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Dexter #4

Dexter By Design

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The macabre, witty New York Times bestselling series (and inspiration for the #1 Showtime series, Dexter) continues as our darkly lovable killer matches wits with a sadistic artiste--who is creating bizarre murder tableaux of his own all over Miami.
After his surprisingly glorious honeymoon in Paris, life is almost normal for Dexter Morgan. Married life seems to agree with him: he’s devoted to his bride, his stomach is full, and his homicidal hobbies are nicely under control. But old habits die hard--and Dexter’s work as a blood spatter analyst never fails to offer new temptations that appeal to his offbeat sense of justice...and his Dark Passenger still waits to hunt with him in the moonlight.

The discovery of a corpse (artfully displayed as a sunbather relaxing on a Miami beach chair) naturally piques Dexter’s curiosity and Miami’s finest realize they've got a terrifying new serial killer on the loose. And Dexter, of course, is back in business.

304 pages, Hardcover

First published January 1, 2008

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About the author

Jeff Lindsay

51 books3,705 followers
Jeff Lindsay lives in Florida with his wife, author Hilary Hemingway, daughter of Leicester Hemingway, Ernest Hemingway's brother.

Lindsay is best known for writing the Dexter series of novels. Several of his earlier published works include his wife as a co-author.

Jeff graduated from Middlebury College, Vermont, in 1975, and Celebration Mime Theatre's Clown School the same year. He received a double MFA, in Directing and Playwriting, from Carnegie-Mellon University, and has written 25 produced plays. He has also worked as a musician, singer, comedian, actor, TV host, improv actor, and dishwasher.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 1,314 reviews
Profile Image for Ahmad Sharabiani.
9,568 reviews55.6k followers
May 22, 2021
Dexter By Design (Dexter, #4), Jeff Lindsay

After the events of the previous book, Dexter Morgan is eager to resume his hobby of stalking violent criminals, but first, he must endure a honeymoon in Paris with his unsuspecting wife, Rita.

At an art gallery, the couple view an avant-garde performance piece in which the artist amputates her own limb.

Upon returning home, Dexter finds that his relationship with his sister, Deborah, has become strained since she learned of his murderous pastime.

Debra, now a sergeant in the Miami-Dade Police Department's homicide unit, is torn between loyalty to Dexter and her duty as a police officer to arrest him.

تاریخ نخستین خوانش

عنوان: دکستر با طراحی: کتاب چهارم از سری دکستر؛ نویسنده: جف لیندسی؛ موضوع داستانهای نویسندگان ایالات متحده آمریکا - سده 21م

پس از رویدادهای کتاب پیشین، «دکستر مورگان» مشتاق است سرگرمی خود را برای پیگیری جنایتکاران خشن، از سر بگیرد، اما نخست، «دکستر» بایستی ماه عسل خویش را در «پاریس»، همراه با «ریتا» همسری بیخبر از کارش بگذراند؛ این روج در یک گالری هنری، نمایشی آوانگارد را میبینند که در آن، هنرمندی اندام خود را پاره میکند؛ پس از بازگشت به خانه، «دكستر» درمییابد، كه رابطه ی او با خواهرش «دبورا»، از زمانی كه وی از سرگرمی «دکستر» آگاه شده، تیره گردیده است؛ «دبورا» که گروهبانی در واحد اداره پلیس «میامی» است، بین وفاداریش به «دکستر» و وظیفه ی خویش، به عنوان یک افسر پلیس برای دستگیری او، دل نگران است

تاریخ بهنگام رسانی 31/02/1400هجری خورشیدی؛ ا. شربیانی
Profile Image for Vivian.
2,839 reviews389 followers
January 20, 2018
Doakes is back! And Chutsky! Even a couple new speed bumps in Dexter's road.

Still liking the series and Dexter's increasingly complicated quandary of human performance, but this one had a lot more rabbit runs, going up, down, all around, but without Dark Passenger for company. I miss that interplay. So, this seemed slower even though Dex was all over the map, literally.

On the other hand, I love the aesthetics of this one. The spectacle shows dedication to detail, which I appreciate. The commentary about art makes for a delightful amuse-bouche.

