The Devil’s Only Friend, by Dan Wells, is the latest novel in Wells’s series about John Wayne Cleaver—a sociopath who is trying very hard not to become a serial killer. This is the fourth book in the series. Over the course of the previous three books, Cleaver has learned about the existence of the Withered and worked with the FBI to find and kill them.
The Withered are creatures that kill to survive; they have been alive for centuries. Cleaver and his band of FBI agents and experts have only been after them for a few years but it appears that the formerly solitary Withered are starting to band together against the hunters. The Devil’s Only Friend is written in a series of showdowns with Withered and brainstorming sessions in which Cleaver et al. try to figure out their next moves.
What made The Devil’s Only Friend interesting to me was Cleaver and his “rules.” Cleaver is not only a sociopath—he knows what he is. His rules keep him from hurting people. When he feels frustrated or angry, he needs a little alone time to light fires. He doesn’t even eat meat because he can’t keep anything like a weapon around. He’s clear that his diagnosis means that he doesn’t feel empathy; he feels the other emotions. And yet, Cleaver kills the Withered presumably to protect ordinary people. Cleaver isn’t the only serial killer to narrate his own series, but I didn’t feel as repelled by him as I was when I read Jeff Lindsay’s Darkly Dreaming Dexter.
I received a free copy of this ebook from NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review. It will be released 16 July 2015.