John Wayne Cleaver (named for the actor) is obsessed with serial killers. When assigned a paper on a great American, he wrote his paper on the BTK Killer while his classmates wrote about Teddy Roosevelt and George Washington. Yet while he knows more about serial killers than almost anyone, he is afraid of becoming one.
Having been diagnosed as a sociopath, he knows he has the potential to become a serial killer, so he has developed some very strict rules for himself, including complimenting a person immediately after thinking something bad about them. And then a serial killer starts terrorizing his hometown. He tries to figure out what makes the killer tick, and when he discovers who the killer is, does everything in his power to try and stop the killer from killing again, even if that means unleashing the "monster" inside him.
This book hooked me at the start. John is tremendously self-aware for someone so young, and his ability to control a growing power inside of him was really gripping. Unfortunately, the book took a very sharp turn with the reveal of the killeralmost a genre-switcherso while I was captivated by John's story and raced through the book to see what happened, I was very irritated by the turn of events. As I understand it, this is the first book in a trilogy, so I'll keep my fingers crossed that John's next story stays a little truer to what it could be. Really interesting stuff, though.