Pros: The Dexter from the earlier novels is back, with some new complications.
Cons: The ending is a bit too easy.
Last Sunday, on Halloween, I decided that it would be a most favourable time to pick up my copy of Jeff Lindsay's latest entry in his series about Dexter Morgan, your average American serial killer with a heart of gold. After all, reading about the darker natures of the human psyche seemed to fit in just fine with the time of year, after all, and I had enjoyed most of the previous books in the series so far.
As Dexter is Delicious opens, Dexter is exploring an entirely new emotion and experience as he gazes through a hospital window at his newly born daughter, Lily Anne. And his heart is filled with love and awe, two things that he can't quite explain. All he knows is that little Lily Anne has wrapped him around her tiny fingers, and Dexter is determined to be the best daddy ever.
Of course that's going to be a serious attitude shift, especially when the latest case interrupts Dexter's reverie of paternal bliss. This time, it's a missing young woman from a high-end prep school. And when one of her friends turns up missing as well, and a great deal of blood is involved, it's Dexter who finds himself considering that perhaps it might be a good thing to hold onto some of his darker aspects.
Because when the charred bones of a young woman are found in the Everglades, and the case only gets weirder when the bones look to be chewed. And not by animals. By humans.
Dexter naturally, is both repelled and fascinated. After all, the victim, Theresa Santos, was a pretty young woman, much like his own precious Lily Anne, and when he realizes that this isn't just an isolated thing, but that there may be a cult of cannibals lurking around Miami, things get even more tangled when Dexter starts to realize that he might be on the menu...
Along with the hunt for the killers, Dexter has plenty to worry about on the home front. For one, he isn't getting hardly any sleep, there's worry about Astor and Cody adjusting to having a baby in the house, Rita is well, Rita, and when his equally deranged brother Brian shows up, clearly intent on being part of the family, things start to get downright weird. Not to mention that Deborah, his sister, is having the biological clock blues.
As with nearly all of Lindsay's novels, this one is told in first person from Dexter's point of view, and his own ongoing narration of being a serial killer working hard to survive in a world that views him as a monster is both cringe-worthy and hilarious. Along with Dexter is his Dark Passenger, the shadowy side of him that seeks to kill, back fully awake and present, after the previous two novels.
There are some other elements that were interesting to say the least, including a creepy little git by the name of Bobby Acosta, with surgically altered vampire fangs, a blood-drinking private club that caters to the Goth and a young woman named Samantha who was very disturbing to listen to and watch. That character gave me chills down my spine to say the least.
The story itself moves along a fairly good clip, with a bit too much focus on the Miami traffic, and I did find most of it very satisfying. The only problem was the ending, which had a villain that was a bit too convenient. I do want to warn readers that the ending is very graphic, and not at all for the sensitive, and you really need a strong stomach (no pun intended) to get through it.
What is notable here is that Mr. Lindsay is back in fine form with this one, and those who have read the earlier books in the series should find this one to be a fine outing, with plenty of chills. Dexter may not be for everyone, but if you're craving a bit of bloody mayhem in your life, this would make for a fine evening.
Four stars overall, recommended.
(I recieved this book as an Advanced Reader's Copy, so there may be some slight changes in the text between this and the finished version. Thank you Goodreads.com!)
The Dexter Morgan Series by Jeff Lindsay:
Darkly Dreaming Dexter
Dearly Devoted Dexter
Dexter in the Dark
Dexter by Design
Dexter is Delicious -- you are here
Dexter is Delicious
2010; Doubleday Books