Saturday, March 19, 2011

Mr. Monster by Dan Wells

Recently I finished Mr. Monster, Dan's sequel to his 2009 hit I Am Not a Serial Killer. Just for the record, I am not normally a fan of horror novels. The main reason why I read the first book was because it was a Whitney Award nominee. Mr. Monster is also a nominee for this year, but I actually wanted to read this one because of how good IANASK was.

Dan didn't disappoint. At first, I'll admit to a little disappointment because I wanted to get right into the demon slaying side of things. That didn't happen for a while. Instead, we got John Wayne Cleaver's struggle with the wannabe serial killer half of his psyche that he calls "Mr. Monster". And then I realized the name of the book and began to enjoy that the protagonist and the antagonist, for the first half, were the same person. Don't worry, though, a demon still shows up toward the end, allowing for John to reach into his dark side once again to defeat it.

I began to ponder John's "list" that he uses to keep Mr. Monster under control. Here are some of the things on his list:

I will not hurt animals.
I will not burn things.

When I think bad thoughts about someone, I will push the thoughts away and say something nice about that person.
I will not call people 'it'.
If people threaten me, I will leave the situation.

Okay, I don't have any temptations to be a serial killer (I hope), but how many of us have a darker side fighting to get out? Don't we all have a weakness that can take us down a dark path? We can learn something from John Cleaver. Perhaps we all need to make a list specific to our own faults. For instance, if we feel temptations to steal Hostess Ding Dongs, we should make a personal rule to stay far away from places that put out tempting displays of them and not to call them "my precious" (okay, sorry, that's a long story).

Back to the book. Once again, I was sucked into it and found it hard to put down. I did like the first book a little better but not by much. I now am anxiously waiting for a chance to get my hands on the third book of the series: I Don't Want to Kill You. I heard him read the first couple of chapters at Life, the Universe, and Everything in February and it sounds fantastic.

Warning: there is violence, some disturbing mental images, and mild swearing, so this is not a book for those who don't care for that sort of stuff.

Of course, now I need to figure out the name of my inner demon. I can't decide if he's Mr. Munster or Mr. Addams (du-du-du-dut. snap snap).

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