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Other titles in the John Cleaver Books series:

I Am Not a Serial Killer (John Cleaver)


I Am Not a Serial Killer (John Cleaver) Cover

ISBN13: 9780765327826
ISBN10: 0765327821
Condition: Standard
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Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

John Wayne Cleaver is dangerous, and he knows it.

Hes spent his life doing his best not to live up to his potential.

Hes obsessed with serial killers, but really doesnt want to become one. So for his own sake, and the safety of those around him, he lives by rigid rules hes 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 dont demand or expect the empathy hes unable to offer. Perhaps thats what gives him the objectivity to recognize that theres 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 cant control, a menace to everything and everyone he would love, if only he could.

Dan Wellss debut novel is the first volume of a trilogy that will keep you awake and then haunt your dreams.


"This dazzling, un-put-downable debut novel proves beyond a doubt that Dan Wells has the gift. His teenage protagonist is as chilling as he is endearing. More John Wayne Cleaver, please." F. Paul Wilson, New York Times bestselling author


"The beauty of the prose, mixed with the depth of characterization, gives the haunting, first person narrative a human touch. Regardless of your age or your genre preferences, you will find this story both profound and enthralling." Brandon Sanderson, New York Times bestselling author

About the Author

Dan Wells lives in Orem, Utah, with his wife, Dawn, and four young children. This is his first novel.

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Average customer rating based on 3 comments:

gooser114, September 1, 2011 (view all comments by gooser114)
John Cleaver is struggling with his sociopathic tendencies and ideas of violence. He fears that he is destined to become a serial killer and must fight himself in order to maintain a normal existence. When murders begin happening in his own town he must come face to face with an unusual killer and chose to protect the town or his fragile state of mind.

This was not the book I expected it to be. I was hoping for a book about a serial killer or about a character battling with the ideas. However, the story quickly turned into a supernatural thriller. I enjoyed the struggle that John Cleaver dealt with and his explanation of how he controls himself. There were times of real suspense, but overall not the story that I wanted.
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eeclarkson, October 18, 2010 (view all comments by eeclarkson)
This book is funny, a little brilliant, and completely fascinaiting.

The premise is this: John Wayne Cleaver is a sociopath. He doesn’t connect with people, he’s obsessed with serial killers, and there’s a monster inside him that he keeps carefully in check behind a wall of rules. But then a serial killer comes to John’s town and he pushes himself to every limit in order to stop the killer.

Sounds like a recipe for nightmares right?

The funny thing is, it wasn’t. There were some graphic scenes, and the details about serial killers could be creepy, but the voice of the main character was so compelling. Sure he’s not exactly normal, and his tendencies and desires are very alien, but there is a spark of humanity in him, somewhere, because that’s what I connected with (and I’m pretty sure I’m not a serial killer). He has a desire to help, to stop the killings, and while he may not feel empathy or remorse for the victims, he does have a solid sense of good and bad, right and wrong. And his quirks, his oddities, are what make John so fascinating.

It also helps that the book was superbly written (woohoo to Dan Wells for a fantastic debut) and I’m dying to read the second one. Haha.
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(1 of 1 readers found this comment helpful)
FNORDinc, May 24, 2010 (view all comments by FNORDinc)
I think my wife is a serial killer waiting to be unleashed on the world.

I had not heard of this novel but ran across a Powell’s Books author reading late last month by Dan Wells. I read a summary of his recent book and then scheduled appropriately to go and listen to him. Jenn went with me and whispered creepy serial killer/mass murderer stats in my ear.. it was disturbing how much she knew.. When Dan asked people to name 5 killers in order to win a t-shirt, she stayed quiet and named 14 under her breath. no one but the Author could compete with her, naming less than five, 2 of which Wells had used as examples……

please send the police after her FIRST if i ever drop off the radar (after she reads this, my stats will weigh against me.).. DO NOT enter our home, make sure to arrive with witnesses, and be careful if she offers you refreshments, it is a distraction tactic. Bring gelato if you plan on surviving..

so, the long –> short of it is that i bought a copy of I AM NOT A SERIAL KILLER. Dan Wells scribbled his John Hancock into the cover and i went home.. I had some must reads already waiting that needed to be pushed through my brain machine before i could get to this.. How i waited nearly a month, i really do not know….. it was very, very good…

John Wayne Cleaver is a 15 year old boy in a small town. Overall he is a nice kid who just can’t find any connection to the people around him. he has only one friend and is a freak among his peers. He grew up in a family of morticians. He helps out around the house and business. John is an outcast because he firmly believes he will grow up to be a serial killer.

