Mysteries and Thrillers are often hit-or-miss for me. I have had the good fortune of being recommended a lot of writings from the creme de la creme ofMysteries and Thrillers are often hit-or-miss for me. I have had the good fortune of being recommended a lot of writings from the creme de la creme of this genre by my father, so grew up ingesting PD James, John le Carre, and Dennis Lehane with the pulp sci-fi that was my fare of choice. I have also, at times, been forced to read a James Patterson or John Grisham for lack of any other reading materials. This has given me a broad exposure to what could arguably be called the most popular genre in the US.
So believe me when I say that I have never read a murder mystery of the caliber of "Darkly Dreaming Dexter". Dexter Morgan is a serial killer of a far different variety. After his foster father Harry realized the killer lurking within Dexter, he set out to use all of his years of experience as the top investigator in Miami Homicide to make Dexter the most cunning and wily serial killer possible before sending him after his victims- the criminals and killers who slip through the cracks of the self-same justice system that now employs Dexter as a blood spatter expert. So Dexter is a serial killer who hunts serial killers. Does this sound like an interesting premise yet?
Lindsay paces the story beautifully and keeps the reader as confused as Dexter is when bodies start appearing that seem as though they could have been done Dexter himself- if not for the fact that the bodies are of murdered prostitutes, innocents which are expressly against the Code of Harry. Is Dexter losing control of his inner beast? Or is there another killer out there with deeply personal knowledge of Dexter and his methods? After finishing this book I had to pop on-line right after to order the sequel. It's just that good....more
As much as I loved the first Dexter book, this one was a little bit of a let down. Rather than the intriguing mystery of the first novel we are offereAs much as I loved the first Dexter book, this one was a little bit of a let down. Rather than the intriguing mystery of the first novel we are offered a rather simple cat-and-mouse game wherein Dexter must locate and stop a deranged doctor who used to work for the US Government while they were funding the Contras in Latin America back in the 80's. Gone are Dexter's amusing thought processes, replaced with his fixation on Sgt. Doakes, an overly suspicious cop who has taken to trailing Dexter everywhere he goes and forces Dexter to give up his nightly pastime of slicing-and-dicing the murderous underbelly of Miami and settle into a parody of domesticity with his girlfriend Rita and her two children, Astor and Cody. The book's high points come in Dexter's interactions with the children, who just may be harboring the same Dark Passenger that drives Dexter to his bloody ways. Yet all in all it's still a fun read with plenty working in its favor, and I'll still be reading the third addition to the series when it's released in a few weeks....more
**spoiler alert** I finished Dexter in the Dark last night. I didn't mean to. I intended to only read a chapter before turning off the light and falli**spoiler alert** I finished Dexter in the Dark last night. I didn't mean to. I intended to only read a chapter before turning off the light and falling asleep but the next thing I knew it was 12:30 and I was closing the cover. So I guess that means I liked it.
The book was a huge improvement upon the previous book, Dearly Devoted Dexter. I loved the scenes with Cody and Astor in them, I'm glad that they're becoming a bigger part of the books. The idea of Dexter passing on the Code of Harry, and all of the necessary problems raising two budding serial killers entails, makes for great reading.
I was not a fan of the book's concept when I first heard of it. Why would Lindsay take away so much of the mystery of Dexter by attributing his genius and blood lust to something as mundane as demonic possession is beyond me. Still, after the stumble of Dearly Devoted, I am willing to forgive much. The ending seemed a little tacked on, though. It was suspense, suspense, suspense, GWAHHHH!!! SHOOT-OUT AT THE OK CORRAL!!! bang bang bang!!!! It just seemed so ill-fitting with the rest of the story. I hope that Lindsay has gotten his need for a supernatural thriller out of his system so that Dexter by Design is more along the lines of what a Dexter book is supposed to be.
This made for the perfect appetizer to the third season of Dexter on Showtime, though. Highly recommended to fans of the show....more
Dan Simmons is one of the most skilled writers of science fiction currently putting pen to page (or however that metaphor would work in a post-paper aDan Simmons is one of the most skilled writers of science fiction currently putting pen to page (or however that metaphor would work in a post-paper age). His Hyperion series is a well-regarded classic that takes Chaucer's Canterbury Tales into the space-faring age and his Ilium and Olympos still stands as the most interesting rendition of a post-singular society-slash-retelling of Homer's epic-slash-paen to Shakespeare that I've ever read.
It was with great excitement that I picked up Simmons' 1985 foray into horror, Song of Kali. I mention the year it was published because it's worth noting that this book is ultimately a product of the age in which it was written, but more on that later. On face this book has everything possible that could make my heart go pitter-pat: a reliable author who had never let me down, the story is set in India, features a resurrected poet (mmmm... zombie poetry), a good dose of gothic dread, a secret death cult, and (have I mentioned?) it's set in India. Surefire draw, right there.
So why didn't I like this book more? It had everything I like in a good read, but just didn't work for me. Primarily, I think it was a problem with the narrator. He's supposed to be a renowned critic of Indian poetry, with an Indian wife and in-laws, yet he is a) completely ignorant of the customs, culture, language, and history of the country which he is supposed to be enthralled with, b) when actually in said country he is simply mortified at how alien and inscrutable the actions of its inhabitants are, and (most damningly for me) c) he seems to have no liking (or even respect) for his wife, Amrita. A woman who did not want to come to Calcutta with him but who he begged to tag along and, once landed, then spends the next 250ish pages trying to force to leave Calcutta. She's supposed to be his interpreter, yet is constantly left behind at the hotel. She gets one decent scene where she gets to reflect upon her status as an alien in both the US and in her ancestral homeland, caught between worlds, as such, but that's it. By the time I finished the book I just kept hoping that she would leave the creep.
I should have loved this book, but I didn't. I didn't quite hate it, but it's not likely to be one that stays with me for long after finishing. It just seems like a trite rehash of things that have come before. When Robert, the American critic, stumbles upon a secret cult of Kali it smacks of the ridiculous scene from Indiana Jones & The Temple of Doom where the guy's beating heart is ripped from his chest. It's just all so xenophobic that it grates on my nerves. I've still got a lot of respect for Simmons and what he has done with his sci-fi writings, but think I'm going to avoid his older works for a time....more