Dan Wells: Mr Monster


Mr Monster by Dan Wells is sequel to I Am Not A Serial Killer, a refreshing young-adult-marketed thriller from 2009. Main character and first-person narrator is John Cleaver, a teenage boy who is diagnosed with sociopathy and very aware of himself being a danger for his peers. He is fascinated by serial killers and knows almost every publically available detail about associated psychology and forensics. John is aware his own urge to hurt and even kill humans so he has constructed a set of strict rules that are supposed to keep him from killing—rules he had to break in I Am Not A Serial Killer in order to stop a practising killer.

Some months later, John struggles to keep his dark side suppressed. Having let him out and feel freedom once, this is increasingly hard. It does not help that he becomes closer with Brooke, the neighbour girl he has a twisted crush on and who has taken an interest in him; there are even rules against watching girls and thinking about them too much! In addition, John’s broken family adds to the building emotional stress, with no therapist to help him deal with it. In this situation, a new series of killings starts. John is certain that another demon has to be responsible and now faces a choice: should he get involved and risk falling entirely for his inner demons or should he stand by in order to save himself?

Mr Monster is very entertaining and pleasantly weird, mostly because of its unique perspective. Being inside John’s head is fascinating, thrilling and even funny in an almost perverse way; he is a sociopath after all. Wells still manages to get the reader to sympathise with his main character, which is almost frightening. John’s inner struggles contrasting cool analyses of the murders has been the main motor of the series so far. It is also very well written, I can offer no criticism there. My only regret is that the mindgames between John and his opponent last only one scene; Wells then directly proceeds to the climax. I would have liked some more of the hunt which was so thrilling in volume one. But then, you can only do so much on less than 300 pages. It is also appropriate that John is not able to control the situation as he wishes; his assumption that he can outsmart yet another killer with ease is the main fallacy nearly ruining him.

If you like Dexter Morgan, you will love John Cleaver. Go read these books, they are sure to mess with your mind!

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