Sunday, May 23, 2010

I Am Not A Serial Killer

1 book you read: I Am Not A Serial Killer by Dan Wells

2 words that describe the book: Unsettling, engaging

3 settings where it took place or characters you met:

  • Mortuary
  • John Wayne Cleaver - a 15 year old sociopath who lives in Middle America above the mortuary that his mom and aunt run. John believes that he is not like everyone else; he is obsessed with serial killers and believes that one lies dormant within himself. To keep the monster at bay John has created a rigid set of rules to keep him from doing something - anything wrong. Problems arise when a string of horrifying murders begin in John's hometown. John uses his special knowledge of serial killers to personally investigate the murders and try and stop the inevitable from happening.
  • Dr. Neblin - John's therapist. What a vehicle he was for pulling self-discovery from John throughout the story. Through their sessions John's rules were revealed. I enjoyed their interchanges and the calm that he brought. Typically I find that background characters slip through the cracks of my mind, yet I found this man both nondescript and memorable.
4 Things you liked and/or disliked about it:
  • I liked John's rules of behaviour and living. I thought it was very revealing of someone his age and proclivity. It made me think about the rules that we probably all have for ourselves - diets, no pornography, personal integrity to build trust. It was an interesting fight he had with himself when he felt he had to sacrifice his rules to fight off a killer and save the community.
  • John’s narrative voice is real and personal in a way that hooked directly into the interest-center in my brain. That clear, distinct voice is what makes this book so worth reading. I was often repulsed and captivated by his inner voice.
  • We may all feel that there is something of evil to overcome in ourselves, to set aside and turn away from. I enjoyed that part of the book a lot. I had conversations with myself (I do that a lot!) about fate, overcoming the 'natural' man, and remembering that we can rise above ourselves. It was interesting how when John felt he had to relax his rules to catch the demon, that he becomes even more committed to them. The rest of the book was a lot like watching a car wreck. It was bloody and gory and not-too pretty. But I was mesmerized and couldn't turn away; I just don't think I was always happy about it.
  • John was very believable and basically had a good heart and soul. The book was a mix of mystery and some sci-fi genre mixing. That made the book better for me, but on the whole I found it more disturbing than anything else. At the end of the book I still don't know if I'm a better person for my journey with John. I know this is the beginning of a trilogy, I just don't know if I have the "guts" to read another.
5 Stars or less for your rating?
3.5 because it was just too unsettling for me. I admired the writing and deftness of the author, I just don't know if I can recommend it for much more than that.

1 comment:

Susan said...

Interesting ... I haven't started reading this one yet. I've heard lots of good things about it, but it sounds like it was very disturbing. Hm, wonder what I'll think of it?