Rita takes the backseat, but Cody and Astor are making progress. But it's a slow road.
All fake, all the time with only the short and far-too-rare intervals of razor-sharp reality to look forward to--and I was passing all this on to Cody, that small and damaged creature who stood up there so stiffly, watching with such intense focus for a hint of belonging that would never come.

Definitely finishing this series off this year. Hope the next one has more frolicking.
Profile Image for Ria.
406 reviews54 followers
June 16, 2019
What’s the point of art if nobody sees it?
Velvet Buzzsaw (2019)


Ok so we are gonna ignore the supernatural part of book 3 because ew and we are gonna move on. Also is this review going to be Velvet Buzzsaw gifs? Maybe.

my link text
So pissed this is a fake link. If only it was a link to Never Gonna Give You Up.

‘’Dexter feels plenty; Dexter feels tired, and bored.’’
Bruh mood.

‘’-…it was the Mona Lisa.
-It’s so tiny.
-And very overrated.’’

Rita same, I love you.

‘’You never get in any trouble, ever. Mister Boy Scout. And now you decide you’re Rambo? Am I missing something?’’

That’s some killer art I guess.
Profile Image for Mike.
217 reviews4 followers
November 21, 2009
Dull, disappointing Dexter... but at least it was better than the last one. After a very promising start, Lindsay has apparently ran out of steam with his brilliantly conceived title character, Dexter. "Dexter by Design" features a hackneyed plot, full of predictable perils and plenty of deus-ex-machina moments. I know, it seems silly to use this word when describing a story about a psychopathic serial killer who hunts down and kills criminals while maintaining his alter ego as a blood spatter analyst for the Miami Police: but every bit of this tale felt contrived. Certain elements- the badly mangled Doakes still stalking Dexter, Cody and Astor keeping Dexter's dark secret while they train to follow in Dexter's footsteps, keeping their mother blissfully ignorant- have lost whatever darkly comic potential they had, and now play as just creepy. I won't provide any specific spoilers to those who still want to take this ride, but Dexter is getting to be like Gilligan's Island: in every episode, the castaways come tantalizingly close to escaping the island, but then Gilligan screws it up... in the Dexter tales, law enforcement gets tantalizingly close to figuring out Dexter's secret, but then the killer that Dexter is trailing kills the cop that's about to discover Dexter's dealings. The quality of writing for the Dexter TV series has far outstripped Lindsay's last two Dexter novels.
Profile Image for Eileen.
26 reviews
February 23, 2009
Hmm... I am not quite sure what to make of this. I felt like I was waiting to get into the thick of it but before I knew it, I finished the book - and I don't mean that in a good way. I think it's an improvement over Dexter in the Dark but I still don't think it's as good as the first two books in the series. It lacks that dark, twisted humour that makes the Dexter books such fun, despite the fairly grim subject matter. I know a character needs to evolve and change, but I'm not liking much the new-ish Dexter. I mean, he pretty much whinges in this book, and that is just so unlike him. The event involving Deborah was pretty drastic as well and came out of the blue, and even though it would explain the change in her, it didn't feel quite right either. As for her partner, it felt like he was thrown in just to be a substitue Doakes, and then he was just as easily taken out. Look, it probably wasn't that bad overall; I was just hoping for more after the disaster that Dexter in the Dark was and I so wanted to see more of that delightful wickedness from the first two books. Well, there's definitely Book 5 coming, so I guess one can only hope that Lindsay will deliver in that one.
Profile Image for Emma.
1,102 reviews80 followers
April 26, 2011
Jeff Lindsay seems to be running out of steam. The first two books of this series were amazing. The third was awful. This installment, the fourth, is slightly better than the last.

