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Ok let's get something out of the way from the start; the Dexter TV series is superior to the book series. Dearly Devoted Dexter is a prime example of this.
I have split this review into two sections, the first is spoiler free and the second goes into more detail around plot and character spoilers - you have been warned!
Jeff Lindsey is a very good ideas man. I actually liked the central premise of the book and the two sub-plots, just not together or for this book series. The book is structured very much like the first and therefore has the same main problems, whilst the idea is good the execution just isn't. The story moves on at a pretty fast pace however I still found myself bored. There really is very little tension for the first two thirds of the book, mainly because none of the central characters seem to be under any threat and the way the mystery is laid out provides very little impact or interest.
Then when things do start to happen the book suddenly ends. As with the first book it demonstrates that that Lindsey doesn't know how to write a climactic finale. When I finished the last page my first thought was that this felt like a mid-season filler episode of something like the mentalist, the mystery is incidental to a character development / progression that is not earned in the book or the series at this point in any way. This is fine for a weekly TV show but is awful for a book. I am very much of the opinion that each installment should be a full package, not just a way of making the next book a bit more interesting (Rita, Cody and Astor I'm looking at you)
Ok now for the spoilers:
This does not feel like the second book in a series. The tension for Dexter in this book is based on the reader understanding the need he has to kill and how suppressing this can affect him. This idea was not hinted at or mentioned at all in the first book, so why should I care? The fact that he has to deal with suburban drudgery should be frustrating and have Dexter climbing the walls. Instead, he simply gets a taste for beer and playing hangman, with a mild reference to his dark passenger basically having a bit of a snooze. If it was this easy to switch it off why didn't Harry add this to the code?
This book would have worked better as book four in a series. The first book would have introduced the characters, central premise and the rules of the world. This should have been followed by two killing filled mysteries pitting Dexter against killers that pose a threat to him, his position / disguise and family or friends. Demonstrating how his passion for killing is put to good use and must be let out to play. Then we get the story of frustration and suppression. Nothing in this book is earned and because of this I found it very difficult to care.
Regarding the threat or building of tension, at no point in this book is Dexter ever actually under threat. Doakes hanging around is annoying yes but a better solution could have been found and the main villain is only after a group of people with a military connection that did some very bad things in a different time and place. At one point Dexter actually asks the reader "why should I help?" The answer the book gives is that his sister fancies one of the people involved and he doesn't want to hear her moan about it. In fact it takes it one step further and Deb actually makes a veiled threat of exposing Dexter in order to make him comply. For an emotionless psychopath the Dexter of the books is a proper wuss.
So he does help, does he save the day? Does Dexter use his cunning, his wit and dark passenger to foil and kill the villain of the piece? No, he gets caught and is saved by his sister, at which point the book ends.
Overall, in this book Dexter kills only once, at the very beginning, sits, drinks a lot of beer, plays hangman and gets dragged into a situation by the sister who ends up saving him. All so Dexter can get accidentally engaged and find out that Cody is like him.
Save yourself the hassle, read the plot summary of the book on wiki remember the key points and move on to either the next book, or better still the TV show.
Dearly Devoted Dexter part 2 of the Dexter novel series by author Jeff Lindsey. This novel was published in 2005.
Following my first encounter of the Dexter novels I really had no option but to continue and read part 2 of this captivating story. And believe me Dearly Devoted Dexter does not disappoint.
With any good series of novels you get to know all the characters not just the main. This is book is no different. We begin to learn more of all the people who surround Dexter, his friends, family and even an enemy or two. Jeff Lindsey's has put just as much effort in creating all of his characters as his has done with Dexter himself. In my view makes a good writer a great writer.
Sgt. James Doakes, who we learnt from day one, is no fan of Dexter's in fact he is the only character that has a bad feeling about Dexter to such a degree that he really can not stand him.
In this novel we find Doakes past catching up to him much to the delight of Dexter. However when Dexter family get embroiled in Doakes situation Dexter is not impressed and takes matters into his own hands.
