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the Complete Review
the complete review - fiction


Dearly Devoted Dexter

Jeff Lindsay

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To purchase Dearly Devoted Dexter

Title: Dearly Devoted Dexter
Author: Jeff Lindsay
Genre: Novel
Written: 2005
Length: 292 pages
Availability: Dearly Devoted Dexter - US
Dearly Devoted Dexter - UK
Dearly Devoted Dexter - Canada
Dearly Devoted Dexter - India
Dexter revient ! - France
Dunkler Dämon - Deutschland
Dexter il devoto - Italia
Querido Dexter - España
. .
DVD: Dexter: The First Season - US
Dexter: The Second Season - US
Dexter: The Third Season - US
Dexter: The Fourth Season - US
  • The second in the Dexter-series

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Our Assessment:

B : creepily jocular, but for the most part works, in its own very peculiar way

See our review for fuller assessment.

Review Summaries
Source Rating Date Reviewer
The Guardian . 24/12/2005 Maxim Jakubowsk
The NY Times Book Rev. . 24/7/2005 Marilyn Stasio

  From the Reviews:
  • "How Dexter juggles his appetites, his curious relationships and his enemies makes for a bracing tale told in his customary sardonic but compelling voice. Clever and wonderfully incorrect, the adventures of Dexter are a delight for all those who enjoy their crime fiction just that little bit twisted." - Maxim Jakubowsk, The Guardian

  • "Consider, instead, the wry satiric voice, the bizarre logic of the premise, the sheer artistry that has gone into Lindsay's delicately balanced portrait of Dexter as a cheerful lunatic." - Marilyn Stasio, The New York Times Book Review

Please note that these ratings solely represent the complete review's biased interpretation and subjective opinion of the actual reviews and do not claim to accurately reflect or represent the views of the reviewers. Similarly the illustrative quotes chosen here are merely those the complete review subjectively believes represent the tenor and judgment of the review as a whole. We acknowledge (and remind and warn you) that they may, in fact, be entirely unrepresentative of the actual reviews by any other measure.

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The complete review's Review:

       With Dearly Devoted Dexter, the second Dexter-novel, the books begin to diverge considerably more from the TV series. While season two of the TV series features a 'Bay Harbor Butcher' who chops his victims up into parts the serial killer at the heart of Dearly Devoted Dexter is a 'Dr.Danco' whose dismemberment techniques (their consequences) are considerably more graphically presented (and hit rather closer to home). And while in the TV series an FBI special agent Lundy struts his stuff (and gets involved with Dexter's sister, Deborah), in the book the investigator sent from Washington D.C. is the considerably more shadowy Kyle Chutsky (who does, however, also get involved with Deborah).
       Common to both installments is that they begin (and continue) with suspicious Sergeant Doakes having his sights set on Dexter, patiently tailing him wherever he goes -- which cramps Dexter's 'Dark Passenger' and makes it impossible for him to do what he likes to do best, kill some deserving killer. So there's a lot of pent-up frustration to Dearly Devoted Dexter. Meanwhile, however, Dexter is also getting a taste of a more domestic life: unable to pursue his hobby, he spends more time with girlfriend Rita and her kids -- and begins to see a bit more of himself (and his instincts) in Astor and especially Cody ("He likes to do that stuff. I just watch", Astor helpfully explains), which is something he think he can work with in his increasingly father-figure-like role.
       Doakes' history, with Chutsky and with the killer, mean that he and Dexter have to team up if they want to get the bad guy; unemotional Dexter of course feels quite ambivalent about this (indeed, getting Doakes off his back would be most helpful), but sister Deborah's very emotional involvement in the way the case unfolds leads him to dutifully help out.
       Dexter finds himself wondering "How do these terrible things always happen to me ?" at one point, but he leads a rather charmed life: the disasters he faces tend to be of the more personal sort; certainly compared to what several of the others wind up suffering and losing (if not life, certainly a few limbs go by the wayside ...) he fares fairly well. It's the absurdity of this unreal life of this "perfect fake human", as Dexter describes himself, that makes for much of the fun of these books.
       If occasionally lazy in the plotting -- a bacchanal party, murkiness about many of the investigative details -- Lindsay gets a lot of mileage out of his narrator's voice. The self-aware but not self-pitying Dexter, who pretends -- very well -- to be human but just doesn't get it (and never tries to fool the reader), and that homicidal itch of his are surprisingly entertaining. His calculations are quite cold, but with über-emotional Deborah, as well as Rita (and the temptation to play-act real family life with her and the kids) helping to keep his instincts in check he becomes a surprisingly sympathetic protagonist.
       With Dexter unable to pursue his own vigilante-work to anywhere near the extent he'd like and with too much hurried through, Dearly Devoted Dexter feels a bit thin. Nevertheless, the dark humor and the way Lindsay deals with these absurd situations are quite amusing, and it is certainly an entertaining (if gruesome) pass-time read.

- M.A.Orthofer, 17 April 2011

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Dearly Devoted Dexter: Reviews: Dexter series: Books by Jeff Lindsay in the Dexter-series under review:
  1. Darkly Dreaming Dexter
  2. Dearly Devoted Dexter
  3. Dexter in the Dark
  4. Dexter by Design
  5. Dexter is Delicious
  6. Double Dexter
  7. Dexter's Final Cut
  8. Dexter is Dead
Other books of interest under review:

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About the Author:

       American author Jeff Lindsay (pen name of Jeffry P. Freundlich) was born in 1952.

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© 2011-2015 the complete review

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