Jack Haringa's Reviews > I Am Not A Serial Killer

I Am Not A Serial Killer by Dan Wells
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's review
Mar 10, 2011

really liked it
bookshelves: horror, ya
Read from March 03 to 10, 2011

This is an extraordinary debut, a book that so authentically captures a certain isolation inherent in the adolescent experience that one has to assume that the sociopathic elements of the narrator are equally true in their rendering. Wells constructs a tight thriller narrative of the search for a serial killer and embeds it in the story of a teenager's journey of self-discovery. The novel takes a sharp left turn about 100 pages in but never loses momentum, and the revelations about John Wayne Cleaver and his neighborhood have some surprising emotional force despite the grisly goings on. Wells' prose is sharp, precise, and effective, and his dialogue is frequently and mordantly funny.

Note that the back cover blurb on I Am Not a Serial Killer and the recent publication of its sequel, Mr. Monster, let you know from the start that not every aspect of Cleaver's story gets resolved in this book, though it stands entirely on its own. The first-person narration alone identifies that the protagonist's survival is mostly assured, but this doesn't undermine the narrative tension at all.
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