Sunday, March 08, 2009

My Review of "Dearly Devoted Dexter"

Written by Jeff Lindsay
Released in 2005

Dexter: “I don’t know what I’ll do when you’re dead.”
Harry: “You’ll do fine.”
Dexter: “There’s so much to remember.”
Harry: “You’ll remember it.”

As soon as I finished the first book, I made the conscious effort not to delay reading the second. Given that the second season of the series itself went its own way than being bound to the book’s structure, it would be fun to see what Dexter got up in his second scribed adventure.

The first thing that did stand out was Doakes stalking Dexter. Not only did this make things difficult for Dexter but it also served as an interesting point. On the series when Doakes did this, it didn’t feel as extreme. I know it sort of rendered Dexter from killing those who deserved it but here it felt worse.

Mainly because it forced Dexter into some sense of domesticity that he couldn’t bear. The idea of him being another regular Joe staring at the TV and guzzling bored the shit out of him and as a reader, I wasn’t particularly that gripped with it either.

At least the book to its credit went some way into exploring the Dexter/Doakes dynamic. Both of them see a darkness in each other that intrigued and alarmed the respective other person. Dexter believed that Doakes found him responsible for LaGuerta’s death and Doakes past also came back to haunt him in more ways than one.

While the second season offered us the crazy Lila as a villain, this book is far more satisfying with Dr Danco, a demented torture expert whose been mutilating the several men who betrayed him back in El Salvador.

Every now and then I’m given a pleasant reminder of how squeamish even I can be and the description of the acts that Danco performed on his victims was enough to make me glad I didn’t see this on screen. Severed arms and legs are bad enough but adding severed lips, tongues and teeth into the mix and I’m just grateful that I was never eating during the time I was reading this book.

Dexter himself is no less impressed by Danco’s methods and it finally put him in a position where he could outsmart Doakes and learn more about his enemy. It also meant that because Deb had developed feelings for Doakes’ former comrade Kyle Chutsky (who lost some appendages thanks to Danco) that Dexter was forced to deal with his sister’s overbearing emotions.

As much as I like Deb in the series, I’m not particularly warming to her in the books. I wonder why that it. It also doesn’t help that Dexter doesn’t stand up to her but at least this book made it more clear that Deb was aware of Dexter’s “Dark Passenger” so to speak.

The final confrontation between Dexter and Danco is great. There’s a lot of black humour and unlike Biney, there’s no escape for Danco. Nope, thanks to Deb, he’s killed on the spot and also for Dexter’s joy, Doakes is so badly mutilated that he no longer poses a threat to Dexter.

- There were seven intended victims of Danco’s. From what I’ve gathered, Danco only successfully dismembered two of them. He didn’t get to complete his work on Kyle or Doakes.

- Rita found Kyle’s ring and mistook it for a proposal. Vince throwing Dexter a stag party added some lightness to the book.

- Doakes first name was Albert and he was in his forties. Danco had ‘Treachery’ as a description for him.

- The book featured a nice flashback with Harry during his final days.

- Dexter noticed that Cody had a bit of a “Dark Passenger” in him. The series has also addressed this but the book was more blatant about it.

- The tagline for this book was “Serial killer or family man? Or both?”

Quote, Unquote

Dr Danco: “All right then. I believe you came here alone. Although I am curious about why.”
Dexter: “I wanted to study your technique.”
Dr Danco: “Oh, good. I’ll be happy to show you – firsthand. And then feet.”

A fun second book, with some truly visceral moments but a lot of the characters (aside from Deb and Doakes in this one) still feel like ciphers. Can we have some more on them, please?

Rating: 8 out of 10.

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