I didn't like "Mr. Monster" quite as well as "I am not a Serial Killer", mostly because the utter freshness of John Cleaver's character/situation was...moreI didn't like "Mr. Monster" quite as well as "I am not a Serial Killer", mostly because the utter freshness of John Cleaver's character/situation was past, and in book two, I sometimes got a tired of his reiterating the same old conflicts -- I really want to kill my mother and my girlfriend, being a sociopath is so hard, I want to kill because it is the only way I have of feeling, etc.
Also, despite the fact that various murders happen in the first half of the book, the suspense of the story doesn't take off till the second half, part I being a bit tediously concerned with town life and teenage angst, albeit from John's uniquely twisted perspective. I do continue to feel that John's budding relationship with Brooke, the girl he likes and who, amazingly, likes him back, is sweet. (It is amazing to me how a beautiful girl who is part of the in-crowd would be drawn to him -- even though he covers up his problems, John is undeniably a withdrawn loner -- but somehow Wells makes it work. He creates in Brooke a persona who is looking for a quality that goes beyond handsome studliness, and he does it so well that we can suspend disbelief at her attraction to John.) But I found the subplot revolving around John's sister and her abusive boyfriend very pro-forma, and his relationship with his mom, while touching, a bit monotonous.
Then part II explodes and kept me riveted till the end, particularly as John is not only struggling to break free from the killer's clutches, but trying to keep his own worst instincts at bay in the process. Perhaps too hopefully, I felt by the end that John was starting to get in touch with some emotions? Not sure how he can, since I assume his condition is biological, but it seemed that way to me.
And since what keeps me reading isn't the violence and gore (there's actually way too much of that for my taste), or even the excitement and suspense, but the question of whether John will ever be able to love the girl he obviously WANTS to love, I will read the third book, despite the inevitable repetitiveness which almost sunk this book for me. (less)
Wonderful, hard to put down, and the best part of it, true! (As far as I know.)
My one cavil is that Colonel Picquart, narrator and hero of this book,...moreWonderful, hard to put down, and the best part of it, true! (As far as I know.)
My one cavil is that Colonel Picquart, narrator and hero of this book, shows almost too much sang-froid in his dangerous quest to bring forth the truth about the unfairly condemned Alfred Dreyfus. I can't remember a time when he loses his nerve or his cool, or has second thoughts about the course he has chosen to pursue. I can't help thinking that the real man must have had doubts about his actions, which were sure to ruin his career or even end his life (as several murders, very convenient for the army side, take place around him.) But although in the novel he falters very slightly at certain points, Harris never shows him thinking, Shall I just go home and forget all about this? Which seems a little unrealistic.
Nevertheless, he felt real and the author doesn't make him perfect, particularly with respect to his relationship with women, which were enthusiastic but emotionally removed. (Never in his long relationship with his mistress is the word "love" spoken, though he obviously cares for her.)
I enjoyed this from start to finish and I don't know anyone who hasn't. (less)