John does not WANT to be a serial killer, but he thinks that the universe has stacked the deck against him, starting with his name. His namesake is an actor who shares a name with a killer (c’mon pilgrim..). His father is Sam Cleaver, making him the Son of Sam. His last name is a tool for cutting meat.

Interestingly enough, the town John lives in has a new killer hanging around, killing people and leaving their bodies lying about with parts missing. John obsessively investigates the killer, attempting to determine his motives and methodologies. This is in part because of his interest in the subject matter, and in part because of his fear of joining the ranks.. the more he knows, the better prepared he will be.

This really was a great book. IANASK is a mild thriller, and a must read for anyone who has found themselves spending an afternoon reading through the Internet Crime Library or whiling away nights watching true crime shows on TV. Wells did a great job breaking down the mind of a killer and really leaves you mentally cheering for the 15 year old sociopath that is the main character. You know he could turn out to be a horrible person in a couple years, but hope for the best because really, his is just a great kid. classically misunderstood.

The book is portioned well, focusing on John’s internal struggle as much as his obsessions with finding and stopping the local killer.

It is a little gory in some spots, but not overly so.. of course, i could also be desensitized :).. ok, well, just assume that i am desensitized..

One of my favorite aspects of John Cleaver is that he has already identified character traits of his that make him fear for his future. He has created a series of rules that will help himself suppress these character traits. These rules are mandatory to keep himself from crossing over, they keep his darker side in check.. ignoring these rules and he threatens to unleash his darkness, self named “Mr. Monster”
Examples of his rules:
- To keep stalker qualities subdued, he avoids people for a full week if he finds he is taking too much interest in them. too many conversations and he cuts off contact. if he finds himself following them home, they get back burner’d.

- If he feels like doing bodily harm on someone, he should distract himself by being overly nice and saying nice things about them. Thinking and saying nice tings tends to push back the bad… you know the classic “Think Positive” motivational posters? He should have one tattooed on the back of his hand.

- He must hand out with Max, another outcast in his grade. having max as a friend makes him more normal. after all, sociopaths do not have friends, so having a friend combats his sociopathy.

The book is humorous and intense in all the right places.
If you pick this book up, let me know what you thought of the Halloween Dance chapter. It cracked me up enough that i read sections aloud to people who were uncomfortable with a large insistent bearded man enthusiastically reading aloud a book titled ‘I am not a serial killer’… don’t get why that would make people feel “off” but it apparently does :)

surprised that i still have a job considering the number of people who gave me uncomfortable looks on the elevator or in the break room.

This was book one in a trilogy, i am very interested to see how the characters in this series turn out. Mr Wells, Get to releasing the books.. NOW! if you need someone to read them in advance, i would gladly volunteer :) (hint hint)

-- FNORDinc.com
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Product Details

Wells, Dan
Tor Books
Popular Fiction-Suspense
Edition Description:
Trade Paper
John Cleaver
Series Volume:
No. 1 of 3
Publication Date:
Grade Level:
8.22 x 5.5 x 0.75 in

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Featured Titles » Genre
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Fiction and Poetry » Horror » General
Fiction and Poetry » Mystery » A to Z
Fiction and Poetry » Popular Fiction » Suspense
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I Am Not a Serial Killer (John Cleaver) Used Trade Paper
0 stars - 0 reviews
$7.50 In Stock
Product details 272 pages Tor Books - English 9780765327826 Reviews:
"Review" by , "This dazzling, un-put-downable debut novel proves beyond a doubt that Dan Wells has the gift. His teenage protagonist is as chilling as he is endearing. More John Wayne Cleaver, please."
"Review" by , "The beauty of the prose, mixed with the depth of characterization, gives the haunting, first person narrative a human touch. Regardless of your age or your genre preferences, you will find this story both profound and enthralling."
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