As an avid reader of these novels I would not want the story ruined for me so I really don't want to say much more about the plot.
However what I will say is this author has really managed to create a novel that builds on the first. Although some aspects are comparable to the first book this book brings a different twist.
In the first you find Dexter is the hunted, in this Dexter is on the hunt and finds himself in hot water.
One particular aspect of this novel I found interesting was Dexter's building relationship with Rita and his tense relationship with his sister Deborah. Deborah as we know discovered Dexter's hobby at the end of the first book and she is trying to come to terms with this mind blowing discovery.
With so many integral characters there is a lot to learn and if Jeff Lindsey continues to give so much insight into all of his characters as he has done so far then there is far more to come from these series.
But it is not just the detail that makes this a great read it is also the storyline he has used, It is thrilling and tense all the way through. The only real critic I have is that the villain in my view is revealed slightly too early. I like my mystery's to draw out a little, keep me guessing who is the killer. But saying that, knowing his name and his background helps me to picture what I think he would look like.
Again a fantastic novel In the Dexter series 5 star
Amazon £1.70 - £5 Kindle £5
Dexter, dearly devoted, demented, darkly dreaming dexter. That's what dexter is. Every single one of those words.
This book follows on from darkly dreaming dexter and is about our favourite part time blood splatter analyst who hates blood and part time serial killer.
This time, doakes, the miami homicide seargent, suspicions have been raise about dexter as a person following the ending of the last book. As a result, he has begun to follow dexter everywhere and therefore prevent him from killing anyone.
So what does dexter do? In a bid to seem normal while providing a 'show' for doakes, he begins to visit rita more often. However, in miami an alive mutilated body appears and it appears doakes is on the victim list.
This book is an excellent step up from the first providing further insight into how dexter thinks while having a gripping tense and interesting plot.
Narrative from lindsay remains excellent and as a result this book is a must for those who have read the first or seen the show.
Well Dexter is back for his second romp in Miama and he's no less a monster than before! In this second installment we don't have as much scene setting as in the first but we are treated to the same lack of conscious coupled with a wicked sense of humour and fun that the character possesses. There are many occasions just like the first book when you want to laugh out loud (on one occasion I did - which is just not like me at all). The basic premise of this book is all about guilty pleasure. You find yourself actively rooting for a serial killer genuinely concerned least he should get caught. Whatever twists and turns Dexter goes through he is always capable of amusing us with his witty and often killer asides. No pun intended! If i'm going to be critical I would say this book's not quite as good as the first and i'd like to be able to give 4.5. If you read the first this is a must have - if you haven't I would suggest you take them in sequence as you'll get so much more out of these books.
A friend at work knows I love a good crime novel, so he told me to try a book by Jeff Lindsay. He told me I would either love it or hate it. So I thought I should give it a try, just to shut him up at the very least.
About the author:
Jeff Lindsay was born in the USA in 1952. Among his achievements are being a World Champion in Karate and a successful playwright. So far he has written four crime novels featuring Dexter Morgan as its main character. These are: Darkly Dreaming Dexter (2004), Dearly Devoted Dexter (2005), Dexter in the Dark (2007) and Dexter by Design (2008).
About the book:
Dexter Morgan works for the Miami Police Department as a blood-splatter analysis.
In his spare time he hunts serial killers who have avoided detection by the Police. He looks for evidence and once found kills them and carefully disposes of their bodies.
Dexter's luck seems to have run out, as he is being kept under close surveillance by Sergeant Doakes. Who is determined to get to the bottom of Dexter's hobby and watch him every night. This means Dexter needs to appear above suspicion so he starts spending every night with his girlfriend and her children, this stopping his nocturnal activities.
The discovery of a mutilated body brings Dexter in contact with Sergeant Doakes in a professional capacity. As both who cannot stand each other must somehow work together to try and find this sick serial killer. Who is wreaking his revenge on former army colleagues who sacrificed him to the Cuban authorities in return for their escape. Can these two work together or will one of them kill the other? In a very exciting novel with many twists and turns.