I love Dexter but a lot of the quick wit and snark that was so prevalent in the first two books seems to be seriously lacking in Dexter By Design. At least the Dark Passenger is back, though. Hoping for a grand finish in the next book.
Profile Image for Chloe.
348 reviews528 followers
May 16, 2010
It has to be bittersweet to be Jeff Lindsay. On the one hand, he's got it made. He made the big time- a creation of his has flourished and attracted international attention and acclaim through that perennial taste-maker, television. On the other, it really has to suck. His lovable psychopath with a pseudo-conscious, Dexter, has taken on a life of his own removed from the constraints of the page and the control of his creator. Dexter's fate is now written by a team of scribes penning furiously for Showtime and Lindsay is left to tool about with a pale vestige of his compelling anti-hero. I imagine this is similar to how parents feel upon sending their kids out into the big wide world to make mistakes on their own- a melancholy triumph.

At this point in the game, we all know Dexter's MO. He's a serial killer who hunts serial killers. Claiming those fiends who have gamed the system and escaped punishment for their crimes, simultaneously sating his unquenchable blood lust and bringing some measure of justice to the sun-baked streets of metropolitan Miami. After a brief (failed) stop in the realm of the supernatural with his previous book, Dexter in the Dark, Lindsay brings Dexter back to the familiar world of run-of-the-mill slicers and dicers that we have grown accustomed to. Someone is carving up tourists in South Beach and turning them into macabre art exhibits. Dexter must stop them while still maintaining his human cover, avoiding unwanted police attention, settling into his new role as step-father/homicidal mentor to an upcoming litter of damaged kids, and his day job as a blood splatter analyst.

What follows over the next 200-odd pages is a decent enough thriller that would surely have entertained and titillated, had I not been a devotee of the Showtime series and seen the wonderfully complex directions that the writers had taken Dexter over the previous four seasons. Too often it seemed as though Lindsay was playing catch-up with the show, squeezing in bits of biography and past vignettes that had been mentioned on the series three years ago, but that are only now being writ into the world of literary Dexter. Likewise, I have come to love watching Michael C. Hall hunt his killers, have the tables turned, and then artfully turn them back again. He's added a depth to the character that just doesn't transfer to the page. Hall gets to show us how smart Dexter is, while Lindsay just ham-fistedly says that Dexter is smarter than everyone else and then proceeds to have him do some of the most ludicrous, stupid, and illogical acts ever. TV Dexter would have caught his literary equivalent years ago.

I can understand the desire to keep milking the cash cow that is Dexter Morgan. Unfortunately there needs to come a time when writers need to accept that things have grown beyond their abilities and turn their efforts to new characters, new pursuits, new plotlines. Sure, Charlaine Harris continues to churn out Sookie books, but she has at least diversified and created new characters in new worlds to act out her wish fulfillment. Lindsay isn't a bad writer, he's just a writer who doesn't know how to let go. I would be very interested in seeing what else he is capable of, but think I will leave my future Dexter adventures firmly in the hands of Showtime.
Profile Image for Thomas Stroemquist.
1,454 reviews120 followers
November 28, 2017
Book 4 in the Dexter series is a return to familiar territory. The 180 that was the revelation of ‘The Dark Passenger’ as a very real, albeit supernatural, being is largely ignored in this book. I had less trouble with that storyline than I would have thought, but I was not sad to see it dropped. Unfortunately, the renewal has not been replaced with anything, but instead we are treated to a Dexter story that is mostly going through the motions. At about half the book, I thought it would be quite enjoyable if you hadn’t read 1-3 already. But that was before the closing chapters that feels like the author just got tired of the whole thing and decided to end it no matter how. The climax is a mess also. Two stars ‘it was ok’ relates almost exclusively to the still often good and witty narrative. I think I’m done with this series now.
Profile Image for Aaron.
344 reviews
March 13, 2018
An excellent piece in the Dexter series. Back on track with the more mundane parts rather than the demonic side the last book ventured off into. The narrator did an excellent job giving voice to all of the characters.
Profile Image for m ♡.
83 reviews77 followers
August 30, 2020
i had a bit of a hard time rating this book because i have a lot of Thoughts about it. let me explain...

so this book was a bit slower than the others, in my opinion. the plot was still very interesting and i enjoyed it overall, but it was slow at times. dexter’s inner monologue was fun to read, as always. and the progression of the book did leave me wanting more (i was constantly wondering what was going to happen next and was excited to read more).

there were some plot holes that confused me, but i still liked this book. it was interesting to see dexter and his dynamic with cody and astor, especially since i’ve seen the show and it’s definitely different, to say the least.

i don’t have much else to say other than i’m excited to see how the rest of the series turns out...

