This is probably one of the cleverest, albeit bizarre, books to come out in the summer reading season. The attractively ghoulish protagonist is a sociopathic murderer, but, were such a thing possible, this is a sociopath with a “conscience”. Self-aware and brilliantly entertaining, Dexter charms from the first page, even in the midst of his latest murder.
What makes Dexter’s extra-curricular activity acceptable is the selection of his victims; he only kills those who deserve to pass from this mortal coil, evil people who bring nothing good to the world they inhabit. And to be honest, who hasn’t identified with those occasional vigilantes who take justice into their own hands?
By day, Dexter is a blood-spatter analyst in a Miami police lab, the perfect place for keeping an eye on the action, as well as an opportunity to troll for appropriate candidates to practice his handiwork. Lurking behind his apparent normalcy, Dexter is as secure as a serial killer can be, until the competition shows up.
When a number of murders occur on Dexter’s turf using his M.O., he is both intrigued and anxious, recognizing a subtle challenge to his superior talents. Dexter is torn between helping his half-sister, a policewoman seeking promotion, and saving the newcomer for himself. But when events conspire against him, Dexter’s insouciance disappears; in short order, like Alice in Wonderland trapped in a psychedelic nightmare, Dexter falls down the rabbit hole, at the mercy of circumstances he cannot control.
Lindsay’s style is captivating, a refreshing new take on an old scene, the elegant Dexter addressing the need for justice in an unjust world as predators feed on their helpless prey and law-enforcement resources barely stem the tide of violent crime. The author reaches in to touch the dark heart of each of us, awakening a distant atavistic memory, a task he accomplishes with consummate grace.
No mercy, Dexter, declares, not for the wicked. Does this include our romantic hero as well? As Dexter tracks his rival, his own need presses, greedy for release, leading the reader to wonder if Dexter is really yearning to be stopped. Not to worry. Nothing is as it seems.