Saturday Screams #23 ~ I Am Not A Serial Killer: John Cleaver #1

Posted: January 14, 2017 in audible, horror, reviews
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Welcome to my Saturday Screams. This is where I share my love of horror and things that go bump in the night.

Today I have something different. I’m reviewing an audible book. I just started getting into audibles and, or course, I chose a scary good one. LOL


My Review

It’s kind of scary that I can somewhat relate to John Wayne Cleaver, the 15-year-old boy in this story. He has a fascination with serial killers and so do I. Where we differ is, while we both wonder what makes them tick, I just wonder why, but he worries he might become one.

 His therapist says he’s a sociopath and has plenty of the predictors pointing towards a serial killer. That’s why John has rules. He made them so he won’t become one. But there’s something inside him, sleeping now, but soon to stir. You see, there’s a serial killer operating in his town. But it’s not your normal one, or, I should say it’s not human.

As more people fall victim to the beast, the one inside John struggles to be unleashed. It may take a monster to kill a monster. And John worries that he won’t find his way back once it’s let out.

The first I heard of this story was I came across the movie. Being a horror fan, I watched it. It reminded me of Dexter, the serial killer show on Showtime. I’m sure you’ve seen it or heard of it. John could be a young Dexter, almost. He hasn’t taken to killing people, yet.

John is a fascinating young man. He’s intelligent and creepy at the same time. I worry whether he can keep his urges contained. He’s constantly fighting with his mother. She pushes him too hard, worried about what he might do and what he might become. I’d probably be the same way, thinking I could change him, make him normal. He knows he’s not normal, practices to appear that way, and tries to fit in. It’s a pressure cooker under that roof, waiting to let off steam. I just hope he uses that steam on the monster and not on someone trying to help him.

The first part of the story is mostly about John. About half way in you start to learn about the killer. Then it really gets going and the hairs on your arms will stand on end. It’s a race to the finish with plenty of action and a great ending. About that ending. I felt like it was kind of a vindication. Well done.

This is a study on character and humanity as much as it’s about serial killers and beasts. I found it thrilling and down right horrific, both must haves in horror.

I’m on to the next in this series, worried and excited about where John goes from here.

5 Stars

I received a complimentary copy from Tantor Audio.

My review is voluntarily given.



This is narrated by John Allen Nelson. He was not what I was expecting. The stories told from a teenage boys point of view so I would have preferred a younger voice. His inflection is okay, but I just couldn’t help but feel like he was reading more than telling the story. If he’s the narrator in the second book, I’ll still give it a try. Maybe he’ll grow with the stories and grow on me.



John works in his family’s mortuary and has an obsession with serial killers. He wants to be a good person but fears he is a sociopath, and for years he has suppressed his dark side through a strict system of rules designed to mimic “normal” behavior.

Then a demon begins stalking his small town and killing people one by one, and John is forced to give in to his darker nature in order to save them. As he struggles to understand the demon and find a way to kill it, his own mind begins to unravel until he fears he may never regain control. Faced with the reality that he is, perhaps, more monstrous than the monster he is fighting, John must make a final stand against the horrors of both the demon and himself.

Click HERE to listen to a sample.
Purchase on: Amazon / Tantor
Author Dan Wells
Dan Wells image
Dan Wells is an American horror fiction writer and the author of the John Cleaver series. He is a graduate of Brigham Young University, earning his bachelor’s degree in English with a writing and editing emphasis. He currently resides in Orem, Utah, with his wife and four children.

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  1. Lelia T says:

    This reminds me a little of The Wasp Factory, creepiest book I ever read 😉

  2. Sounds fabulous to me. I added it to my reading list.
    sherry @ fundinmental