3/5 stars
Profile Image for Stepheny.
381 reviews537 followers
January 11, 2020
This one was like that season of Weeds where things took a hard left from believability into the realm of ridiculous. Still enjoyable but lots of eye rolling.
Profile Image for Kiri.
276 reviews
June 6, 2011
I've begun to ask myself why I keep reading these. The first novel was really good. The second was entertaining. Then came the third novel... we'll just forget about that one it was so odd. No I mean it was ODD.

Obviously this is the fourth novel and as the description mentions Dexter is now married and has two lovely step-children. (I'll let you find out why he adores them so on your own) He returns from his honeymoon - complete with observations about Paris done in Dark Deadly Dexter style. We re-encounter most of the repeat characters, and eventually a plot makes itself known. It should have stayed away.. found another novel perhaps.. better yet beat the author about the ears until it was viable and ready to spring upon the readers.

I think - in the interest of character development perhaps? - Dexter tosses aside the "Rule of Harry" yet again and goes off and gets himself into trouble.. again. (seriously at this rate he'll be arrested by the third chapter of the next book.. no one could be that blind) While a worthwhile antagonist is welcome.. (oh please can we have that story. it'd be SUCH fun) the "opponent" in this book doesn't appear to be the adversary who Dexter was cut out to sharpen his skills against. He's also displaying emotions - despite all his comments to the contrary.

Then there is sister Debbie. While it might intended to be an illustrator of his inability to understand emotion, her behavior and treatment of him (and everyone else) has gone utterly over the top. I didn't pick up that his childhood once he joined the Morgan's was abusive - quite the contrary, it has been portrayed as a loving family situation. He also has indicated emotional bond to all his acknowledged family. Deb is not only extremely rude, she's abusive -- emotionally, mentally manipulative, and lightly on the physical side which includes hitting him (although that is always stated as a punch in the arm although he will avoid it because she repeats the action a few times each episode). Even without the ability to experience emotion that he goes on about this is more than obvious. Sometime in book two I began to ask why she hadn't been reprimanded and counseling introduced. By this book I'm asking wtf she hasn't been fired. Aside from the family dynamics I'd have told her where to get off the bus a while back. If her character seemed to be leading to a point I might not be as strident in my opinion, however her sole purpose seems to be to drag Dexter into a case, prove she's utterly unable to do her job - or be a human being, abuse everyone around her while acting as if it is everyone-else's fault, and not least end up in a life threatening situation that puts Dexter and the rest of those closest to her in imminent (and eminent) danger.

That there isn't much development of characters doesn't help. If Lindsey is headed where I think he is going with Dexter & Co. that would greatly help these books and he doesn't need a great deal of exposition to accomplish it.

I've now finished this and the very last line made me laugh - possibly the only real enjoyment of the whole book. I have the last novel and have begun it but unless something drastically changes I probably will not finish it. Oh and if your interested... the beginning for Dexter is interesting, the first word from Deb enough to make me stop reading.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Claudette Melanson.
Author 13 books1,399 followers
July 18, 2015
Love these books! As I've said in other Dexter reviews, I do love the show more, but it's really unfair to compare the two.

The author comes up with wickedly devious murder scenes...stuff I've never even thought about before. The murders in this book turn out to not actually be murders...but things rapidly progress in that direction. The mystery seemed to be about one thing and then it switched and became another, throwing the reader off guard. There's some trouble with Dexter's foul-mouthed sister, Deborah, and Dexter's worry for her belies his repeated assertion that he's an unfeeling monster.

This also applies to his wife Rita--and a very macabre, intriguing incident happens during their honeymoon at the beginning--and to her two children, as well. Personally, Dexter appears to be more emotionally involved with them, but I know that's because of...well, I can't say without giving a major spoiler away. That part of the books is very curious indeed. As I've said before, Rita disappoints, but that's only because she was so much more in the show. In the book, she really is more the type of person a serial killer might choose to be part of his cover story.

