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the Complete Review
the complete review - fiction


Dexter is Dead

Jeff Lindsay

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

To purchase Dexter is Dead

Title: Dexter is Dead
Author: Jeff Lindsay
Genre: Novel
Written: 2015
Length: 286 pages
Availability: Dexter is Dead - US
Dexter is Dead - UK
Dexter is Dead - Canada
Dexter is Dead - India
  • The eighth and final volume in the Dexter-series

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Our Assessment:

B : meets most reader expectations, and the voice quite nicely done

See our review for fuller assessment.

Review Summaries
Source Rating Date Reviewer
Publishers Weekly . 18/5/2015 .

  From the Reviews:
  • "Many readers will struggle to sympathize with this antihero, and the seriesís resolution wonít satisfy all fans." - 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 is Dead is the eighth -- and announced-as-final -- volume in the series about Dexter Morgan, blood spatter pattern analyst for the Miami police and, on the side, near-insatiable serial killer (though trained by his father Henry to channel his deadly hobby in the best possible way -- getting rid of only those who deserve it). Dexter is Dead is not a novel those unfamiliar with the character or series should, or likely would, start out with -- though it can stand alone, more or less. In many ways this is an atypical Dexter-novel: Dexter isn't at his police job any longer, and so there's only limited interaction with those from his department, and those nearest and dearest to him are dead (wife Rita), removed (the kids), or keeping their distance (sister Deborah). Dexter often works more or less solo, but his interactions with a world more or less oblivious to his sideline always made for a good contrast in the novels, and much of that is missing here.
       Dexter is Dead continues almost right where Dexter's Final Cut left off. It's a good start: Dexter is in solitary in the Turner Guilford Knight Correctional Center, in a cell on the top floor, "the special purgatory reserved for the most heinous and unrepenting monsters". The nice twist is that he's accused of murder -- and for once he didn't do it.
       The evidence does look pretty compelling -- and Detective Anderson is determined to destroy Dexter, so whatever doesn't look compelling will be arranged to do so. As it turns out, Detective Anderson's maniacal obsession with nailing Dexter -- and his astonishing incompetence -- are among the novel's weakest points: he's so bad at framing Dexter, and fails so miserably in following proper procedure, that there's soon little doubt that Dexter doesn't really have to worry much about being convicted. Still, Anderson is out to get him, and that's annoying, especially when no one else seems very concerned or interested in Dexter's fate.
       A court-appointed lawyer might even play into Anderson's hands, but then Dexter does find he has one strong ally left; unfortunately, that's his similarly murderous (and considerably less scrupulous) brother, Brian. Brian sets him up with a top-notch lawyer, and soon Dexter is at least out of jail, if not yet out of legal trouble. Indeed, since it turns out Brian arrived with some baggage of his own, Dexter soon finds himself in considerably more trouble, and the target of several attacks on his life.
       Lab buddy Vince Masuoka is the only police-insider who is willing to help Dexter not get railroaded, but he only plays a small role here. Sister Deborah takes a while to get on board the save-Dexter crusade, but circumstances finally push her to join in, too. At least Brian, who is the one responsible for most of the secondary mess that's causing Dexter so much trouble -- much more than the murder-accusations -- gleefully plays his part in resolving that.
       The story moves along at a decent pace and with some decent action, even if the reason why Dexter keeps having such close calls is pretty obvious quite a ways before he puts that two and two together (and is able to respond accordingly). Aside from one torture scene, brothers working side by side, there's also very little standard Dexter killing action: there is a lot of carnage and killing, but it's of the more generic sort that any thriller offers, not the (un)usual Dexter kind -- which is kind of disappointing.
       With Dexter also fairly conventionally more or less on the run and by his lonesome, there's fairly limited interaction with others -- a shame, because part of the fun of the series is his different relationships with colleagues and family. Brian makes a decent creepy buddy here, and Vince and Deborah get a few scenes, but with Dexter being hunted rather than the hunter it's all not quite as much fun.
       At least Dexter's voice is still nicely captured by Lindsay, light and amusing enough to contrast with the horrors he's capable of. Still, Dexter is Dead doesn't really let Dexter be Dexter enough -- his 'Dark Passenger' doesn't get to flex his muscles much -- and while the wry reactions to his situation (and the repeated attempts on his life) are amusing, it doesn't have quite the impact as in the other books, when he is better able to go about his business.
       As the final volume in the series, there's added weight and pressure on how things are finished off. The culminating clash is pretty standard thriller-fare, rather than Dexter being forced to confront his demons more explicitly, but at least it allows for a reasonably effective closing scene -- hard enough to achieve.
       Not a grand finale, but, like most of the books in the series, a decent quick, lite, blood-spattered read.

- M.A.Orthofer, 22 July 2015

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Dexter is Dead: 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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© 2015 the complete review

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