Second book in the "John Cleaver" trilogy by Dan Wells
, following I Am Not a Serial Killer
and followed by I Don't Want to Kill You
John Wayne Cleaver has always known he has a dark side
, but he’s fought hard to repress it and live a normal life — separating John from Mr. Monster to survive. But after unleashing his dark side
and destroying the vicious killer that was terrorizing his town, John's inner monster is getting stronger and harder to contain.
And now more bodies are being discovered...
As the police fail to catch Clayton County’s second serial killer, John is going to have to use his secret knowledge of the first demon-killer to trap the second... but will he be able to avoid suspicion falling on him, and, in the face of extreme horrors, will he be able to restrain Mr. Monster?
This book has examples of:
- Aesop Amnesia - The school bully Rob Anders humiliated John one time too many in the previous book and was threatened with evisceration, which thoroughly freaked him out. Wisely, he didn't mess with John for the rest of the novel, but by the start of Mr Monster, Rob is back to his old jerkish ways. Seeing as John told Rob about his clinical sociopathy while threatening him, this crosses into Bullying a Dragon territory.
- Ancient Conspiracy - Because just calling them demons is boring.
- Bilingual Bonus - The name Foreman gives for Crowley is Makai, Japanese for "demon world".
- Bound and Gagged
- Boy Meets Girl - John and Brooke.
- A Chat with Satan - John and the demon.
- Character Development: John and his sociopathy both grow considerably in this book; "Mr. Monster" never gets as close to pushing John into becoming a killer than he does here, but John's confrontation with a Shadow Archetype allows his Heroic Willpower to completely conquer his dark side.
- Cliff Hanger - The book ends with John phoning up a demon and telling her to come get him before he gets her.
- Drunk on the Dark Side - John uses this as a Batman Gambit against the demon, who can sense whatever he feels. He's just barely able to put it aside, and it still ruins one of his relationships.
- Easter Egg: John is studying Beowulf in English class. Much like how Grendel's mother stalks Beowulf after he kills Grendel, Foreman is stalking John for killing Makai.
- Electric Torture - There's a scene in the book devoted almost entirely to this.
- Emotion Eater - The demon has this power.
- Heroic Willpower - John is a sociopath, but he's also the protagonist. How? A whole lotta this trope.
- Humanoid Abomination: The Demon.
- I Did What I Had to Do - A big focus of this book is the fallout for John's psyche after he did what he had to do in the first book.
- I Have Your Wife - See also tropes such as An Offer You Can't Refuse or Interrogation by Vandalism.
- Kick the Dog - Or, rather, set fire to a cat
- Pyromaniac - John goes out and sets fires in order to let off steam when he's feeling pressure.
- Reluctant Psycho - John keeps himself 'normal' by not crossing certain lines. But sometimes you have to cross one of them in order to not cross another...
- Ship Tease - John and Brooke's dates never end well.
- Shut Up, Hannibal!
- The Power of Love - John gives the demon a speech on this near the end, which is odd, coming from him. Although it was a ploy.
- They Look Like Us Now
- This Is Your Brain on Evil - John's entire struggle in life is with this darned trope.
- The demon in this story, too. Only this one has given up struggling and is enjoying every minute of it. Given how psychological the book is, the parallels shouldn't be surprising.
- Too Clever by Half - John knows things about serial killers that even Detective Foreman doesn't know. Which becomes a liability when said detective uses that very knowledge against him...
- What You Are in the Dark: The demon repeatedly confronts John with this situation and John even lampshades it, pointing out that he's almost certainly going to die soon anyway so he might as well live out his sick fantasies. John always manages to pull himself together however, more out of a desire to stick it to the demon than any of his own moral qualms.
- Unspoken Plan Guarantee: Inverted. John explains pretty much exactly what his plan is to kill Forman with the electrified knife. The plan goes off almost without a hitch and the only significant unforeseen event actually makes the plan easier to pull off.