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The Devil's Only Friend

(John Cleaver #4)

4.13  ·  Rating details ·  4,349 ratings  ·  539 reviews
John Wayne Cleaver hunts demons: they've killed his neighbors, his family, and the girl he loves, but in the end he's always won. Now he works for a secret government kill team, using his gift to hunt and kill as many monsters as he can...

...but the monsters have noticed, and the quiet game of cat and mouse is about to erupt into a full scale supernatural war.

John doesn't
Kindle Edition, 305 pages
Published June 16th 2015 by Tor Books (first published June 15th 2015)
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Average rating 4.13  · 
Rating details
 ·  4,349 ratings  ·  539 reviews

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Miranda Reads
Oct 01, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Life isn’t a thing, it’s a condition; we switch it on and we switch it off.
I abso-freaking-love this little psychopath.

John Wayne Cleaver (accidentally named after two serial killers and "blessed" with a weapon as a last name) is desperately trying not to become a murderer. He's always known he has the potential - he fantasizes about killing things, he has a hard time seeing people as humans, etc...BUT he doesn't want to become a serial killer.

Only, no matter how good he is at avoiding
May 04, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: youngadult, fantasy
I love Dan Wells' brain. I want to keep it in my freezer. ...more
Dec 13, 2014 marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Rachel the Book Harlot
WARNING: Spoilers For First 3 Books


"I'm good now. I promise.

...sometimes at night I go to the butcher shop and I buy the biggest roast they have and I bring it home and I cover the room in plastic and I hack the meat to pieces with a kitchen knife, slashing and ripping and chopping and grunting until there's nothing left but scraps. Then I roll up the plastic, meat and blood and all, and I throw it away and everything is clean and calm now.

Because I'm good now.

I promise."


For all you peeps missing a Serial Killer gone Good, or at least good-ish, or even just mildly tiptoeing the very broad definition of monsterhood, I'd recommend this series.

John's 17 years old, has lost almost everything, but he's done the right thing and joined the "good guys" to hunt down demons. John still doesn't give a flying rat's ass about whether anyone lives or dies and he still likes to take home a rack of meat to stab viciously in his off hours, but at least he has the intellectual st
Ashley Daviau
I’m right in the middle with this book. I didn’t love it but I didn’t hate it either. Now that could be due to the fact that I haven’t read the first three books in the series but I didn’t know it was a series when I bought it and I said fuck it and read it anyways. I probably would have enjoyed it a bit more if I had read the other books but I still think it does relatively well as a stand-alone. I was able to follow the story easily and it was an incredibly interesting concept but it fell flat ...more
Frank Errington
Jun 16, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Review copy

Admittedly, I have never read the original trilogy of books in the John Cleaver series. One of these days I will need to rectify that. I'm also happy to say, it's not necessary to have read any of the other books to enjoy The Devil's Only Friend.

Reminiscent of Harry Dresden from the Dresden Files series by Jim Butcher, John Cleaver is a bit of an anti-hero, quick-witted with a sharp tongue, and an urge to kill. An urge that he controls in an unusual way. It's these tendencies that mak
Jun 21, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: supernatural
Classified as YA (or maybe Thriller with a teenager in the spotlight). Either way I found it to be enjoyable even as a 31 yo man. It has elements which Intrigued me - a sociopathic main character/protagonist who hunts and slays supernatural beings known as the "withered"? Who wouldn't be interested in reading this? If you enjoy the TV shows Dexter and Supernatural, you will likely enjoy this book/series. John Wayne Cleaver is one bad mother shut yo mouth! ...more
Claudie ☾
Thickening plot, new game-changing reveals, and moral dilemmas galore — looks like the second half of this series will be even better than the first three books.

First person POV has never been my favorite, and I kind of expected it to get tiring right about now, but nope — John’s head is such a weird place to be; I don’t want to ever leave! The dichotomy of his character is so masterfully shown here… I can’t get enough.

