Double Dexter by Jeff Lindsay
My rating: 2 of 5 stars
"Double Dexter" is the latest Jeff Lindsay novel chronicling the escapades of everyone's favorite serial killer hunting serial killer, Dexter. I must admit, I have never before read a Dexter novel, nor have I seen the popular television series based upon these books, so perhaps "Double Dexter" was not the best place to begin. The opening paragraph, heavy with self importance and adjectives, grated on my nerves as anything pregnant with unnecessary description could. The entire first third of the novel, which followed Dexter in the midst of carving up a pedophile and being spotted by a stranger, to obsessing over his wife's cooking, and convincing himself he is not human as he moons over his toddler daughter, moved very slowly for me. This is where anyone already familiar with the series would probably have no problem, as they would already need no introduction to the various characters surrounding Dexter, and their importance to his life.
As Dexter putters around his life of domestic bliss, and deals with office politics in the police station, I was able to gather bits of information about the supporting characters, a brother who is also a serial killer, a sister on The Force who also knows about Dexter's habits, a badly maimed co-worker with a vendetta to bring Dexter, I began to wish I was reading one of those other books, where something interesting actually happens. We're told about a serial killer who is literally hammering police officers to death, and we're told that Dexter murders a pedophile who had it coming at the opening of the book, but there really is no vivid description--for anyone who is a gore fan, nor is there any real insight into the proceedings or killers other than the mere statement that something has happened, or something is happening.
The only real insight the book offered was Dexter's repetitive assertion that he is a sociopathic reptile incapable of human love or feeling on what felt like every page, and in response to every human flinch around him. I felt like shaking the book and yelling, "OK I get it! You're a psycho WHO CAN'T FEEL EXCEPT YOU TOTALLY CAN CAUSE YOU'RE SO OBVIOUSLY IN LOVE WITH YOUR BABY OMG IRONY!!!!!"
Dexter begins to receive a series of emails on his work computer from the very man who had witnessed him at his dark deeds in the novel's opener. The cat and mouse game ensues. This leads Dexter to a place he is not comfortable with--uncertainty, worry, and an overall dulling of his senses. Dexter's preoccupation leads to sloppiness in his home and work life, and to a series of unfortunate events that really makes him seem foolish in the face of his budding adversary.
The novel sparked for me at this point. Dark humor and suspense mix as Dexter tries to juggle his domestic responsibilities alongside that of his work, and the dark urges that lead him to hunt, kill, and dismember. Dexter's two step-children factor largely into the story at this point, and are quite feisty little buggers to boot. The plot moves swiftly to a very satisfactory finish done in by a bit of overkill.
This is a book I can see being a good read to pass an afternoon, or a plane ride, but I can't imagine ever reading this specific volume again. Although, the swiftly moving middle to end of the novel did pique my interest in Dexter the character, and in all of the previous events in his life that were alluded to in the novel. So I will be checking out previous volumes in this series. In the meantime, I really hope whatever Jeff Lindsay has planned for the next volume goes a lot better.
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