three-and-half-stars
Bookmarks Issue: 
32-Jan-Feb-2008
By: 
Jeff Lindsay
user_rating: 
0

A-Dexter in the DarkDexter Morgan, a Miami PD blood-spatter specialist, has a secret: he is a serial killer. His foster father, a policeman, recognized Dexter's urges at a young age and trained him to limit his victims to other killers who have eluded justice. Assuming the facade of an ordinary human being, Dexter is about to marry his girlfriend Rita and become a stepfather to her children when he is suddenly confronted by a string of grisly ritualistic murders and finds, to his horror, that his guiding Dark Passenger-the evil presence that feeds his bloodthirsty appetite-has vanished. Stalked by a murderer, frightened and alone, Dexter comes closer to being human than ever before.
Doubleday. 320 pages. $23.95. ISBN: 0385518331

Boston Globe 4 of 5 Stars
"What really animates these books-and what makes the latest heart-wrenching as well as hilarious-is Dexter's passion. Our handsome murderer may consider himself emotionless, but his sheer joie de vivre-or joie de mourir-is both obvious and contagious." Clea Simon

Denver Post 4 of 5 Stars
"Dexter is an evolving character, as well as a fascinating and original one. And for as much as one wouldn't care to sit across the table from him when the lights go out, particularly if there is silverware in easy reach, one absolutely wants to see how Dexter steps up to the challenge of being a human, at every stage of his evolution, and how he conspires to rid the world of just a few more people whose presence won't be missed." Robin Vidimos

NY Times Book Review 3.5 of 5 Stars
"'What was Dexter without Darkness?' the paralyzed antihero laments. What indeed? After toying unmercifully with his pathetic psychopath, Lindsay takes relish in resolving Dexter's existential crisis in his own cruel, perversely funny way." Marilyn Stasio

South FL Sun-Sentinel 3.5 of 5 Stars
"A recurring interior dialogue dilutes the story and the identities of the villains seem like a gimmick. ... Dexter in the Dark proves that the third time is indeed a charm and that the first two novels in this series were not just a fluke." Oline H. Cogdill

USA Today 3.5 of 5 Stars
"The book's adrenaline-pumping gore factor is balanced with large doses of hilarious black humor. Any writer who can make his readers love a serial killer must be doing something right." Carol Memmott

Entertainment Weekly 3 of 5 Stars
"The stuffy, academic thriller plot nearly suffocates Jeff Lindsay's usual wit." Aubry Anne D'Arminio

Critical Summary

Jeff Lindsay has created a fascinating antihero in Dexter, now the star of a popular Showtime television series. Critics were relieved to find that Dexter's small-screen success has had no effect on Lindsay's fast-paced plotting, absorbing characters, and delicious black humor. Dexter in the Dark, the third in the series, is longer than its predecessors, which allows Lindsay to delve deeper into Dexter's psyche. Some critics were pleased, while others felt that Dexter's longwinded self-analyses detracted from the storyline. According to the Denver Post, "readers who have not yet met Dexter can enjoy reading the latest without starting at the beginning." Returning admirers of this original, offbeat series will be happy to know that a fourth installment is in the works.

First in the Series

Darkly Dreaming Dexter (2004): 3 of 5 Stars Sept/Oct 2004. Tense and enthralling, this introduction to Lindsay's unlikely hero features a Miami serial killer who stages grisly murder scenes. Should Dexter help his detective sister track down the murderer, or should he save this one for himself?