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Dan Wells

Dan Wells(1977- )
Dan Wells is an American horror fiction author. A Utah native, he currently resides in Orem, Utah. He is a graduate of Brigham Young University, with a bachelor degree in English with a writing and editing emphasis. He is the author of I Am Not A Serial Killer, a horror novel published in the United States by Tor Books. It has been released in the United Kingdom and will soon be published in Germany and Taiwan.

Click here for more stories by Dan Wells.

John Cleaver

John Cleaver — (2009-2015) Publisher: John Wayne Cleaver is dangerous, and he knows it. Obsessed with serial killers, he never wants to be one. Yet terrible impulses constantly tempt him. Having grown up helping his mom at the family mortuary, dead bodies are no big deal to John. He likes them, actually. They don’t ask for the empathy he’s unable to offer. Perhaps that’s what gives him the clarity to recognize that something is frighteningly different about the freshest body on the slab. For the first time, John must confront a danger outside his own mind, a threat he cannot control, a menace to everything and everyone he would love, if only he could. Dan Wells’s debut will keep you awake and then haunt your dreams.

Dan Wells John Cleaver 1. I Am Not a Serial Killer 2. Mr. Monster 3. I Don't Want to Kill You Dan Wells John Cleaver 1. I Am Not a Serial Killer 2. Mr. Monster 3. I Don't Want to Kill You Dan Wells John Cleaver 1. I Am Not a Serial Killer 2. Mr. Monster 3. I Don't Want to Kill You fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviewsfantasy book reviews science fiction book reviewsfantasy book reviews science fiction book reviews

I Am Not A Serial Killer: This one sticks with you

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I Am Not A Serial Killer by Dan Wells

First novels by new authors are like surprise packages that come in the mail: you don’t know what you’ll find inside, not really, even if there was advance hype. Sometimes you find something so unappealing you wonder that anyone could have thought it was for you. Other times you get a teenaged sociopath who’s fighting hard not to become a serial killer despite his deep-seated wish to create dead bodies, and then you know you’ve got Dan Wells’s I Am Not A Serial Killer.

This funny, sad, scary novel stars John Wayne Cleaver, who notes himself that his name seems to be made for a serial killer: John Wayne, the first two names of John Wayne Gacy, who raped and killed at least 33 young men and boys in Chicago during the 1970s, and cleaver, a potential murder weapon. Never mind that he was actua... Read More

Mr. Monster: Cleaver is a hero unlike any other

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Mr. Monster by Dan Wells

John Wayne Cleaver’s journey started in I Am Not a Serial Killer, but his problems get more severe in the second book in Dan Wells’s trilogy, Mr. Monster. The teenage sociopath is very determined not to become the serial killer he longs to be in his heart of hearts, but it’s a challenge. His dark side — Mr. Monster, he calls it — wants out, and it especially wants to kill Brooke, the beautiful girl he drives to school every day. John dreams about Brook... Read More

I Don’t Want to Kill You: Wells has created a fascinating character

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I Don’t Want to Kill You by Dan Wells

I Don’t Want to Kill You is the final book in Dan Wells’s JOHN CLEAVER trilogy. It’s a powerful conclusion, sad, brutal, humorous and loving all at the same time. Wells has done a fine job of writing three books that can stand each stand on their own, but which together make a powerful coming-of-age story.

John Cleaver is 16 or 17, and in some ways a typical teenager; he eats huge bowls of cereal, goes to high school, argues with his mother. But John is a sociopath, and he wants very much to be a serial killer. It’s an urge he fights as hard as he can, and so far, at least, he’s not killed anyone human. But he has killed a few demons. At the end of the second book in the trilogy, Mr. Monster (reviewed here), John challenged a d... Read More

Next of Kin: A surprisingly gentle tale

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Next of Kin by Dan Wells

“I died again last night.” It’s a compelling first sentence to a novella told from the point of view of Elijah Sexton, a demon, and it promises a different and exciting new start to Dan Wells’s JOHN CLEAVER series.

Sexton drinks memories. For a time, he killed people himself, “topping off” his memory as he pleases. Soon, though, imbued with a hundred thousand lives, he could no longer bear to kill. Instead, he works in a morgue and drinks the memories of the newly dead. He lives

from death to death, sometimes two weeks, sometimes three, holding on as long as I can while my brain slips away like sand in an hourglass, grain by grain, loose and crumbling, until I can barely remember my own name and I have to find another. I drink their minds like a trembling addict, desperate and ash...

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The Devil’s Only Friend: Triumphal and bleak

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The Devil’s Only Friend by Dan Wells

This review contains spoilers for the first JOHN WAYNE CLEAVER trilogy.

John Wayne Cleaver is a seventeen-year-old boy who wants very, very much to kill people. Lots of them, one right after the other, in terrible, bloody ways. Paradoxically, because he longs to do that, he has been taking extraordinary lengths to avoid becoming a serial killer. His struggles were related in a trilogy consisting of I Am Not A Serial Killer (reviewed here), Mr. Monster (reviewed here), and I Don’t Want to Kill You (reviewed here). That tri... Read More

The Hollow City: Complex, but still accessible

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The Hollow City by Dan Wells

Love it or hate it, The Hollow City is a fast, whirlwind read that will completely devour your time.

Having not read any other of Wells’ books, I can’t say if having an untraditional lead character is normal for him, but following a protagonist who has been diagnosed as paranoid schizophrenic is not normal for me. This divergence from the norm was incredibly welcome. Michael’s diagnosis brings another level of depth and confusion to the plot and helps push The Hollow City from interesting to fascinating as Wells seamlessly blends fantasy (Michael’s hallucinations) with reality. For much of the book, readers are left to puzzle out what is happening due to Michael’s illness, and what is happening because it’s actually happening.

Usually, when authors write a book where the line betw... Read More

More speculative fiction from Dan Wells

Partials — (2012-2014) Young adult. Publisher: The human race is all but extinct after a war with Partials — engineered organic beings identical to humans — has decimated the population. Reduced to only tens of thousands by RM, a weaponized virus to which only a fraction of humanity is immune, the survivors in North America have huddled together on Long Island while the Partials have mysteriously retreated. The threat of the Partials is still imminent, but, worse, no baby has been born immune to RM in more than a decade. Our time is running out. Kira, a sixteen-year-old medic-in-training, is on the front lines of this battle, seeing RM ravage the community while mandatory pregnancy laws have pushed what’s left of humanity to the brink of civil war, and she’s not content to stand by and watch. But as she makes a desperate decision to save the last of her race, she will find that the survival of humans and Partials alike rests in her attempts to uncover the connections between them — connections that humanity has forgotten, or perhaps never even knew were there. Dan Wells, acclaimed author of I Am Not a Serial Killer, takes readers on a pulsepounding journey into a world where the very concept of what it means to be human is in question — one where our humanity is both our greatest liability and our only hope for survival.

Dan Wells Partials, Fragments, IsolationDan Wells Partials, Fragments, IsolationDan Wells Partials, Fragments, IsolationDan Wells Ruins

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Terry chats with Dan Wells

This week Dan Wells, author of The Devil's Only Friend, the first novel in the second JOHN CLEAVER trilogy, stops by to answer some questions about demons, mortuary science, and writing for young adults — or, as he calls it, writing. It’s a terrific book (as were all three entries in the first trilogy, here are my reviews), and Dan has some interesting things to say about it. We’ll be giving away a copy of The Devil's Only Friend to one random commenter with a U.S. address.

Terry Weyna: What persuaded you to return to John Wayne Cleaver’s story of demon-hunting now, several years after you completed the first trilogy about Cleaver, written The Hollow City, and completed t... Read More