Sunday, March 22, 2009

My Review of "Dexter In The Dark"

Written by Jeff Lindsay
Released in 2007

Dexter: “You got caught. What happens when you get caught?”
Cody: “Time out?”
Dexter: “Uh-huh. And if you’re thirty years old?”

Third book into the series and it’s easier to get settled into Dexter’s world and while I haven’t seen the third season of the show yet, I do know that apart from impending nuptials, this book is a different beast altogether.

On one hand, it’s arguably stronger than the first two books but on the other, it’s also the weakest of the three that I have read, even if it is still thoroughly enjoyable and engaging like the show itself.

It’s strength is in the interpersonal relationships that Dexter has with certain people. For one thing, if the previous two books only hinted at Deb being aware of Dexter’s killer tendencies, then this one has the decency to spell it out in detail and greatly it does.

Halfway through the book there’s a beautiful scene where Deb openly admitted her difficulties in understanding Dexter’s need to kill as well as her horror when he discussed the Dark Passenger element of him. Better still is that you get a moment where Dexter actually stands up to Deb as well.

Even though Deb’s foul mouthed tirades and permanent scowling at her brother have gotten beyond old at this point, her reactions to what Dexter told her about himself however are believable and I’d have a harder time in believing Deb if she readily accepted this side to brother. Maybe at some eventual point she will but for now, the fact that she barely tolerates it is something relatable.

Then there’s Cody and Astor. The previous book threw hints about them having their own Dark Passengers and this book put Dexter in the awkward position of having to train them, something which he didn’t seem all that enthusiastic about having to do, even if he was duty bound.

The kids themselves didn’t exactly make things easy for Dexter. When they weren’t pestering him to train them up, they got caught taping a cat to a workbench by Rita. I have to admit that Dexter did manage to deal with that scenario a lot better than I expected him to do so.

There was also the wedding to Rita, something which Dexter found as interesting as pulling teeth. In the series we’ve been given the strong impression that he genuinely loves her whereas third book in, she still comes across as his beard, one that he even married towards.

The story with the loss of his Dark Passenger (which managed to return on Dexter’s wedding day) was a good way of looking at his psyche. Dexter went through long passages of the book trying to wonder if he could function at all without the Passenger. He even made some sloppy mistakes as well so there is a level of dependency on his darker scene.

The plot with Moloch followers and their various dismemberment of many people didn’t thrill. It was by far the weakest threat we’ve had in the book and the resolution to it was a massive let down. It’s a job the personal stuff kept momentum because this fizzled very fast.

- Doakes briefly appeared in this book and recognised that Cody had a Passenger. He didn’t seem to recognise Astor’s.

- Deb is still dating Kyle, who only briefly appeared in this story as well.

- I loved that Masuka had a fear of expensive wedding caterer Manny Borque. Dexter commented on Masuka faking emotions a lot in this book.

- I’m actually surprised that neither Paul nor Gail have really surfaced in this book, what with Rita marrying Dexter.

- Parts of the book’s viewpoint where on The Watcher as he stalked Dexter.

- The tagline for this book was “No peace for the wicked”.

Quote, Unquote

The Watcher: “You have something inside you that represents a threat to us. We plan to get rid of it and you.”
Dexter: “Actually, that thing isn’t there anymore.”

A good book but like I’ve said, it’s interpersonal stuff rather than the villains of the piece that kept things going for me. Also can we please have more on characters like Angel?

Rating: 7 out of 10.

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