Welcome to Freakin Fridays, where I share my reviews of books that scare you, thrill you, and get those endorphins pumping.
The story picks up about a month after John killed the demon that stalked their town. He’s having a tough go of it.
You see, John has unnatural urges. Urges to torture and kill. He has a set of rules that he follows to stop himself from acting on them. After killing the deem, those urges are building. He’s tasted death and fights to stick to his rules.
So he burns. He burns things to feed Mr. Monster, the thing inside him. It works, kind of. At least after he burns something he can go home. Go to bed. But then the nightmares start. “When he wasn’t using his mind, Mr. Monster was.” And the monster had him killing.
Now, something is killing again. And it’s not John. Perhaps John can let Mr. Monster out to play. Hunt and kill again.
Oh boy. I was only five chapters in and the suspense was really revving up. A school bully pushes John’s buttons and he pushes back. His mother hovers, reminding him to keep his rules. Questioning him constantly about how he feels. The FBI agent from before calls him in repeatedly to repeat his story about the killings from the winter before. An unassuming man with lots of questions. And Brook. The beautiful neighborhood girl his mom insists he drive to school. She strains his ability to keep his rules.
When John’s sister, Lauren, who never comes to visit, shows up for dinner on Mother’s Day with a boyfriend in tow, things get very interesting. He’s a bully, loud and abrasive in his comments. Downgrading Lauren all the time. It was chilling to listen to John’s thoughts on what he’d to to the guy. After listening to the idiot go on and on, I agreed with some of those ideas myself.
It caught my attention when it became apparent that John’s mother was fighting some thoughts of her own. She clearly was upset by the guys treatment of her daughter. There’s one scene where she used one of John’s rules for herself, and made me laugh…and wonder about her.
And there’s the cat. It wouldn’t leave a warehouse John had targeted to burn down. Rule One kept him from it. Don’t harm animals. Every time he went to burn the building, the cat was there. It didn’t leave, no matter how long he waited. What’s up with that cat?
There is so much suspense. I wondered if John would give in to Mr. Monster. And if one of the people that was causing him so much grief would be a victim. They say many kids that show sociopathic tendencies never act on them. Will John be able to resist. He’s already killed once. And listening to his thoughts, I can’t see him fighting the urges for much longer.
Chilling, in parts very disturbing, yet also fascinating, I loved being inside Johns’ head again. I couldn’t wait to find out what he’d do and to who. The fact that the author took this story into such a dark place without using profanity or sex earned my high regard.
Narrator Kirby Heyborne
This second story about John Cleaver has a new narrator. I was impressed by Kirby. He did an excellent job portraying all of these characters, sounding convincing as a woman or a man, and adjusting for their ages. He drew me in, and it felt like I was watching a movie without looking at the screen. I watched the movie for I Am Not A Serial Killer: John Cleaver Book One, and that gave me lots to draw upon. Well done, Kirby.
Thanks so much to Tantor Audio for a complimentary copy. My review is voluntarily given.
I killed a demon. I don’t know if it was really, technically a demon, but I do know that he was some kind of monster, with fangs and claws and the whole bit, and he killed a lot of people. So I killed him. I think it was the right thing to do. At least the killing stopped.
Well, it stopped for a while.
In I Am Not a Serial Killer, John Wayne Cleaver saved his town from a murderer even more appalling than the serial killers he obsessively studies.
But it turns out even demons have friends, and the disappearance of one has brought another to Clayton County. Soon there are new victims for John to work on at the mortuary and a new mystery to solve. But John has tasted death, and the dark nature he used as a weapon—the terrifying persona he calls “Mr. Monster”—might now be using him.
No one in Clayton is safe unless John can vanquish two nightmarish adversaries: the unknown demon he must hunt and the inner demon he can never escape.
I’ve listened to and reviewed I Am Not A Serial Killer, the first in the John Cleaver series.
Click HERE to read my review.
Author Dan Wells
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.
Narrator Kirby Heyborne
Kirby Heyborne is an accomplished actor, musician, and comedian who has received a number of Audiofile Earphones Awards for his audiobook narrations. He has had starring roles in over a dozen features and many short films. Kirby is also a cofounder and director of the Los Angeles-based improv comedy group The Society.
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