15 year old John Wayne Cleaver feels he is predestined to become a serial killer. His parents named him John Wayne after the iconic actor, but he sees it as being named after John Wayne Gacy. His last name, Cleaver, is a murder weapon. And his father's name is Sam, making him, the Son of Sam. Then their is his obsession with serial killers. It doesn't help matters that his mom and sister run a funeral home, where he gets to help prepare bodies for their final resting place, embalming, etc. His mother is worried about his preoccupation with serial killers, especially after for a school project, he does an in depth report on Jeffrey Dahmer so disturbing his teacher calls his mom and it puts him in therapy, where he is diagnosed as being a sociopath, unable to feel empathy. Then his dream comes true, a serial killer starts to stalk the residents of his small town. He tries to keep himself under control, but he sees patterns the police and FBI don't and unravels the mystery of who is committing these violent acts. But in that knowledge comes the problem of deciding what to do about it. He has watched this person kill 4 people without trying to stop it. He can't talk to his family, and the authorities won't believe him if he did tell them. All the while The Monster inside him that he has kept locked up for a long time by following strict set of rules he set for himself is begging to be let out finally. All of this culminates into an outstanding debut, and the first in a trilogy of books that will leave you begging for more.
I have been in a major book funk, and this has to be one the most incredible stories I have ever read. As disturbing and creepy as John Wayne is, you can't help but root for him, to stop the murders and to save himself. Fast paced plot that reveals the murderer early on in the book, but that just adds to the grab you by the throat tension of it. I cannot wait for the other books to come out to see what happens. Strong character study, beautifully written, and grabs you from the beginning and doesn't let go until the final breathless page.