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25 May 2011

I Am Not A Serial Killer

Dan Wells
Rating: Buy, Paperback, New

I've been hemming and hawing over getting a WorldCON Supporting Membership this year so I could vote on the Hugos.  To be honest I really couldn't justify the expense until I found out that it included ebooks of the entrants. Factoring in a fudge factor for the short stories and novellas it costs about 3-4 dollars for novel.  Not an unreasonable price in my opinion.  The first book I picked purely on the title, Dan Wells' "I Am Not A Serial Killer".

The novel follows a few months of a teenager's life.  There are a few twists though.  Our teenager,  John Wayne Cleaver, is obsessed with serial killers.   He's obsessed with fire.  He works in the family mortuary. There's a serial killer stalking the streets of Clayton.  I should mention that John Wayne Cleaver is also a sociopath and determined not to become a serial killer despite believing that he is fated to become one.  This is almost a cross of Dexter and Six Feet Under.

The book is quite good.  Written from the first person, not my favorite generally but done very well for this book.  John comes across as pretty adult just as you would expect from a 14 year old kid.  His unhealthy obsessions seem well explained and expressed..  My only complaint is one scene near the end where John breaks down, the scene comes off like a bad drug trip and the character seems to briefly be more schizophrenic rather than sociopathic.  Nonetheless, the title caught my attention and the premise dragged me in.  It's not a typical  story of teenage angst, the main character is struggling against a demon and that demon is himself.  Overall a good book and a nominee for the John W. Campbell Award for best new writer. I recommend it as a must read.  The novel is urban fantasy so I leave it up to you to discover who the real serial killer is.

I'd originally planned on voting for Larry Corriea for the John W Campbell Award as I enjoyed Monster Hunter International immensely but Dan Wells is now a contender. Mrs. Bugbear also enjoyed MHI and I doubt would enjoy I Am Not A Serial Killer as much which still gives Correia the nod.  However Dan Wells is a very close second in my voting.

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