Mr. Monster is a supernatural horror story by Dan Wells. It is the second book in the John Cleaver series with book one being, I Am Not a Serial Killer.
I was a little concerned about where the story was going to go after the conclusion of I Am Not a Serial Killer. The original book existed comfortably as a standalone novel. Any continuation of the story would have to jump deeper into the supernatural elements and I was curious about how Wells planned to flesh out the characters and the monsters of his world.
Mr. Monster is a young adult, supernatural horror novel. Although, despite the YA label, it manages to throw in a lot more horror than you would expect. It takes place immediately after the first book ends. I would suggest you read the first book before this one. Mr. Monster alludes to the first book a bit and some of the plot hinges on actions taken in I Am Not a Serial Killer.
I was afraid the main character, John Cleaver, would delve further into what I think of as his Dexter Jr persona. In fact, despite the supernatural aspects, this series so far is a sort of Dexter lite. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but just as the last book, I find that I am not much a fan of the main character. I do not care for him, whereas I love the character of Dexter. Despite the horrible situations he finds himself in, I never actually fear for him.
Mr. Monster is about a 16-year-old boy named John Cleaver, who also happens to be a diagnosed sociopath. Previously, a serial killer showed up in his town, upsetting the balance of mundane world. Now, after the drama of the first incident, it is happening all over again. John must try to cope with the façade of being a normal teen as the monster within him yearns to be free. That monster has a name. Taken from the infamous Son of Sam, its name is Mr. Monster.
Of course, there is much more to it. Mr. Monster focuses more on John’s teenage social issues than the last book, which I liked. Unfortunately, because of this, it takes longer to get into the meat of the plot. Also because of this, the book comes in about 30 pages longer than the previous one.
It’s still a quick read though, which is good. The main antagonist is not as interesting as the bad guy from the first novel is. In fact, you will probably be able to guess who he is long before he reveals himself and you will probably find some disappointment with his immediate personality change after he does. An interesting side note, the main villain’s character echoes that of real life killer Gary M. Heidnik, a murderer, kidnapper, rapist and torturer.
As I stated earlier, I am still not a fan of the main character. However, I am a fan of the story itself, and like others, I just have to know what happens next. So, I will be reading book three, I Don’t Want to Kill You. Dan Wells is still a new author so I am not expecting any miracles out of this series. All I want is a quick and entertaining read, and so far, he has provided just that.
You can read my look at the first book here: “A Look at I Am Not a Serial Killer, a Young Adult, Supernatural Horror Novel by Dan Wells“
Read my review of the trilogy as a whole here: