I Am Not A Serial Killer

Really, I swear, I’m not!  Ok, along with being a very odd thing to start a post with, I Am Not A Serial Killer is also the first book in Dan Wells’ John Cleaver series of books.  I have a review for the third book (I Don’t Want to Kill You) on my blog already, but since I read the first two books before I started my blog, they don’t have reviews up yet.  After reading through Deadline over the past week I decided that I wanted to read a book that was shorter and faster paced, and I decided to read these again.  Anyway, enough rambling for now, on with the review.

Book Stats

271 pages


First book in the trilogy


The main character of the book is John Wayne Cleaver, a 15 year old boy who is obsessed with serial killers and is afraid that he is turning into one.  John is a fantastic character who is really interesting to read about in each of the books.  In this book he starts out as a creepy kid who works in a mortuary with his mother and aunt.  Throughout the course of the book he starts to break all of his rules so that he can catch a true serial killer, and it’s interesting to watch the struggle between what he needs to do and how that conflicts with the person he is trying so hard to be.


Clayton County, a made up area in no definitive state.  In my review of the third book I said that it’s in Utah, but I don’t recall if it’s actually in Utah or if I just said that because I know that the author lives in Utah.  This book never names a specific state.


John is starting his freshman year of high school, working at a mortuary with his mom, and generally being one of the weird and creepy kids at school.  When a man from the town is viciously murdered, John thinks that he sees serial killer behavior in the actions of the killer.  After several other bodies are found, John starts working to create a profile of the killer to try and stop him from killing again.  After a short time John figures out who the killer is and realizes that he is in way over his head as the killer is not a normal person, but some kind of demon.


I love this book.  It’s fun to read a book about a creepy main character who is chasing even creepier villains trying to stop them from committing horrific crimes.  Even though this was a second read-through and I already knew what was going to happen, the character was still strong enough to drive the story.  The book is kind of graphic at times, especially during some embalming scenes that occur early on, but it’s never graphic just to be graphic, everything works into the story and has a reason for being there beyond trying to gross people out.

Overall Grade

A very solid book and the start of a great series.


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  1. A creepy main character chasing an even creepier villain does sound like a very unique premise. The “good” cop, discovering much they understand evil is more common but also powerful (Clarisse and Hannibal Lecktor). Sounds like a fascinating book, though I’ll probably give it a miss for now. This is just not the season for graphic embalming scenes.

    • In some ways the main character is actually creepier than the villain he is chasing. I’ve read all 3 of the books before, and they’re all interesting reads.

  2. Sounds like an entertaining read.


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