Just to be clear: I loved this. The new killer was damn scary, even before he
Graham Bradley
Oct 06, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Dan Wells has written the perfect fourth volume to this trilogy. He knows his characters, knows his world, knows just how to ratchet things up to level eleven at the right times. I will never understand how he does it, but damn...I have no idea where it goes now.
This ties in to book 3.5 which I wasn't expecting. They are both telling the same story but from different POVs and 3.5 ends without the full ending of book 4. I would suggest reading both books together, alternating so you can get both games on what is going on.

I really love this series and am enjoying book 5 now. The narration is really good. Although when the narrator shouts he really does and it is loud and startling. Book 4 is a great story and it didn't end the way I thought it would. (vie
Miriam is currently slumping
I think I'm gonna give up on this series. I really loved books 1-3. I'm not really impressed with the direction this book took. I didn't get that far. Maybe 10%-15%. Either way I am not rating this because I am slumping big time and attribute part of my lack of enjoyment to that. ...more
Review coming after I can meditate over it a bit. I actually finished this book quite a while ago, but I never cleared it out of my Currently Reading list. (Argh. :/) I liked it as much as the first three John Cleaver books, and appreciated the diverse cast of characters. Wells does horror well, and notably knows how to create strong character voices.
Poojitha Sitaram
Jul 28, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: first-reads
I was lucky enough to win an early draft of the manuscript of this book.

John Cleaver is back and now, to his annoyance, is working as part of a team. Dan Wells' biggest strength as a writer, in my opinion, has always been the brilliant way in which he captures and relates the mindset of his POV characters. That was one of the main things that really hooked me on to this series in the first place, and he doesn't disappoint with this book. Elijah Sexton, the POV character from Wells' short story,
Oh my gosh. This book was wild! As much as I loved the first three in this series, this marks the first of a new trilogy and as such can be read first instead of the previous trilogy. But holy crap, whatever my thoughts were as to where this story would go and how it would unravel, I was really unprepared for it. Dan Wells proves once more that John Wayne Cleaver is one of the best antiheroes in literature. #sorrynotsorry
Check out this book and you won't be disappointed.
Terry Weyna
Jun 22, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This review contains spoilers for the first JOHN WAYNE CLEAVER trilogy.

John Wayne Cleaver is a seventeen-year-old boy who wants very, very much to kill people. Lots of them, one right after the other, in terrible, bloody ways. Paradoxically, because he longs to do that, he has been taking extraordinary lengths to avoid becoming a serial killer. His struggles were related in a trilogy consisting of I Am Not A Serial Killer, Mr. Monster, and I Don’t Want to Kill You. That trilogy showed how John’
John Wayne Cleaver is back in “The Devil’s Only Friend”, the first in somewhat of a sub-trilogy within the already established John Cleaver series by Dan Wells.

I’ll start off by saying that the entire John Cleaver series, though popular, is extremely underrated. I also think it’s unfairly compared to Dexter. Granted, Dexter is a wonderful series and he is a great character, but John Cleaver stands on his own as a psychopathic anti-hero. He doesn’t need anyone’s help to establish exactly who and
Jul 29, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
I have already reviewed this book when I read it in German, see here. I only want to use this review to highlight some things I forgot or missed when I read the German version. Here they come:

- First of all, the ending feels even more awesome than the first time now that I recognized all the set-up. It had me cheering, it was so well executed that it'll stay with me for a while.
- The conversation between Brooke and John that broke my heart the first time 'round is even more heartbreaking in Engl
Michael Nash
Even though I Don't Want to Kill You ended on sort of a cliffhanger, with the reader left wondering what John on a demon-hunting team sponsored by the federal government, it also seemed like a fitting ending. Although it ends with John having a traumatic experience, that experience is also defining and cathartic, and joining the demon-hunting team gave enough of a shape to his future to be going on with.
In other words, this next book was kind of superfluous, and hinged on whether or not what wo
Feb 24, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
will post a review soon... I've missed you John.


When I first started this book I thought I missed something, like, it just dove right into John's new job with the FBI and I had no idea that that's how it was... John was now working for them. It felt weird, it felt foreign to me because I like John as a bit of a loner, not answering to higher-ups but doing his own thing.

