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the Complete Review
the complete review - fiction


Dexter in the Dark

Jeff Lindsay

general information | review summaries | our review | links | about the author

To purchase Dexter in the Dark

Title: Dexter in the Dark
Author: Jeff Lindsay
Genre: Novel
Written: 2007
Length: 303 pages
Availability: Dexter in the Dark - US
Dexter in the Dark - UK
Dexter in the Dark - Canada
Dexter in the Dark - India
Les démons de Dexter - France
Komm zurück, mein dunkler Bruder - Deutschland
Dexter l'oscuro - Italia
Dexter en la oscuridad - España
. .
DVD: Dexter: The First Season - US
Dexter: The Second Season - US
Dexter: The Third Season - US
Dexter: The Fourth Season - US
  • The third in the Dexter-series

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Our Assessment:

C+ : not tightly enough focused, and super-natural hokum is distracting

See our review for fuller assessment.

Review Summaries
Source Rating Date Reviewer
Entertainment Weekly B 1/10/2007 Aubry D'Arminio
The NY Times Book Rev. . 23/9/2007 Marilyn Stasio
Publishers Weekly . 23/7/2007 .

  From the Reviews:
  • "The stuffy, academic thriller plot nearly suffocates Jeff Lindsay's usual wit." - Aubry D'Arminio, Entertainment Weekly

  • "After toying unmercifully with his pathetic psychopath, Lindsay takes relish in resolving Dexterís existential crisis in his own cruel, perversely funny way." - Marilyn Stasio, The New York Times Book Review

  • "Though the macabre wit that powered the first two installments of this delightfully dark series (also a hit on TVís Showtime) is still evident, this third entry takes a decidedly deep introspective turn" - Publishers Weekly

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:

       Dexter in the Dark finds blood-spatter expert cum serial killer Dexter Morgan preparing for his wedding to Rita -- and his role as father to her two kids, Astor and Cody (who, it should be noted, are considerably more screwed-up little tykes than their TV-series versions). Meanwhile, there are also some disturbing murders at the University of Miami -- headless, well-roasted bodies that seem part of some peculiar ritual.
       There's also another presence in the book, a voice that occasionally pops up and looks in on the scenes, and seems to have an eye on Dexter. Dexter certainly thinks someone is watching over him, as he gets to feel truly paranoid, repeatedly certain he is being followed (which allows for several car chases, phantom and otherwise, in a book that spends way too much of its time weaving in and out of traffic on Miami streets and freeways).
       More significantly, Dexter also finds himself with "a sudden very painful emptiness":

     The Dark Passenger was gone.
       His 'Dark Passenger' is, of course, that guiding part of him that drives him to murder -- both instinct that allows him to recognize evil in others and blood-thirsty vengeful force deep within. It's a part of him he has to try to keep under control -- but one that also defines him, and without it he feels kind of lost. Unfortunately, without it he is also is practically neutered, so Dexter's own serial killing spree on offer in Dexter in the Dark is pretty lame and tame.
       At least Astor and Cody have their own little Dark Passengers rearing some ugly heads, and Dexter is -- admittedly with some trepidation -- looking forward to taking them under his wing. Eager little beavers that they are, they aren't quite willing to wait and begin to get their hands dirty before Dexter can teach them that not being discovered and not standing out is the key to survival. Though in the final showdown he has to be pretty pleased that young Cody is willing to step up and show just how ready he is.
       The elaborate ritualistic murders that pile up in the university setting -- with suspect professors fighting for tenure (and with their own small and big secrets complicating matters) -- and the 'Moloch' that seems to be behind it all don't work particularly well here; the stop and go investigations (led by Dexter's sister, Deborah) -- with the kids brought to the scene of the too many of the crimes -- never really have a chance to build up until the final furious finish. A subsidiary storyline about Dexter and Rita planning their wedding -- and hiring a well-known (and very expensive and flamboyant) caterer -- also seems too labored far too much of the time (and is also wound up in too predictable fashion).
       Dexter in the Dark has the usual banter and dark jokes, but they also feel more tired than in the first two installments of the series. The distraction of the wedding isn't enough of an excuse for how unfocused the entire novel feels, as if Lindsay just wasn't sure which way to go with it. And the supernatural hokum is just plain irritating.
       [Note also that this isn't a good novel for those unfamiliar with the character and his (back)story to start out with. Go back to the beginning instead; indeed, except for in showing how Astor and Cody advance to the dark side, Dexter in the Dark is one volume in the series that can be safely skipped.]

- M.A.Orthofer, 28 July 2011

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Dexter in the Dark: 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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