I Am Not a Serial Killer

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I Am Not a Serial Killer
US version of the cover
AuthorDan Wells
CountryUnited States
SeriesJohn Wayne Cleaver Trilogy
GenreHorror / Thriller / Mystery
PublisherTor (US), Headline (UK)
Publication date
2009 (UK), 2010 (US)
Media typePrint hardcover and paperback and Digital
Followed byMr. Monster 

I Am Not A Serial Killer is a 2009 thriller novel written by Dan Wells.[1] It is the first installment in the John Wayne Cleaver hepatlogy (2 trilogies & 1 novel). Its sequel, Mr. Monster, was released in 2010 in the UK. The third installment, I Don't Want to Kill You, was released in January 2011 in the UK and in March 2011 in the US. The fourth installment, The Devil's Only Friend was released June 15, 2015. The fifth installment, Over Your Dead Body was released on May 3, 2016

Wells has stated that he wrote the book with himself as the target audience and that although "a teenager protagonist means the book is [young adult]", the book "is 'adult' enough that different markets are treating it very differently: in the UK it’s a YA horror, in Germany it’s an adult thriller, and in the US it’s being marketed to both audiences."[2]

Plot summary[edit]

The book follows 15-year-old John Wayne Cleaver, a diagnosed sociopath who lives above a mortuary owned by his mother. He fears that he is "fated" to become a serial killer, and so lives by a set of rules designed to keep his homicidal impulses in check. His careful regime of self-denial is threatened when he becomes ensnared in a serial murder case in which he senses a connection with the killer.


Critical reception for I Am Not A Serial Killer was mostly positive,[3] with many reviewers stating that the book's twist partway through the novel "may turn off thriller readers who prefer not to mix genres."[4][5] Kirkus Reviews praised the book for its "completely believable teenage sociopath (with a heart of gold), dark humor, a riveting mystery and enough description of embalming to make any teen squeamish even if they won’t admit it".[6]

Film adaptation[edit]

Billy O'Brien directed a film adaptation, which stars Christopher Lloyd, Max Records and Laura Fraser. Animator Toby Froud has done design work for the film, while Robbie Ryan serves as cinematographer.[7]


  1. ^ "FANGORIA #293 COVER AND CONTENTS!". Fangoria. Retrieved 28 February 2013.
  2. ^ "INTERVIEW – In Conversation With Dan Wells (Author of I Am Not A Serial Killer & Mr Monster)". Alternative Magazine Online. Retrieved 28 February 2013.
  3. ^ Michael Berry (June 27, 2010). "Science fiction and fantasy column". SFGate.
  4. ^ "Review: I Am Not a Serial Killer". Publishers Weekly. Retrieved 28 February 2013.
  5. ^ "Review: 'I Am Not a Serial Killer' hacks, stabs to own beat". Journal Star. Retrieved 28 February 2013.
  6. ^ "Review: I Am Not A Serial Killer". Kirkus Reviews. Retrieved 28 February 2013.
  7. ^ ""I AM NOT A SERIAL KILLER" gets rolling with Christopher Lloyd et al". Fangoria. Retrieved 28 February 2013.

External links[edit]