My thoughts on the book:
Where do I start? For me this must be the strangest book I have ever read. A book of real contrasts that at times made me feel sick to my stomach due to the author's descriptions of mutilated scenes but almost at the same time a book with amazing humour that at times made me laugh out loud. (Embarrassing once on the train I must admit).
A book where the leading character is basically a monster pretending to be a human being, who as a hobby kills serial killers who have escaped justice for the benefit of society as a whole. This very idea is quite bizarre and in all ways alien. How can you forge any kinship or affection for a killer?
But very weirdly you do, as he is basically a monster with a heart and while yes some of the scenes are very graphic the humour certainly lightens the mood.
As a result of this, it took ages for me to get my head round the concept of the novel. As this monster (Dexter) was completely without conscience but with a fantastic sense of humour and fun. This however was generally used at totally the wrong time and in all the wrong situations.
The story itself was extremely well written and well researched piece of work. With the humour excellently delivered throughout. I would not describe it as a memorable story in any way but it certainly flowed and I always wanted to know what Dexter would make of each new position he found himself in and how would he react.
As a character Dexter despite being a killer, I found him to be an intriguing and fascinating character. As I found his wit and down to earth approach including all the silly situations he found himself in easy to relate to and comically funny. For example when his girlfriend finds the ring intended for his sister from her boyfriend and thinks he is planning to marry her as hilarious. It was just so well written.
What I also enjoyed about the book is Dexter's relationships with all the other main characters within it. The way he interacts with the man trying to bring him to Justice Sergeant Doakes and the way he is forced to work with him when it is the last possible thing both men want. And the way he respects the evil Dr Danco and his disembowelling techniques. Not to mention the way he interacts with his girlfriend Rita and her children is both funny and expertly written.
In the main the book is both exciting and easy to read. I read it in 3 days over the Bank Holiday weekend. But I did struggle with the gory bits!! The length of the book was about right, with regular chapters to break all the action up. The novel also had an exciting conclusion that left the reader on tender hooks to the end.
I know the Dexter books have now been transfered to television. I have never seen them but if they are anything like the book they must be very entertaining, as that is certainly how I found this.
I think for me the cover said it all 'Serial killer or family man? Or both?' As Dexter is forced to change from killer to a respectable member of society, spending evenings on the couch drinking beer with Rita. While he struggles with his urges to hunt the killers within society.
The book also includes an epilogue which I always love. However this one was short and it lacked what I really wanted to know about what happens to him and his relationship with his girlfriend Rita. Instead it focuses on his very special and odd nocturnal activities.
I was also surprised and a little disappointed that I could not find a decent web site about the author and the Dexter series of books.
I am looking forward to trying another Dexter book as I think this is an interesting concept and Dexter himself is such a unique character. I felt the novel just had so much going on I was always entertained and just wondering what on earth would happen next.
I have reflected on this a lot and I would have to say I did really enjoy this book overall. I would recommend this book to anyone who likes crime fiction with lots of humour in it. Maybe not for serious crime readers as I'm sure all the humour does take a little from the actual story itself. If you don't like blood and gore also please avoid this. This book is so different from anything I have ever read and I suppose that says a lot about it as I have read so many books!! I think I will try another Dexter book but the jury for me is still out as to whether I love it or hate them at the moment.
Published by Orion books
Price: £4.99 Amazon
Web site: www.orionbooks.co.uk
Thanks for reading my review.
This review is also published on Ciao under my user name.
@CPTDANIELS February 2009
I enjoyed reading this, although I did like the first one more. This book is really getting to know Dexter, rather than his 'dark passenger' I think. The crime is gruesome and not much is left to the imagination. Brilliantly written, I look forward to reading the third one - almost immediately as I want to have read them before the television series starts next week! A great writer, a great character and a great plot.