Tag Archive: Dan Wells

Jun 26

Book Review – I am Not a Serial Killer

WHAT’S PLAYING: OneRepublic “Everybody Loves Me”

This week’s first book is I Am Not a Serial Killer by Dan Wells.

 

 

This is the story of John Wayne Cleaver, a fifteen-year-old sociopath who lives and works with his mother in their family-owned mortuary. John believes that he is destined to become a serial killer and follows a strict set of rules to ensure he doesn’t give into his darker urges. When a bona fide serial killer turns up and begins slaughtering innocent victims in his hometown, John decides to use his unique skill set to stop him. But catching the killer may mean unleashing his own inner monster. And if he does that, no one will be safe.

 

I have one word to describe this book: compelling. John Wayne Cleaver is one of the most disturbing and refreshing protagonists I’ve ever encountered. His analytical mind is perfectly suited to finding the demonic serial killer terrorizing his town, but even he has a hard time figuring out his true motives. Is he really trying to protect his family and neighbors or is his subconscious simply looking for way to satisfy his own urge to kill? Honestly, I found myself more disturbed by the possibility that John may give into to his murderous instincts than anything else. The struggle to find and destroy the serial killer was almost tame compared to the intensity of John’s internal struggle.

 

I did have a few issues with the book’s structure. John spends the first hundred pages or so trying to identify the killer, so it reads like a mystery. Then, Wells throws in a demonic twist that transforms the book into a supernatural thriller. I must admit that he does a decent job highlighting the conflict between a demon killer with human motivations for his actions and a human boy who is incapable of feeling empathy. Still, the structure didn’t quite work for me. It felt like the author lost control of the story, or ran out of ideas and decided to shift genres in the middle of the book.

 

Still, I Am Not a Serial Killer is a book that works on many levels and a welcome addition to my library.

 

Favorite Line/Image:  “You’re a great guy, Rob,” I said. He looked at me oddly.

“…you’re about as important to me as a cardboard box,” I said. “You’re just a thing—a piece of garbage that no one’s thrown away yet…The thing about boxes, is that you can open them up. Even though they’re completely boring on the outside, there might be something interesting inside. So while you’re saying all of these stupid, boring things, I’m imagining what it would be like to cut you open and see what you’ve got in there….The thing is, Rob, I don’t want to cut you open. That’s not who I want to be. So I made a rule for myself: anytime I want to cut someone open, I say something nice to them instead. That is why I say, Rob Anders of232 Carnation Street, that you are a great guy.”

 

Bottom Line:  An interesting, disturbing read.

 

Coming Up Next: Thief of Time by Terry Pratchett

 

 

 

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.jacquitalbot.com/2012/06/book-review-i-am-not-a-serial-killer/

Jun 19

Book Review – Pay Me in Flesh

WHAT’S PLAYING: Rob Thomas “Mockingbird”

This week’s first book is Pay Me in Flesh by K. Bennett.

 

 

Mallory Caine is not your typical defense attorney. She’s a zombie with an appetite for justice…and brains. When her client, a vampire prostitute named Traci Ann is charged with the murder of a corrupt police officer, Mallory takes the case without a second thought. Even though few of her clients are innocent, Mallory knows that Traci Ann didn’t kill the cop…because she did. To complicate matters, she has to go head to head in a courtroom battle with a very attractive ex-boyfriend who whets her appetite in more ways than one. Then there’s the mysterious sword-wielding zombie killer intent on beheading her along with the rest of her kind. If Mallory dies before she gets her soul back, she goes straight to hell. But she’s not going down without a bite.

 

I fully expected to hate this book because, as you all probably know by now, I am not a fan of zombies. But Mallory isn’t your typical zombie. She doesn’t slobber, drool, or lurch – she’s smart, stylish, and sexy. She has standards. Her first question for potential prey is “Where did you go to school?” The way she sees it, if she’s going to eat brain, she’d like it to be relatively intelligent. You can’t help but root for her. After all, she never asked to become a zombie, and she hates having to kill to live.

 

Though I enjoyed this book immensely, I did have a couple of issues with it. One was the cumbersome plot. Bennett left a number of loose threads that will no doubt, be tied up in the rest of the books in the series. Mallory’s sarcastic voice, while hilarious, interrupts the narrative flow in some places. It was just too much. But my main issue with this book is that I didn’t connect with the protagonist emotionally. Of course, this might be due to the brain-noshing scenes, but I think it’s more than that. I never felt that she was in any danger, not even when the zombie killer trapped her in an alley.

 

Despite all of this, I could not put this book down. It’s laugh-out-loud funny, and Bennett keeps the pace moving and throws in enough twists and turns to keep you up all night.

 

Favorite Line/Image:

A young couple was just emerging from a Lexus in the parking lot.

LAPD!” I said. “I need your car!”

The guy, looking like some South Bay arm candy, laughed. The girl shook her head.

“I know, that never works,” I said. “But watch out for the guy with the sword.”

South Bay looked behind him and screamed. The girl screamed.

The guy with the sword screamed.

I was the only one with the decency not to make a girlie noise.

 

Bottom Line:  An entertaining romp. Highly recommended.

 

Coming Up Next: I am Not a Serial Killer by Dan Wells

 

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.jacquitalbot.com/2012/06/book-review-pay-me-in-flesh/