Series: #3 in the Dexter series
Publication Date: 2007
Challenges: Clear Off Your Shelves
Source: purchased new
I read the first two Dexter book before there ever was a Showtime series. The whole concept of a serial killer as hero was such an interesting twist. How great that he works for the Miami police department as a blood spatter specialist even though he claims to hate blood. After all how can you not root for a serial killer who only kills people who deserve it. What makes the series for me is the great writing and dark humor. Since this is the third book in the series, spoilers for the first two are nearly impossible to avoid, but I will avoid spoilers for this third book.
This book picks up some of the story from the second book. Dexter and Rita are engaged and she’s planning the wedding while Dexter continues his quest to appear normal despite his admission (to the reader) to not having any emotions. Now that he knows that Rita’s kids have the same tendencies he does (his ‘dark passenger’) he wants to teach them the things his foster father Harry, taught him. They need to learn to appear as normal as possible and to learn to channel their own dark passengers in the Harry Way. While helping investigate a series of brutal murders, Dexter finds himself at a loss. His dark passenger seems to have gone into hiding and Dexter is unsure and even fearful about what is behind these murders.
This time around the story goes beyond Dexter and the crimes he’s helping investigate. The history of the evil or whatever the dark passenger may be is explored. It’s an interesting change of pace and while it takes the story on a bit of a different track than the first two books, I still enjoyed the book.
There is enough of what I expect in a Dexter story that I wasn’t feeling too sidetracked. Dexter’s foul-mouthed sister is still the same as ever – demanding and nursing a huge chip on her shoulder. The rest of the guys they work with are a great supporting cast and provide the openings for some of the best of the dark humor. Yes, there’s some blood and guts, but there’s also Dexter’s growing relationship with Rita’s kids and a handful of laugh out loud moments tossed in the mix.
Before you ask, yes I’ve seen some of the Showtime series. I thought the casting of Michael C. Hall as Dexter was brilliant and when I heard that was who would be playing him, my immediate response was “perfect”. We watched the first season this past summer. It pretty much follows the first book. We have the second season on DVD, but haven’t watched yet. I’ve heard that the TV series veers away from the books which I think is good. I like that both will remain as viable series on their own.