Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Dexter in the Dark, by Jeff Lindsay

(hb; 2007: third book in the Dexter series)

From the inside flap:

"In his work as a Miami Crime Scene Investigator, Dexter Morgan is accustomed to seeing evil deeds. . . particularly, because, on occasion, he rather enjoys committing them himself. Guided by his Dark Passenger (the reptilian voice inside him), he lives his outwardly normal life adhering to one simple rule: he kills only very bad people. Dexter slide through life undetected, working as a blood spatter analyst for the Miami Police Department, helping his fiancée raise her adorable (if somewhat. . . unique) children, and always planning his next jaunt as Dexter the Dark Avenger under the light of the full moon.

"But then everything changes. Dexter is called to a crime scene that seems routine: a gruesome double homicide at the university campus, which Dexter would normally investigate with gusto, before enjoying a savory lunch. And yet this scene feels terribly wrong. Dexter's Dark Passenger senses something he recognizes, something utterly chilling, and the Passenger -- mastermind of Dexter's homicidal prowess -- promptly goes into hiding.

"With his Passenger on the run, Dexter is left to face this case all alone -- not to mention his demanding sister (Sergeant Deborah), his frantic fiancée (Rita), and the most frightening wedding caterer ever to plan a menu. Equally unsettling, Dexter begins to realize that something very dark and very powerful has its sights set on him. Dexter is left in the dark, but he must summon his sharpest investigative instincts not only to pursue his enemy but to locate and truly understand his Dark Passenger. To find him, Dexter has to research the questions he's never dared to ask: Who is the Dark Passenger, and where does he come from? It is nothing less than a search for Dexter's own dark soul. . . fueled by a steady supply of fresh donuts."

Review:

Not long after the happenings of Dearly Devoted Dexter, the ever-charming Dexter finds himself in a quandary: he (and others around him) are being stalked by a larger, seemingly supernatural, dark force that not only speaks to his Dark Passenger, but is able to vanquish it from Dexter's awareness. This dark force, Dexter learns, has roots going back three thousand years, to the worship of Moloch, the bull-headed, human-sacrifice-loving god, leading Dexter to ask himself, what the heck is going on here?

This, by far, is my favorite entry in the (thus-far) three-book Dexter series. Author Jeff Lindsay has opened up an exciting number of future storyline/series characters and possibilities, including the creation of what could possibly become serious-threat arch-nemeses who are far away beyond what Dexter has encountered before. (Yes, that includes the recently-unlimbed-by-a-madman Sergeant Doakes.)

Not only that, but Lindsay has penned one of my favorite book endings that I've read this year, one that's simultaneously heart-warming and awesomely macabre.

Check this series out!

Followed by Dexter By Design (which is scheduled for publication on September 8, 2009).

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