking the killer. One day, John sees him and his next victim and follows them to the lake, where - sure enough - there's a killing.

The rest of the book follows John's obsession with the killer and keeping track of his movements, inserting himself into the killer's house. This stalking morphs into a resolve to take the killer down, as John leaves notes saying things like "I know who you are" in and around the house. Ultimately, John decides to prevent the next killing by killing the one thing the killer loves.

This could have been a five-star book, because John is such an interesting character. Where it lost me was the introduction of something supernatural - making it a demon that does the killing was an unnecessary element. That one element broke the flow for me, taking me out of John's world. A human killer would have been just as effective.

The author's setting this up to be a Dexter, Junior series (at least, the jacket copy says that there's another two books in the works). With luck he'll stick to the realm of the real and not the unreal.

ARC provided by publisher.

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