Dexter starts to attract unwanted attention from law enforcement in this book--other than from his nemesis, Doakes. I think this tension will only grow in future books. He really gets lucky sometime, but is very human in those moments he really doesn't know how to explain himself. I like his interaction with Chutsky, Deb's boyfriend, and their little jaunt to chase after the killer is both amusing and anxiety-ridden. The chase had me wishing for more time to read.

The only big downfall about this one was that we don't really see Dexter doing what he does best very much at all. That element of hunter stalking his prey, catching prey, punishing prey...well, it was lacking in this one. I don't like seeing Dexter become more tame. But that didn't take away any tightness from the plot, and there were still plenty of moments that had me on the edge of my seat. It entertained and I enjoyed the time I spent reading, so that definitely earns a 4.5.
Profile Image for Paula.
Author 1 book208 followers
December 17, 2009
Jeff Lindsay must have been sweating sticky burrs waiting to see how this book would be received. Of course, the three previous Dexter books had done very well, so well that somebody went and gone and made it into a TV series, a CABLE TV series, complete with butts and the eff-word and everything. But now... will even Jeff Lindsay's dearly devoted fans prefer the original article - Book Dexter - or will they be so used to C. Thomas Hall's Dexter (or Anthony Michael Howell or is it Philip Michelle Thomas? Man, what is it with these three-name guys lately? Especially three BORING name guys? If your name were Crispin Chiwitel Sarsgaard, I could see whipping all that out - soup, main course, and dessert. But otherwise... it's too much trouble)...

What was I saying?

So, it's kind of an interesting choice that Mr. Lindsay has written a Dexter book in which - SPOILER - Dexter doesn't kill much of anyone, and Deb is lying in a coma for most of the book. There's less of that excellent Deborah swearing, and MUCH less hands-on mayhem. Please TELL me that this isn't because everybody's going to clean up their act and grow a conscience (or a sense of decorum). I imagine not. In fact Dexter by Design feels rather specifically like HALF a book. Maybe three-quarters. We're missing the third act, in which Dexter perks up, takes control of the situation, and murders a few people; and in which Deborah perks up, doesn't quite know what's going on, and sleeps with a few people. While charging around saying "fuck" a lot.

Call me shallow. But this is the shallowest shit I read, and I kind of want my shallow the way I want it.

On the other hand - "poop van" - I laughed so hard I woke my husband up.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Marvin.
1,414 reviews5,315 followers
January 17, 2010
After the only partially entertaining misstep of Dexter in The Dark I was hoping for a return to the killer charm of the first two books in this series. The first two chapters in this fourth installment titled Dexter By Design began to fulfill that exception. The devilish wit was back along with a smart introduction to the theme of "murder as art". Yet soon the novel descended into being the most disappointing of the series. Like the third book, it isn't that it is not entertaining. But the author seems to be running out of steam. There are some promising ideas in this book; The two little children as mini-Dexters and Deborah's conflict with her brother's dark passenger for instance. And I cheered at the return of Doakes. Yet none of these take off and we are left with a loosely constructed story that pales with the other plots in this series and is, to be frank, full of holes bigger than the ones Dexter makes with his knife. And while we are on the topic, Is Dexter wimping out? Even a nice serial killer should be doing some serial killing. That's what makes Dexter...well... Dexter. The really ironic thing is that the Dexter TV series has become much more original and daring than the novels. Yes, I liked this enough, so I'll move it to two and a half stars, However, the fifth installment will really need to pick up the pace to keep me interested. I understand it will be called Dexter is Delicious and will involve cannibalism. Dare I hope?
Profile Image for Thibault Busschots.
Author 3 books27 followers
June 20, 2022
This story brings us back to the real world instead of dragging the series down again in the supernatural, which is appreciated. It’s definitely better than the previous book, but that’s not much of a compliment. Overall, this story is okay but it does lack some of the charm and wittiness of the TV series.
Profile Image for Lena.
1,136 reviews238 followers
October 6, 2020
Well, we are back on track. Killer verses killer and even Debra is getting on board. That said, this was just ok. But I want to know what happens next.
Profile Image for Sara.
6 reviews
August 16, 2018
I've just finished to read this book after a break from the Dexter's book.
First of all, I need to say that I have already seen the TV series and actually LOVED it really much, so I was curious about the books where it all comes from.
I was happy to discover that, excluding the first book, the plots in books are completely different from the ones of each season of the TV series, because for me was like "yey, more stories on my favorite serial killer". I was happy after the first, second and third book, but I have something to say about this one.
Like the ones before, there's a criminal who needs to be cared of like only Dexter can do, but a fatal error made it all more complicated that it had never been.
During the whole story, he's not very "active" and he looks less motivated to find the bad guy than before. It looks like his new family had changed him into a soft stepfather. In addition, there were almost no space at all for his little hobby and this made him even softer.
Tha fact that no one suspect he is not what he seems makes the story a little less believable, especially Rita's behavior; a woman who lives with him and never ask any question at all, like "where have you been?", "why is this happening?" or "what does it mean...?"
In conclusion, despite all the things I said here, I'm still reading the series and hoping it will get better soon!
Profile Image for Helen Power.
Author 10 books425 followers
September 13, 2017
I enjoyed Dexter by Design, but not as much as the previous books in this series. The killer wasn't as dynamic, and the staged deaths were a little bit too much. That said, my favourite part was the overly-done art exhibit that Dexter went to in France, which was in just the first chapter. That was deliciously dark and disturbing (to take a page out of Dexter's alliteration book!).

