DEXTER IS DELICIOUS is the fifth book in Jeff Lindsay’s series about America’s most beloved serial killer. Just in time for the September 26th season premiere of “Dexter,” Showtime’s program that is based on the series, the new novel shows Lindsay stretching his wings (along with those of Dexter’s Dark Passenger, the personification of evil urges that gives new meaning to the term “wingman”) to take his character, and readers, into even darker territory.
The novel opens with a new lady in Dexter’s life, one who is going to change everything. She is Lily Anne, his infant daughter, and fatherhood transforms him in totally unexpected ways. The main change --- and the most surprising one --- is that he no longer wants to commit homicidal mayhem on a regular basis. Well, at least it appears that way at first. The result is that the book’s first half or so seems to be a homage to “CSI: Miami,” albeit a much darker one, involving two missing young women and an extremely nasty blood splatter. The trail leads to what appears to be a cult of fine young cannibals, although the police have difficulty proving anything, in part due to the highly influential familial connections of one of the suspects.
And speaking of familial connections, Dexter gets the surprise of his life when an almost forgotten member of his own family makes a sudden appearance at his front door and seems well on the way to supplanting Dexter’s role as pater within his own family.
One could be forgiven for concluding that Dexter’s combined frustrations with his vocational and domestic situations bring his Dark Passenger into ascendancy. But regardless of the reason, that is precisely what happens, and what had been a (mildly) disturbing read becomes one of the darkest tales you are likely to pick up this year. Lindsay takes Dexter into new and shocking places, and as a result, he finds himself in such potentially deep trouble that he risks losing everything. I can hear you laughing now. The guy is a serial murderer; even if he kills no one other than folks who are deserving of their fate, isn’t that enough to put him in jeopardy? While this is true, Dexter really bites the moose this time. And yes, there are extenuating circumstances, but if our boy gets found out, they aren’t going to be enough to let him walk.
On top of all this, Dexter’s sister is going through her own crisis, one that is surprising and unexpected, particularly to those who have been with the series since its inception. Lindsay ties some things up by book’s end, but lets other things dangle, so that by this time next year, each reader’s own Dark Passenger will be eagerly anticipating their next Dexter fix.
Lindsay continues to push himself and his creation to new heights. Given that the television series and novels proceed on parallel but not twin tracks, the audiences for both should keep growing exponentially each year. DEXTER IS DELICIOUS is the latest reason why.
Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub on December 29, 2010