Dexter by Design by Jeff Lindsay
Is anybody noticing a theme? For the last two months I have been reading a lot of crime fiction. It is certainly making it very interesting to compare writers styles and themes. The Dexter series of books is promoted as a very different crime novel, one in which the leading character is a serial killer. Certainly this series is different, but I am not sure that I am going to join the ‘critical acclaim.’
Dexter is a blood spatter specialist for the Miami police. He arrives on a crime scene long after the rest of the forensic team and draws his own conclusions about what happened. But this part of his life only plays a very minor part of this novel. This book is far more about the ‘dark side’ that Dexter successfully hides from the world, the side of him that thoroughly enjoys his self-appointed role of vigilante executioner. You see Dexter takes it upon himself to rid the world of the scum that the courts put back on the streets.
But in this novel, he makes a mistake. He witnesses a crime, discovers that the police have found no evidence, and then carries out the execution in a very bloody manner. Later he discovers that he did not see what he though he saw. Another person was in the house at the time the crime was committed, and this second person was the guilty party. What is worse, a film exists of Dexter’s activities. As you can imagine this fact motivates Dexter to ensure that he solves the problem completely next time.
I do have a few problems with the underlying themes of this book. Dexter’s public persona is just too slick and too practiced to be believable. His job as a blood splatter specialist who can’t stand the sight of blood seems too illogical for words. And the fact that he is getting married simply to add credibility to this false persona bothers me. He isn’t honest with anyone, especially himself.
The other problem that I had with the book involves his two step-children. They are recruited and trained in Dexter’s unique vigilante style. Why, if he can’t trust anyone else, does he take these two kids into his confidence? Sorry, but this just seems wrong.
Don’t get me wrong. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book. It got me involved quickly and I hardly put it down for about 48 hours. The misgivings arrived later as I was thinking about this review.