One thing that really irritated me, and made me bump the rating down one whole star, was Dexter's incessant need to criticize common idioms. I love how Dexter observes humanity as an outsider, which makes for a unique perspective. HOWEVER, Dexter is (usually) quite smart, and he should be able to understand some of these expressions. One time he comments on the expression "It's just a flesh wound", saying that all wounds are flesh wounds. Yes, Dexter, but not all wounds are just flesh wounds. You wouldn't say that to someone who just got shot in the brain.

Another phrase he critiqued was "first things first". He said that first things always come first, so the expression is meaningless. That resulted in me doing a literal face palm. *Sigh*. You don't have to try to be clever all the time, Dexter, because sometimes you just come across as stupid.

This brings me to my final criticism. Dexter wasn't particularly bright in this book, and he made quite a few mistakes that had me cringing. I totally understand why he . But towards the end of the book, he was pretty slow on the uptake, which the author cleverly attributed to the possibility that he had a concussion. That's one way to explain away uncharacteristic bouts of stupidity.

Now, for some praise. I absolutely loved how Dexter skirted around real human emotion in this book. The way he considers that he might lose someone he kinda sorta cares about was really fascinating. I think that Lindsay spent a lot of time choosing his words carefully here, and it made for an interesting read.

Profile Image for Mur Lafferty.
Author 131 books1,483 followers
February 4, 2011
Dexter books are enjoyable, although the characters are pretty one-dimensional, especially compared to the TV show. Debra has one mode in this book- grumpy and swearing. Rita is a vapid waste. Dexter is pretty slow, as the author tries to build up to something, the reader can see it coming and just wishes he'd get on with it. Pacing is slower than I remember in the other books; I really don't need to know about Dexter choosing what parking space to take, or the details about his drinks and the flight attendants' attitude on an otherwise uneventful flight. (This is the bonus of audio, I can just zone out and then listen again when it get interesting.)

The good parts- Lindsay keeps us squicked with the sheer weirdness and disgusting manner of the antagonist du jour, and I really appreciated the fact that the antagonist is gay, but that has nothing to do with the story. It just so happens that he's gay; there are no gay slurs or mentions about his orientation beyond mentioning he was angry because of something about his boyfriend. (Since he is the antagonist I expected someone to make a slur against the homicidal queer or something.) We do learn some more about Dexter's origin, and he explores some unexpected, almost emotion-like responses.

Dexter books are very popcorn-like, not a lot of thought needed, but enjoyable to see a different kind of hero. One weird thing about the end follows a jump here-

Is that enough spoiler space? Hope so.

