Mr. Monster is the second book in the John Cleaver series by Dan Wells. I really liked this book when I first read it and I liked it just as much the second time through. On with the review.
Second book in the series (sequel to I Am Not A Serial Killer)
John Cleaver is still the main character in this book, and that’s a good thing because I think he is one of the best characters that I’ve read in fiction for quite some time. I also love the very natural progression that his character takes in this book. The first book dealt with John choosing to break his personal rules in order to catch a killer. This book deals with what happens after he broke all of his rules, and how hard it is to try and be a good person again. This book also involves other characters much more than the first one did. The character who has probably the biggest impact on the book other than John is his neighbor Brooke, who starts to help get John into more social situations, where he is of course completely lost. Even though the book is told entirely through John’s POV, all of the other characters felt very real to me, and I enjoyed reading their sections.
Clayton County once again, and once again we’re not told what state it’s in.
Several months after John stopped the Clayton Killer, things in Clayton have finally started to settle down again and return to normal. The only difference between the beginning of the first book and the beginning of this book is that the police and FBI are still looking for the Clayton Killer, and interviewing John on a regular basis to see what he knows. Everything seems calm, until another body turns up. At first everyone assumes that the Clayton Killer is back (except for John of course), but this body has nothing in common with those from the Clayton Killer. John is of course intrigued by the body and quickly gets wrapped up in the investigation and ultimately in the fight for his life against another demon.
This book is a lot darker than the first novel. I wasn’t as disturbed this time because I’d read it once before and largely knew what to expect, but the first time I read the book there were definitely some parts that creeped me out. Watching John try to go back to living by his rules is brilliantly written in this book, and the struggle that he is going through is very believable. His character growth is never forced in the book, which is really one of the strongest parts of the book. After undergoing a full character arc in the first book, Wells doesn’t try to force a new growth arc on John. He looked at what happened in the first book and said “where would this lead?” and went from there.
If you enjoyed the first book, you’ll like this one just as much. It’s less bloody but far more disturbing.