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The Devil’s Only Friend (John Cleaver)

The Devil's Only Friend Book Cover The Devil's Only Friend
John Cleaver, Book 4
Dan Wells
Tor Books

John Wayne Cleaver hunts demons: they've killed his neighbors, his family, and the girl he loves, but in the end he's always won. Now he works for a secret government kill team, using his gift to hunt and kill as many monsters as he can . . . . . . but the monsters have noticed, and the quiet game of cat and mouse is about to erupt into a full scale supernatural war. John doesn't want the life he's stuck with. He doesn't want the FBI bossing him around, he doesn't want his only friend imprisoned in a mental ward, and he doesn't want to face the terrifying cannibal who calls himself The Hunter. John doesn't want to kill people. But as the song says, you can't always get what you want. John has learned that the hard way; his clothes have the stains to prove it. When John again faces evil, he'll know what he has to do. The Devil's Only Friend is the first book in a brand-new John Wayne Cleaver trilogy by New York Times bestselling author Dan Wells.



John Wayne Cleaver is back in “The Devil’s Only Friend”, the first in somewhat of a sub-trilogy within the already established John Cleaver series by Dan Wells.

I’ll start off by saying that the entire John Cleaver series, though popular, is extremely underrated.  I also think it’s unfairly compared to Dexter.  Granted, Dexter is a wonderful series and he is a great character, but John Cleaver stands on his own as a psychopathic anti-hero.  He doesn’t need anyone’s help to establish exactly who and what he is.  And yes, I realize I am writing this like he is an actual person, but that is a true testament to how developed he is as a character.  Mr. Wells has made him feel like a living, breathing person who may or may not want to kill you, but will most likely not.  He’ll just make an intricate plan to do so in case he ever changes his mind.

“The Devil’s Only Friend” is the best of the series yet, and while I would encourage everyone to read the first three, if you feel like jumping in here the backstory is explained in enough detail to keep you from being confused, while also avoiding a dry rundown that will leave previous fans bored and waiting for the plot to get going.  Which is great, because the plot is nothing short of amazing.  Every single clue adds up to the ultimate conclusion, but I had about ten different theories on how it would go and still managed to be taken by surprise.  This is a mystery written by a master.  I wish I could go into more of the plot but almost anything I say besides it is blow-your-mind-good will lead to some sort of spoiler.

I feel the need to add this:  For some reason unknown to me, many bookstores and libraries insist on shelving this entire series under “Young Adult”.  Now, I’m not saying this cannot be read and appreciated by the older young adult set, but I’m also fairly certain that you will traumatize quite a few of them if you hand them a John Cleaver book thinking it’s “Dexter for Kids”.  This is NOT a young adult book.  This is a book for serious mystery and thriller fans who do not mind a lot of gore, horror, and psychotic thoughts.

In short:  Great main character, excellent plot, not for the squeamish, everyone else should read all of the John Cleaver series.  Of course, this is a review for “The Devil’s Only Friend”, so be sure to read that one, as well.

Five enthusiastic (albeit bloody) stars.

This review is based upon a complimentary copy provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.


Content Warning:

This is an adult book about a teenaged psychopath.  That should be all the warning necessary.