Nicole Ng's Reviews > Dearly Devoted Dexter

Dearly Devoted Dexter by Jeff Lindsay
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's review
Oct 24, 2010

really liked it
Read in October, 2010

If you’re the type of person who is heavily sheltered against violence or any sort of unpleasantry in the “outside” world, I’m sure you’ll find Dearly Devoted Dexter a refreshing experience. Let me warn you – with all the severing of body parts (yet interestingly bloodless gore) in the book, you’ll never play Hangman the same way again. What a difference one wrong letter can make.

Jeff Lindsay gives Dexter, the clever and charming killer of bad guys, an intriguing voice. Unlike the other murderers we’ve heard about, Dexter is smart enough to satisfy his “urges” without arousing suspicion, and he does so by creating a lovely phony character, complete with a girlfriend and her kids. He thinks of himself as a mostly harmless being, because he eliminates only the villains who “killed without code” in his hometown of Miami, and so the novel’s plot surrounds the actions of one such villain. Dexter claims to be incapable of truly acting like a regular human, but he’s got himself a nice big ego for a start. When he is presented with a challenge, what goes through his mind is: “I merely had to be the clever boy we all believed I was.”

Also, his preference for “D” words is an interesting quirk – throughout the book he refers to himself as “Debonair Dexter”, “Dour Dutiful Dexter”, “Dexter Derailed”, and of course “Dearly Devoted Dexter” – but the “Dark Passenger” (a.k.a. his killer-mode, and pretty much the list’s only half-exception) tops his list of alter-egos.

So how did such a fascinating fellow come into existence? It’s all thanks to Harry, Dexter’s foster father who realized what kind of person he was, and then carefully shaped him into what he is. I enjoyed the “young Dexter” flashbacks very much, mainly because they show such a strong bond between the two. This killer has a role model – It’s a beautiful glimpse at Dexter’s softer side: “The only reason I ever thought about being human was to be more like him.”

Even though I’ve only watched the first couple of episodes from the TV series, I find that I am awaiting the next novel with great anticipation. Along Dexter’s journey, he makes a shocking discovery. There is someone else like him, who is still a young boy. Here is yet another curious trait of Dexter’s – he really likes kids, and has a particularly personal connection with Cody, one of his girlfriend Rita’s kids. Next time, Dexter will be the one who gets to guide Junior down the “Harry Path” to become Dexter’s Double.

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