Dexter is Delicious
Jeff Lindsay is back, with his totally unique creation, Dexter Morgan. Mr. Lindsay’s trademark alliteration is firmly in place, e.g., on the second page of the novel, Dexter references his Dark Dabbler, Dexter Dead for Decades, and Dexter the Decidedly Dreadful. [Although the tale is told in the first person, the protagonist routinely refers to himself in the third person.] But in this, the fifth novel in the series, it seems that these references might belong to an earlier Dexter, since now, at first blush at least, he appears to be a changed man, with a new appellation, Dex-Daddy, courtesy of the gorgeous, perfect baby girl to whom his wife has just given birth, to wit: Lily Anne; he now sees himself as “something that almost feels, that so very nearly resembles a human being.” And amazingly, he welcomes the change. But can this kinder, gentler Dexter prevail?
As those who have read the prior books in the series, as well as fans of the wildly popular tv series based thereon, know, Dexter is by day a blood splatter expert who works for the Miami-Dade P.D., by night an avenging angel who delights in cutting up and disposing of those whose heinous acts fall into the category of those who fully deserve to die, according to the ‘code of Harry,’ his cop foster father. But his infant daughter has wrought this extraordinary change in our hero, and now, when Dexter perceives a threat, it is not danger to himself or the world at large that awakens his old predilections, it is any possible peril to Lily Anne which is ‘not a thing he can allow.’
Dexter’s protective instincts jump into high gear, as opposed to his usual mode of “recreational homicide,” when what at first appears to be a kidnapping turns into the disappearance of not one but two teenage girls. In this appearance Dexter’s adoptive sister, Deborah, a sergeant in the Homicide Division, seems to have undergone a change as well, her usual contentious self showing some softer, more vulnerable moments, a truly unnerving thing. And by the time the book ends, it would appear that there are a lot of other people out there with an unsuspected dark side, their own “Dark Passenger.” This is a macabre tale which, however, regularly induces smiles despite the occasional grimace, in almost equal measure. It is thoroughly enjoyable, and is recommended.
Reviewed by Gloria Feit, December 2010.