Dearly Devoted Dexter
Jeff Lindsay
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Buy *Dearly Devoted Dexter* online

Dearly Devoted Dexter
Jeff Lindsay
304 pages
September 2006
rated 4 of 5 possible stars

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The Dark Passenger is back. And as before, he perches behind the driver's seat of Dexter Morgan's car as Dexter motors around Miami, searching...

Dexter works hard to "invent" his human side in this second novel of Lindsay's serial killer-cum-nice-guy. Having survived the pitfalls of life as a monster who only disposes of the deserving-to-die, Dexter's daily routine hides his dark side, a regular job as a blood splatter analyst for the Miami-Dade Police Department, even adding a girlfriend to the mix. But Dexter can only do so much to control his impulses.

The perfect sociopath, Dexter has integrated into society, imitating the emotions of those around him, mimicking his own humanity. All is meshing perfectly, until: "Somehow here I was on a just right night, playing Kick the Can with a flock of children instead of playing Slice the Slasher with a carefully chosen friend."

Harry, Dexter's foster father, raised the boy rigorously, teaching self-control "the balance between Need and Knife.” Thanks to Harry's oversight, Dexter preys only on the truly horrid serial killers who slay without remorse, those special playmates who deserve a fitting end to their bloodthirsty careers.

Eventually the Dark Passenger needs a fix, a little mayhem to quiet his blood. Sergeant Doakes, also of Miami-Dade PD, is Dexter’s nemesis, a forty-eight -year old African-American who may struggle with his own demons, giving off the faint flicker of a kindred spirit. Doakes has become obsessed of late with Dexter's activities, shadowing the young man and intimidating the Dark Passenger.

Dexter's foster sister, Deborah, recently promoted as a police sergeant, draws him into a current case that has the hardened police at the crime scene gagging and gasping for breath. It seems there is a new monster in town, gruesomely maiming a select group, the victims somehow related to El Salvador and the Special Forces, including Doakes and a Washington emissary, Kyle Chatsky.

To describe the method of the crime would spoil the perpetrator's ingenuity, a horrific tableau that shocks even Dexter, a man of eclectic murderous tastes. But poor Deborah has fallen for Chatsky; when he disappears, she fears he is the next victim of the savage slicer. Distraught, Deborah knows that only Dexter can help her locate Chatsky.

Dexter is an unremittingly charming monster, his instincts finely tuned, his wit honed with sarcasm and innuendo. The insouciant protagonist is impossible to dislike, just as attractive an anti-hero as in Lindsay's previous novel, Darkly Dreaming Dexter, although, in this incarnation, Dexter is given to considerably more irony.

Lindsay imbues Dexter's bizarre world with transient normalcy, the reader helplessly rooting for the underdog, the Dark Passenger, challenged to fit into society while pursuing his dark delights, filling our vicarious need for vigilante justice. The ever- evolving Dexter unerringly sniffs out the evil-doers who prey on innocents. Surely, this is a young man with a future.

Originally published on Curled Up With A Good Book at © Luan Gaines, 2005

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