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Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Review: Dexter by Design by Jeff Lindsay

Dexter Morgan is back. After a picture book honeymoon in Paris, Dexter is back in Miami, and darned happy to be home. Blood spatter analyst for the Miami P.D. by day, sociopath serial killer (with a strict adherence to the rules and something almost resembling a conscience) by night, Dexter returns to work on the day that artfully posed corpses are found on a local beach. More bodies follow, along with quirky tourist bureau type video, all of which send ripples of panic through the tourist industry. Dearest Dexter and his “Dark Passenger” find their interest piqued, as Dexter’s sister, Debs, along with the entire Miami P.D. realizes there is another killer on the loose.

I dearly love Dexter. Oh, stop squirming; I know he’s a crazy, sociopathic serial killer. But he’s Dexter! And he really tries to follow the rules. And really, isn’t it just wonderful that he tries so hard? Here’s how Dexter explains it, in this exchange between Dexter and his sister Debs, who discovered his secret recently. You know..Debs…the cop…yeah, that complicates things a might bit.

(Quote taken from an uncorrected proof, and not checked against the finished copy)

I am as familiar with New Age philosophy and Dr. Phil as the next guy, but there comes a point where reality absolutely has to intrude, and it seemed to me that we had reached it. “All right Debs,” I said. “And what would you have done if you knew who I really was?”
“I don’t know,” she said. “I still don’t know.”
“Well then,” I said.
“But I ought to do something.”
“Why?”
“Because you killed people, goddamn it!” She said.
I shrugged. “I can’t help it,” I said. “And they all really deserved it.”

That clears it up for all you squeamish types. Right? And they do, really deserve it, that is.

I’m a fan of Jeff Lindsay's Dexter books, but I’ve only seen a couple of the episodes on TV, at the beginning of the series. I don’t know why I never watched them again, the few I saw were pretty good, I just never got around to it. So I can’t say how the series compares to the show. I had a lot of misgivings about this particular book before I read it. I thought that there was a good chance the author, having found success in Hollywood would have begun to write screenplays instead of books. And when that happens, it seems like the books really suffer. No worries here though, this addition to the series is very good.

I really enjoy how Dexter seems more real in his “human disguise” than ever before, and we are often left to wonder, “Is Dexter still the complete monster he thinks he is?” Feelings of loyalty and even affection seem to pop up, which bemuses Dexter often as emotions he doesn’t recognize. His humor is as intact as ever and although some readers might find the frequent self-directed witticisms a bit much, I thought they added to the book. Although I did get some odd glances while sitting in my dentist's waiting room, reading a book with blood splattered cover art, and snickering out loud.

Dexter by Design is a funny, black-humored book, with some gruesome stuff thrown in. But, it's Dexter for heaven's sake, of course there has to be some "ewwww" in there somewhere. Once you get past the whole "serial killer as the hero of the story" part, the whole series is a lot of fun to read. But Dexter by Design stands out as the best so far.

Dexter by Design goes on sale today, Sept. 8th.

My rating:

4 comments:

Wrighty said...

I like Dexter too! Like he said, they really deserve it! I'm behind in this series, I need to catch up!

bermudaonion said...

I've heard of the TV series, but didn't know it was based on books. This sounds like a series I need to try.

Froggy said...

dexter rocks..I love the show...I didn't know till recently there were books! I need to get one and try it to compare but really...watching Dexter is half the fun! ;)

Jessica said...

I was a mad crazy fan before the whole tv series and everyone suddenly loved Dexter. I am so thrilled about the new book. Requested from the library and really looking forward to reading it. I'm also glad it's better then the third one (as I've heard) which compared to the first and second was just a blip on the screen by comparison.