I have the pleasure of welcoming young adult author Dan Wells to the blog. I am a big fan of his ‘John Cleaver’ series having read ‘I Am Not A Serial Killer‘ and ‘Mr Monster‘ and you can read my review of ‘I Don’t Want To Kill You‘ the third and final instalment of this series later today.
I also have a fantastic giveaway of ‘I Don’t Want To Kill You‘ at the end of Dan’s post so make sure you enter!
Please welcome, Dan…
I Don’t Want To Kill You is the last in a trilogy about a boy named John Cleaver—a teenage sociopath who’s trying to be as good as he can possibly be, even though it goes against everything in his nature. He is obsessed with death and serial killers, and works in his mother’s mortuary because it gives him the chance to be around dead bodies in a “healthy” way, if such a thing is even possible. When his town is threatened by a series of supernatural serial killers, even the police are helpless, and it’s up to John to save his neighbors the only way he knows how: by being an even bigger monster than they are.
The thing I loved most about writing these books was the chance to explore that last little idea: who is the bigger monster? When does “helping the good guys” become “hurting the bad guys,” and what is the difference between them? As one of the characters in I Don’t Want To Kill You says, “You’re trying to stop a killer by killing. Whether you succeed or fail, our community will still have a killer.” Digging down deeply into the similarities and connections between John and the demons he fights gave each book a unique, creepy flavor, and a particular theme that even I didn’t notice until after each manuscript was written.
The first book, called I Am Not A Serial Killer, was about connection. John, as a sociopath, finds it almost impossible to connect with other people in any kind of meaningful way—he can’t feel what others feel or even understand why they feel that way. As with many real life sociopaths, he barely even feels like he’s part of the human race. The demon in that book was literally not a part of the human race, and yet always strived for the same connection, for the ability to link himself with others and become a true member of the community. John and the demon were both missing pieces of themselves, and tried to fill those holes as best they could. In the end, many readers felt as endeared to the demon as they were to the hero, and as scared of the hero as they were of the demon. I love that.
The second book, called Mr. Monster, was about addiction. John has spent his whole life trying to avoid any kind of violent behavior, terrified that once he started he wouldn’t be able to stop—and after the end of the first book, that’s exactly what happens. He’s felt what it’s like to hunt somebody, to terrify somebody, to hurt and even kill somebody, and even though he knows, intellectually, that it’s wrong, emotionally he can barely contain his urges to do it again. He wants the rush of it, the drug-like high that comes from hearing a scream and watching the fear light up in someone’s eyes. The demon in that book is also an addict, though it would be spoiling too much to tell you what he’s addicted to. It drives him, it guides him, it consumes his every thought and action, even when he knows he should be doing something else. The “winner” of their conflict won’t be the strongest or the scariest, but the one most capable of controlling his addiction.
And now we have the third book. I Don’t Want to Kill You is about obsession. It’s about wanting something so much you destroy everything in your path just for one chance to have it, one chance to reach out and hold that one amazing thing that will change your life and solve your problems and make everything perfect. John is obsessed with, quite simply, the demon: he’s not waiting around for another attack, he’s actively hunting it this time, stalking it with a single-minded passion that threatens almost everyone in town. The demon is stalking something as well, but I won’t tell you what. It was fascinating to delve into the mind of a stalker for this book, seeing the way their whole lives become wrapped around that one thing, that one person, that one ideal that they can’t get out of their heads. I Don’t Want to Kill You is the wildest book in the series: it has the happiest moments and the darkest tragedies, it has the deadliest threats and the direst consequences, and in the end it has the biggest question.
How far will John go to get what he wants?
I have FIVE (5) lovely UK copies of ‘I Don’t Want To Kill You‘ for FIVE (5) lucky winners courtesy of Headline!
All you have to do to enter is the following:
1. Leave a comment for Dan
2. Read Book Chick City’s giveaway policy
3. Fill out this form
4. Only one entry per person
This giveaway is INTERNATIONAL and ends Sat 22nd Jan!