The John Cleaver Series by Dan Wells

I Am Not a Serial Killer
I Am Not a Serial Killer

The John Cleaver series is a trilogy of books by author Dan Wells. They are supernatural horror/thriller novels labeled as Young Adult fiction. Even though they feature the exploits of a fifteen-year-old kid, don’t let the YA designation fool you. These books are full of terrible things happening to people of all ages…for your entertainment.

I heard of these books while listening to the Writing Excuses podcast, of which Dan Wells is one of the cast. He often speaks about the writing process by referring to his first novel, I Am Not a Serial Killer. In fact, it’s probably the title of the book that made me want to read it more than anything else did.

These books are about John Cleaver, a fifteen-year-old kid in a small town with an obsession for serial killers. He lives over the mortuary where his mother and aunt works and even takes part in the embalming process with them. Diagnosed as a sociopath by both himself and his therapist, he tries to cope with being different.

Everything takes a turn when an actual serial killer shows up in town and starts murdering people. This excites John and sends him on the trail of the killer. At the same time, his own inner monster comes to life. He does not know if he wants to catch the killer, or participate.

I have already written some reviews of all three books in the series so I am not going to get into a lot of little details:

Review of Book 1: I Am Not a Serial Killer

Review of Book 2: Mr. Monster

Review of Book 3: I Don’t Want to Kill You

One thing you need to know is that this is a “supernatural” horror/thriller. I only stress this because, apparently, people seem to become upset when the story goes from being pure thriller material to supernatural horror.

I Don't Want to Kill You
I Don’t Want to Kill You

There is one thing about the series that I find a little unsettling. There seems to be an overall lack of emotion. This is understandable from them main character’s point of view. After all, he’s a sociopath. But over the course of three books, there are several serial killers killing and a multitude of suicides…all in less than a year. You would think that in a small town, these things would make people a little…edgy. The situation comes up a bit in the third book, but overall, it seems as if nobody really cares about all these atrocious murders happening. That’s only a small concern of mines. These books are fun, enjoyable, entertaining and very easy to read.

If possible, you should get all three books and read them back to back. Each novel takes place almost immediately after the last. And since they are all fast reads, you won’t have to wait to get right into the next installment.

Dan Wells (author)

Daniel Andrew ” Dan” Wells (born March 4, 1977) is an American horror and science fiction author. He currently resides in North Salt Lake, Utah, US. Wells wrote his first stories based on the Choose Your Own Adventure series when he was in second grade.

  1. I Am Not a Serial Killer
  2. Mr. Monster
  3. I Don’t Want to Kill You

The Story Continues

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