I Am Not A Serial Killer
by Dan Wells
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.
The premise of this book is chilling, and the characters realistic, the setting utterly believable. You have a kid who knows he's a sociopath, his doctor knows he's a sociopath, his family knows he's a sociopath. But what what John knows best is that he doesn't want to become a serial killer. He's got all the signs; instead of letting his psyche choose his path, he takes matters into his own hands and sets rules for himself, rules that he hopes will stop him from becoming a serial killer.
Except, he loves serial killers. He loves dead bodies. He loves working in the mortuary with his mom. But despite his strange behavior and longings, he is well on the road to remaining somewhat normal on the outside, because of his rules.
He starts breaking rules when someone he knows is in danger from a real serial killer. The problem is, is that once he starts letting his guard down and giving in to his darker tendencies in order to save someone from getting killed, is that he enjoys giving in to his darker side.
This is a very well-written book. What keeps me from giving it 5 stars is that John is, well, not all that likeable. It's kind of hard to root for him because he doesn't really feel anything for anyone deep down, he's just going through the motions, because of course, he's just not normal.