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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' debut novel is the first volume of a trilogy that will keep you awake and then haunt your dreams.
272 pages, Kindle Edition
First published March 30, 2009
Stuck at home? Got some time on your hands? Want to start a long series? But you don't want a dud?
Fear is a ... it's a weird thing, when you think about it. People are only afraid of other things, they're never afraid of themselves.John is afraid of himself - or at least he's afraid of what he could become.
"I just wish I knew why," She said. "Why what?"
"Why you're so obsessed with serial killers."
"Everybody's got to have a hobby,"
I was killing animals and taking them apart, and I had all the emotional reaction of a kid playing with legos.
"I have a rule about not hurting people".....
....."You don't have a rule about threatening to kill people?"
"It hadn't come up yet," I said. "I have one now."
"Don't make the mistake of thinking that sociopaths can't feel - they feel very keenly, they just don't know what to do with their emotions."
You probably think it would be creepy to have a real monster hiding inside of you, but trust me - it's far, far worse when the monster is really just your own mind.
You are evil, said myself. You are Mr. Monster. You are nothing. You are me.
"So you have coincidental links to two serial killers," he said. "That's a little odd, I admit, but I'm still not seeing a cosmic conspiracy against you."
"My last name is 'Cleaver,'" I said. "How many people do you know who are named after two serial killers and a murder weapon?"
I think that fire is more alive than we are-brighter, hotter, more sure of itself and where it wants to go. Fire doesn't settle; fire doesn't tolerate; fire doesn't "get by." Fire does.
People scurry around, doing their little jobs and raising their little families and shouting their meaningless emotions to the world, and all the while you just watch from the sidelines, bewildered. This drives some sociopaths to feel superior, as if the whole of humanity were simply animals to be hunted or put down; others feel a hot, jealous rage, desperate to have what they cannot. I simply felt alone, one leaf sitting miles away from a giant, communal pile.
"You're weird, man," said Max, taking another bite of his sandwich. "That's all there is to say. Someday you're going to kill a whole bunch of people-probably more than ten, because you're such an overachiever-and then they're going to have me on TV and ask if I saw this coming, and I'm going to say,'Hell yes, that guy was seriously screwed up.'"
"Then I guess I have to kill you first," I said.
"I've been clinically diagnosed with sociopathy," I said. "Do you know what that means?"
"It means you're a freak," he said.
"It means that you're about as important to me as a cardboard box," I said. "You're just a thing-a piece of garbage that no one's thrown away yet. Is that what you want me to say?"
"Shut up," said Rob. He was still acting tough, but I could see his bluster was starting to fail-he didn't know what to say.
"The thing about boxes," I said, "is that you can open them up. Even though they're completely boring on the outside, there might be something interesting on the inside. So while you're saying all of these stupid, boring things, I'm imagining what it would be like to cut you open and see what you've got in there."
«La noción de que yo fuera un sociópata no era nueva para mí; sabía desde hacía mucho tiempo que no conectaba con los otros. No les entendía y ellos tampoco me comprendían a mí, y fuera cual fuese el lenguaje emocional que utilizara, aprenderlo parecía estar fuera de mi alcance.»
«Lo maldije en aquel momento, no porque las lágrimas fueran falsas,sino porque eran reales. Lo maldije por mostrarme con todas sus lágrimas, sus sonrisas y sus emociones sinceras que el verdadero engendro era yo»