Jeff Lindsay – Dexter By Design

Posted on | July 23, 2011 | 3 Comments

Dexter By Design…And yes, Dexter’s back on my blog, after what seems like absolute ages. I’ve had the fourth of the Dexter books on my shelf for over a year, and that in itself surprises me, as I lapped up the first three books in the series in about a week. Yes, I did enjoy them that much.

The fourth book doesn’t disappoint, although, it starts getting a lot more…. what’s the word… melodramatic. You have your protagonist: blood spatter analyst by day, and serial killer by night, and now – now, he’s hitched, enjoying married life and being a father to two adorable children.

He’s back in Miami post a fantastic honeymoon in Paris, and he’s back at work. First day back, and Dexter and his “Dark Passenger” are in for a treat : dead corpses being artfully displayed, for one and all to see. One woman is turned into a fruit basket, and one man’s insides holds beer! No clues, no violence, no blood on the scene of crime. As Dexter and his sister, Deborah, try to get to the bottom of what’s going on, drama unfolds.

Deborah is still trying to deal with Dexter’s Dark Revelation, and she’s grumpy for the most part. Justifiable, to an extent, but on occasion, I did feel like giving her a slap, and saying get over it. After an altercation with her brother while on duty, she is stabbed and typically, her life is in grave danger. They rush her to the hospital, and as she battles for her life, Dexter’s dealing with his own battles: emotions. He’s unsure as to how to feel, and he’s accustomed to being this emotionless outlaw, so what’s the deal with the thoughts running through his head, and all the worse-case scenarios he is conjuring up?

Impulsively, i.e. very unlike him, Dexter seeks revenge on the person who was responsible for this heinous crime against his sister, and in the process, finds himself violating The Harry Code. Harry was Dexter’s foster father, who was aware of Dexter’s darker side, and encouraged him to channel his inner demons into doing good – killing the bad guys, getting rid of the scum on the planet.  His impulsiveness, though, leads him to making mistakes, and things get incredibly complicated… and to right a wrong, it almost looks like many more wrongs are going to be done.

This was interesting in the sense, it’s the first time we see Dexter acting on raw emotions, despite continuously insisting that he’s unemotional and detached. When he first realizes the implications of his sister’s attack, he goes down memory lane… and this book does focus on the past a lot – Dexter and Deborah growing up, Harry’s mentoring, and his initial battles.

The book is also quite humorous, and Dexter, despite everything, is highly intelligent. He alliterates his name all the time, with his current state of mind, if that makes sense? So, for example, while referring to himself, he says things like:   It did not belong in the prime time drama of Dexter’s Dim Days; Dexter the Drastically Deferred; Dark Dexter’s Dance etc. I love alliterations.

Other bits that I thought were tongue-in-cheek and worth re-quoting:

First things first has always been my motto, mostly because it makes absolutely no sense – after all, if first things were second or third, they wouldn’t be first things, would they? Still, cliches exist to comfort the feeble minded, not to provide any actual meaning.

I don’t know where the boyfriend is, really,” I said. And it was true, considering tide, current, and the habits of marine scavengers.

However, all that said, I do think this is the weakest of Dexter’s books so far. It wasn’t as engrossing as the first two, and it became mildly more… soapy. When one is reading about a serial killer, they don’t quite want it to come with the baggage of a soap opera.


3 Responses to “Jeff Lindsay – Dexter By Design”

  1. Pam
    July 23rd, 2011 @ 4:29 pm


  2. Literary Kitty
    July 25th, 2011 @ 10:21 am

    Oooh I love the TV series – ashamed to say I haven’t read any of the books though. I wonder whether it’s worth catching up on the first couple at least?

  3. Sarah
    July 31st, 2011 @ 11:38 pm

    Also a big fan of the TV series, but haven’t read the books. Dexter’s asides are the best bits so I think I would enjoy them.

    Have you seen The Simpsons spoof of Ned Flanders doing Dexter’s opening credits? If you like both shows it is very funny.

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