The title of this novel could be the official defense cry from all of us afflicted with love for the horror genre. How often do people look upon as as some sort of dangerous deviants?

But John Wayne Cleaver, the youthful protagonist of I AM NOT A SERIAL KILLER, has real problems. He knows that he has all the warning signs of a potential killer. And not only does he know it, everyone in the small town he resides in knows it, too. Even his very name brings the grisly subject up.

It doesn't help that young Cleaver helps out his Mom, who works as a mortician. She's aware that it isn't good for the lad, but darn it, times are hard, and her husband is long gone. Besides, the boy is good at it. Maybe a little too good. It seems that he has an unhealthy affinity for the job.

John Cleaver is a sharp kid, and none of this escapes him. He knows that he could easily become a killer, so he sets up a series of rules for himself to follow. Rules to keep him on the straight and narrow and away from his fascination for murder and dead bodies.

Things get even more complicated when people start turning up dead. Not just dead, but brutally slaughtered. And the killer is taking samples of his (or her) victims.

The natural suspect is the town weirdo, John Wayne Cleaver. But he isn't the guilty party. John's astute knowledge of serial killing comes to use as he tries to determine who is murdering the citizens of Clayton County. The truth, however, is far stranger than John, or anyone else, imagines.

I AM NOT A SERIAL KILLER took me places that I didn't expect it to, and there are some nice surprises in the book. Don't read Amazon user 'reviews', as some of them give away major spoilers.

Once again I turned away from the small press for my reading choice, and I was amply rewarded. I normally trust blurbs about as much as I trust the promises of politicians, but when I saw one from F. Paul Wilson for I AM NOT A SERIAL KILLER, I took it to heart. Paul is one of the few I trust in this regard.

I AM NOT A SERIAL KILLER is the first in a trilogy of novels featuring John Wayne Cleaver. The other two books are called Mr. Monster, and I Don't Want To Kill You. If these are even half as good as the first one, I'm in for some wonderful reading in my near future.

Highly recommended, except for those who might be squeamish about descriptions of autopsies.

Review by Mark Sieber

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