Setting: Miami, Florida, USA.
Story: In case you have not heard, Dexter is a serial killer who works for the Miami Police as a forensic scientist specializing in blood spatter. However, his killing hobby is practised on bad people: killers who deserve to be caught and punished, but have in some way escaped the claws of the normal, common-or-garden variety justice system. For example, in Double Dexter, our hero catches and chops up a serial child-rapist and killer. Oh what fun there is to be had with a sharp knife and a trussed up bad person…
This time around, Dexter gets sloppy and is spotted in the act of mutilation. But his enemy does not report him; instead, there’s a campaign waged to ensnare Dexter and inflict on him some of what he has dished out over the years. Dexter, trying to keep an oh so civilized appearance going, has to fight that fight while simultaneously fending off the suspicions of Sergeant Doakes. Worse, Dexter gets caught up in his sister Debra’s troubles – she is a police detective – and he ends up suspended from work. What else could go wrong? Well, there may be trouble at home with his wife. There is a lot going on here.
Good Stuff: The perspective is still fresh and weird. And often wonderful. There are some great comic moments, like Dexter going off on the Scout camp trip and having to hold himself back from killing one of the kids that annoys him. And Dexter’s continuing detached observations on humans and people with feelings and emotions – which Dexter does not have, of course – are often thoughtful or amusing or both. The plot is ok, but nothing special. The ending is suitably violent and gives a bit of an edge to the proceedings.
Not So Good Stuff: None of the characters has any depth apart from Dexter. While Dexter can generate a lot of interest, in this book it is not enough. Also, here the central challenge should have been the menace of Dexter’s tormentor. However, the menace was just not there most of the time. In summary, this book was short of some ingredients. It was disappointing.