I liked this book and then I didn't. I liked it for the character development and what was going on with Brooke. I didn't
Aug 30, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
John Wayne Cleaver, still trying hard not to be a psychopathic serial killer, carefully following his "rules", is on a FBI team tracking and killing "demons". This series (starting with I Am Not A Serial Killer) began as a story about a psychopathic teen who had the urge to kill but managed to suppress it and live almost a normal life, but the story added a supernatural element- John finds out a neighbor is not human. I would have liked the story even without the supernatural element- Dan Wells ...more
Jan 17, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Poor John, still not a serial killer
Jessica White
Jul 30, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
My favorite little sociopath is back in action, and he has backup!

The Devil's Only Friend picks up with John and Brooke in a new town, hunting a new monster, but John is employed by the FBI as a type of prodigy. Who knew his rules could land him an actual paying job where he got to hunt and kill monsters legally! It's a great job, but he still has his quirks. He's taking care of his impulses by beating hunks of meat with a club in his own house. He's setting controlled fires in grills. He's spen
Lynn Williams
Jun 10, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
4.5 stars
The Devil’s Only Friend is the first in a new Trilogy starring John Wayne Cleaver. There have apparently been three earlier books but The Devil’s Only Friend can be read as a standalone and indeed it’s not difficult to pick up on what took place previously. Having said that I really enjoyed this and to a cetain extent wish I had picked up the previous books, even though I admit that I probably won’t do so now, but just purely from a character deve
Eric Allen
Feb 03, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
John Cleaver has finally come back for the book I've been waiting years to read. I kind of wish that I had skipped the "Next of Kin" Novella that Dan Wells put out last year now, though, because the first half of this book was basically just a retelling of that novella from John's PoV rather than Elijah's. It was good, but I felt like I'd already read it, because I kind of had. The second half of the book strays into new territory though for a pretty action and tension packed climax. I really lo ...more
actual rating: 2.5

This was a definite low point in the series for me, but mostly because I am in no way here for the whole ~John Cleaver, FBI Agent~ plot line. I mean obviously I'm already suspending a lot of disbelief here with the whole ancient demons thing, but now you want me to believe that the FBI just decides to drag two 17 year old kids along with them on their monster hunting vendetta and also that their families are fine with that? I mean John's family maybe, but Brooke's?

Anyway, the
Chersti Nieveen
Nov 03, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
What a great way for the series to continue. It delighted every bone in my body with this well-developed book, and as much as I adored the three books before it in the I AM NOT A SERIAL KILLER series, this one blew them all out of the water, raising the stakes and characters themselves to a whole new level of fantastic.
M.A. Nichols
Oct 11, 2017 rated it really liked it
I feel like I'm being a little generous with my 4 stars, but I've loved this series so much that I can't bear to give it anything less than 4.

I think what I struggle with most is that my favorite part of the series has been the main character's inner struggle against his natural tendencies. Each previous book built off that, giving a new dimension to that conflict. However, this book just seems to regurgitate the same issues we've already spent three books analyzing. There's a little bit of a di
originally posted at:

Dan Wells is an author I had previously heard from mostly because of his book series The Partial Sequence. I hadn't heard about this series John Cleaver and when I saw this book in the Tor catalogue I thought it was a first in series or stand alone. But actually it is the fourth book so far in the series, which I found out in my mid reading session. However as you can make up from the above notice, you can pick up the John Cleaver ser
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Am I the only one... (Spoilers ahead) 1 10 Jul 04, 2017 06:09PM  
Play Book Tag: The Devil's Only Friend by Dan Wells - 3 stars 1 9 Apr 17, 2016 10:31AM  

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Dan Wells is a thriller and science fiction writer. Born in Utah, he spent his early years reading and writing. He is he author of the Partials series (Partials, Isolation, Fragments, and Ruins), the John Cleaver series (I Am Not a Serial Killer, Mr. Monster, and I Don't Want To Kill You), and a few others (The Hollow City, A Night of Blacker Darkness, etc). He was a Campbell nomine for best new w ...more

Other books in the series

John Cleaver (6 books)
  • I Am Not a Serial Killer (John Cleaver, #1)
  • Mr. Monster (John Cleaver, #2)
  • I Don't Want to Kill You (John Cleaver, #3)
  • Over Your Dead Body (John Cleaver, #5)
  • Nothing Left to Lose (John Cleaver, #6)

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