John Wayne Cleaver is the main protagonist of the Dan Wells' John Wayne Cleaver Series.

He is portrayed by Max Records in the 2016 film adaptation.


John was born sometime in May 15 years prior to the events of the series. Despite John frequently associating his name with infamous serial killers, such as John Wayne Gacy, the truth is that his parents named him after John Wayne, the famous actor.

He is officially diagnosed with a "Conduct Disorder" because of his young age. But his therapist tells his mother that John qualifies, despite his age, for an Antisocial Personality Disorder (ASPD) diagnosis, in other words, sociopathy.

I Am Not A Serial KillerEdit

John was 16 years old in the events of I Am Not A Serial Killer. He helps in his family's mortuary, which is run by his mother and sister, has an obsession with serial killers and Brooke Watson, a beautiful girl who lives next door. He really wants to be a good person,so he has a rule system designed to copy "normal" behavior, to suppress his dark side and keep people around him safe. He created some newer ones when they are seen. But over time he had to adapt them, for example, when puberty hit, it is a rule book of not looking at girls' chests.

When the demon next door (no, not the pretty girl) starts killing people in the town one by one, John allows this darker side out in order to save them. He struggles both to understand the demon and with his own nature. His fear is that he may never regain the control he once had over his darker side. John makes a final stand against the demon and something that he is scared may be even more monstrous than the demon - himself.

Mr. Monster Edit

Mr. Monster starts a few months after the events of I Am Not A Serial Killer and John is moving on, he's shared his rules with his mother, has a learner's permit and is driving Brooke Watson (the pretty girl next door) to and from school every day, they even try going out in a few dates. He's also friends with Max Bowen again. But dead bodies start appearing again, this time of young women. He discovers that they had been tortured and that none of them are from the town nor even the same state.

I Don't Want To Kill YouEdit

John is hunting again, but this time, it is different. He himself called a demon at the end of the previous book. Telling her to come before he finds her. In other words, she knows someone is looking for her, she is prepared. Additionally, there has been a strike of suicides of young high school girls and a new serial killer appears, one that kills "prominent" figures of the town.

Next of KinEdit

Overlapping with the events depicted in The Devi's Only Friend, this novella introduce a new character, a Withered called Elijah Sexton, the one who remembers. He leads a "normal" life, working a night shift at a mortuary and avoiding people during the day. He drains the memories of the recently dead and up until now he has avoided people of the lives he remembers. But after the last memories drain, he can't help but look for "his" wife.

The Devil's Only FriendEdit

The story begins exactly a year after the events of I Don't Want to Kill You. Now John is part of an FBI team in charge of identifying and eradicate demons, aka Withered. The team has been successful until know, traveling all around the country and killing as quietly as possible. But now the "demons" have noticed something is going on, and they are grouping together. They never expected to find three whithered in the same town nor four more appearing out of nowhere. One of them being the one referred as "The King" of the Withered, Rack.

Over Your Dead Body Edit

John and Brooke are on their own, hitchhiking from town to town as they hunt the last of the Withered through the midwest— but the Withered are hunting them back, and the FBI is close behind. With each new town, each new truck stop, each new highway, they get closer to a vicious killer who defies every principle of profiling and prediction John knows how to use, and meanwhile Brooke’s fractured psyche teeters on the edge of oblivion, overwhelmed by the hundreds of thousands of dead personalities sharing her mind. She flips in and out of lucidity, manifesting new names and thoughts and memories every day, until at last the one personality pops up that John never expected and has no idea how to deal with. The last of Nobody’s victims, trapped forever in the body of his last remaining friend.

Nothing Left to Lose Edit

John is alone again, going from town to town hunting the last of the Withered. He arrives at a town where someone died in an unexplanable way, drown in the middle of the desert. What John doesn't know is that he is about to find the last withered.

Killed VictimsEdit