Sunday, December 11, 2005

Book Reviews--Dearly Devoted Dexter
Dearly Devoted Dexter
Jeff Lindsay
2005, Doubleday

Dexter Morgan, the serial killer who only takes out the trash, is back in a novel that picks up where Darkly Dreaming Dexter ended. In that first novel we learned how Dexter’s foster father saw early what the boy was and channeled his social quirks into a more acceptable outlet. Oh, Dexter still likes to torture people to death–that will never change–but thanks to his cop dad Dexter has a mission–to only use his talents on really, really bad people. Specifically, other serial killers.

Dexter works for the Miami PD as a blood spatter specialist and he cheerfully goes through his life, as he puts it, pretending to be human and letting his dark friend come out to play every now and then. Dexter’s sister is a Miami cop and while she has a pretty good idea what he’s up to, she leaves him alone to do his thing.

The problem is, Dexter’s doing a little too good a job of passing for human. So much so that the woman who provides him with some protective coloration while they’re dating begins to think there’s more to Dexter than he lets on–like a conscience, feelings and social skills–and somehow he finds himself getting more and more involved with people, which cramps his style when dealing with the monsters.

But he persists, and in Dearly Devoted, Dexter has a new challenge, a South American death squad specialist hunting down his former compadres, the ones who turned him over to the enemy. Not surprisingly, many of these former colleagues are US government operatives, and some have even joined the Miami PD. So Dexter becomes involved with the hunt for “The Doctor”, whom Dexter admires for his splendid work, while at the same time Dexter tries to throw off a suspicious cop who’s following him everywhere, severely cramping Dexter’s style and keeping his dark friend from coming out to play. And if Dexter’s dark longings aren’t let out every now and then, bad things can happen.

Dearly Devoted Dexter is a quirky novel about a charming serial killer, and clearly isn’t for everyone. I’d read a novel with a similar premise recently, and I realized part of what I liked better about the Dexter novels was how hard Dexter works to live up to the twisted mission passed on to him by his dad. In the other “funny serial killer” book the killings were much more random. Dexter has style. He wears cool Hawaiian shirts. He knows what he is and tries to work with the material he’s given. After all, if he’s born to greatness, he’s going to make the most of it.


Shesawriter said...

You actually make me want to read this, and it's not really the sort of book I normally purchase. Thanks for the recommend.


Darlene Marshall said...

That's part of the fun of the Dexter books. You're squiming while you're reading this, asking yourself how you can be cheering on a killer. It really shows the author's skill. Anyone can write a villain. It takes real talent to make the reader identify with an anti-hero.

Shesawriter said...

See, I'm an anti-hero fan as well. I gobble up Anne Stuart's books like candy. Most, if not all of her heroes are nutcases to begin with, which makes me love them all the more. But that's just me. (g)

Maybe this one will be a good fit too. :-)