Terrifying Fun: “I Don’t Want to Kill You” by Dan Wells

The final book in Dan Wells’ young adult horror trilogy is now available. Long review short, it’s fantastic, and worth owning.

The first book in the series is “I Am Not a Serial Killer,” which introduces us to reluctant sociopath John Cleaver, a teenager obsessed with serial killers – because he doesn’t want to become one. When grisly murders start happening in his own small town, he’s intrigued; he’s also the only one who understands the mind of a murderer, and takes it upon himself to put an end to the killings.

Did I mention that this particular serial killer is a demon? Oh, yeah. We learn that at the start, but John doesn’t know what he’s up against until–

I’ll stop giving you the synopsis. The series is fantastic, and each book tops the one before.

The morals are what stand out for me – you  hear “grisly murders” and you think “R-rated slasher film”, but that’s not what Dan delivers; instead, we see a teen so focused on being good, on not succumbing to his dark inner cravings, that he has locked himself into a set of very strict rules.

You simultaneously root for John, and worry for the girls who are interested in him. And the nature and powers of what John fights is unique, terrifying, and fantastic fun. Remember how Buffy the Vampire Slayer always seemed to have the upper hand against those poor vampires? Such is not the case here. John is fighting the supernatural with no superpowers of his own, which makes it all the more frightening.

The best part is that the trilogy is now finished, so you won’t have to wait for the next one to come out. That’s not to say that he doesn’t leave you wishing for more – because, oh man, I want more – but it wraps up this series of adventures nicely.