I Don’t Want to Kill You is the third book in Dan Wells’ Supernatural Horror/Thriller John Cleaver series.
“John Wayne Cleaver has called a demon—literally called it on the phone—and challenged it to a fight.”
I Don’t Want to Kill You is the third and final book of Dan Wells’ John Cleaver trilogy. It is a supernatural horror novel with a YA label. It looks like Mr. Wells saved the best for last. I find book three is a better-written story with better characterization. In fact, it seems as if characters that just sort of existed in the first two books, finally got personalities, including the main character. If you read my last two reviews, you would know that I have had a problem with the main character’s woodenness for the last two books.
Much like the last book, this book starts after the events of the previous installment. In this book, John Cleaver finds himself up against another killer on the loose. Not only is there a murderer once again among the populace of his small town, but now there is also a rash of suicides. John must figure out how the two relate while juggling his new-found social life. If you have read the first two, then you know that John with a social life is something of a big deal.
There is much personal growth to the main character in this one. He is still the angsty, misunderstood youth from the first two books, but this time around, he is actually learning as he goes, and finding out new things about himself. After all, he just recently bested two supernatural killers so his confidence level is through the roof. He also seems to have much less of a struggle in this book with his “Mr. Monster.” This is a welcome change for me. He doesn’t spend the book focusing on how different he is.
At the end of the previous novel, he sent out an invitation to another supernatural beastie and so there is no surprise when one comes to his town. However, once the killings begin, John realizes that not only does he have no idea who the killer could be, but there may also be more than one of them.
One small peeve I had with this book was the character of the pastor. The author builds him up and then just…lets him go later on in the book. It is only a small peeve, amongst a few others, but they are not worth mentioning here. They do not make the story any less good.
Just as book two was slightly longer than book one, book three is slightly longer than book two. The extra length does not make this book any less of a quick read than the previous ones. Dan Wells managed to pack in a lot of action, a few twists, much character building and it all still flows quickly and evenly.
When the book is over, you may find yourself upset there isn’t another to read right afterwards. Wells manages to resolve the major plot threads but still leave a lot open to future expansion.
Read my review of the trilogy as a whole here: