Saturday, 30 August 2014

Only A Monster Can Hunt A Monster

Let's face it– We're all a little fascinated by serial killers. Some maybe more than others, but morbid curiosity will get the better of us no matter how much we try to avoid it. That's part of the reason why the TV series Dexter was so popular back in its day, and why the John Cleaver series by Dan Wells was such an incredible success. I love Dexter, but I never truly felt like I could understand where he came from. He didn't drag me into the terrifying depths of sociopathic behavior and make me truly wonder what it was like to be in the mind of a serial killer. Enter John Wayne Cleaver (based off both the names you're thinking about), one of the most terrifying and unsuspecting murderers I can remember reading about. It's too hard for me to choose a favorite book, so I'm just going to review the first three.

Simple and to the point. No pun intended.
The series follows clinically diagnosed sociopath John Wayne Cleaver through his sleepy town of Clayton. John struggles with his dark urges and lack of empathy, working with his mother in the mortuary being the closest he can get to a release. Until the ruthless, disturbing murders begin. John is practically beside himself with excitement, but as he begins to hunt these monsters, he begins to learn that the word 'monster' may be more literal than he believed...

This series is fantastic and terrifying. Usually I'm not scared by the main characters actions, but John is an utter exception. He's smart, methodical, obsessive, and constantly at war with his humanity, and the side he calls Mr. Monster. Research has clearly been done into serial killer traits and a sociopath's tendencies, as well as to a mortician's work, and that helps strengthen the stories and John's character.

The individual stories themselves are as unique as they are disturbing. Each demon John faces has its own distinct personality and different reason to kill, each of which parallel something in John's psyche. The demon in the second book was the most horrific and intriguing to me, but the demon in the third novel was likely the most dangerous.

What I enjoyed most about these novels was John's growth as a character. I suppose that goes without saying, since I've been ranting about it basically nonstop. In every book, John is put in situations he doesn't know how to deal with, and must find a way to react to them without resorting to his inner monster. This became most evident in I Don't Want To Kill You when the demon John confronts learns how to cut straight to the core of him. The ending for that novel was phenomenal, and it made me smile in a way I didn't expect.

There's a novella called Next Of Kin that I've yet to read and a rumored fourth book coming, and I could not be more excited. Obviously I would recommend this series to people who've read/watched Dexter, but I would tell anyone to give it a try. Yes, it's dark. Yes, it's violet. Yes, the main character thinks about killing and embalming every person he sees. But the series written by an exceptionally talented author who isn't afraid to push the boundaries. It's a long weekend for us Canadians, which means you have lots of time to read about a character I guarantee you'll never forget. 


P.S.: I mentioned that the long weekend is a great time to relax and catch up on all the books you've been wanting to read, so allow me some shameless self-promotion. I have three short stories currently available, links to be provided below, so think about picking them up to get an early monster fix before diving into the John Cleaver series. | Kobo | Kindle | Kindle

Kindle | Paperback
Hope everyone has a fun, safe weekend!

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