So what happened with Debra and specifically Kyle? The Debra plot thread, her wanting to leave the force, not feeling close to Kyle, seemed to dangle at the end. Anyone get more out of this than me? I could have zoned out while listening to the epilogue, although I'm sure I didn't.
Profile Image for Don Jimmy Reviews.
627 reviews21 followers
March 15, 2021
Continuing my journey with Dexter by jumping straight in to book 4 of the series. I found this one a bit slower to be honest. I still enjoyed it, but not as much as the others.
Profile Image for Heather (Curious Fox Reads).
152 reviews37 followers
June 14, 2021
Quick and Dirty: Interesting new bodies are dropping in Miami, and Dexter grabs the attention of this new murderer. Some twists emerge, and the story with Dexter's little family explains. Waiting to see how this storyline with the children develops, as it was 'too dark' for the tv version.

Dexter ratings so far:

Darkly Dreaming Dexter: ★★★★☆
Dearly Devoted Dexter: ★★★★☆
Dexter in the Dark: ★★★☆☆
139 reviews3 followers
September 19, 2009
This has enough of the entertainment value of a Dexter book to be worthwhile, but a lot of the dark fun of a first person sociopath's narration was missing, in part because Dexter doesn't really get to ply his trade in this book. Lindsay is leaning more towards the cat and mouse/nemesis plotlines that also permeate earlier books, but part of the fun was how quotidian murder used to be for dexter, as much a part of his routine as going to the gym, and accompanied by wonderfully detached observations of human behavior.

Also, although you (or at least I) don't expect grand poetically symmetrical plots from a dexter book, this one seemed to leave a few rather irritating loose ends. Dexter never really addresses the fact that he killed someone who was "innocent," at least in the sense of not being up to his code. In the end, he never properly explains his obvious connection to the killer the police are chasing, and even if there isn't evidence that Dexter committed a crime, suspicion about him should be getting strong enough and widespread enough that he can't just shake it off with glib excuses anymore. Rita, even by Rita's standards, seems to have no curiousity about why she was abducted by someone determined to get to Dexter, nor at wht Dexter brought her children to the rescue. Dexter's sister's personality change is somewhat abrupt too, like Lindsay's really not sure where he wants to go with her, or regrets some of the places he's already gone. In all, I'm hoping that all of these loose threads prove to be prologue for the next book, and it's certainly better that the whole sentient/ancient God "dark passenger" storyline seems to be fading from view a bit.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Ladiibbug.
1,547 reviews61 followers
January 20, 2011
#4 Dexter Morgan (Mild mannered Miami P.D. blood spatter expert by day, serial killer of bad guys by night)

Books in this series are the basis for the Showtime/CBS TV series

1/19/11 Re-read :-)

Original 2008 Review:

BRILLIANT! ABSOLUTELY BRILLIANT!! Or, since it's Dexter, perhaps I should say Bloody Brilliant. Or Bizarrely Bloody Brilliant ;-)

Dexter and his new wife Rita return from a honeymoon in Paris where they've visited several art venues, from the classic to the truly bizarre. Coincidentally, on his return to work at the Miami Police Dept. corpses are appearing in weirdly posed (and gruesome) public places.

Jeff Lindsay's writing is simply superb. So much is happening in this book, but the reader is always able to effortlessly follow each story line as they play out throughout the book. The author's calm and understated writing and words while telling a BIZARRE and chilling story are such a contrast -- the incongruity is one more joy in this book.

Wit? You like wit? JL's got plenty of that as well:

"I knew about Deborah because Chutsky called me right away, as excited as if she had just swum the English Channel towing a piano."

Several new or ongoing developments in this #4 leave me giddy to get my hands on the next book! This was so much fun that I'm planning to reread 1-3 very soon :-)

Warning: Not for the very weak of stomach
Profile Image for Siobhan.
4,411 reviews463 followers
September 28, 2015
Book four of the Dexter series does not follow the path of book three, in which there is an almost supernatural element involved with the Dark Passenger backstory. With book four we’re back to basics, with Dexter doing what he does best. Whilst it isn’t the best of the Dexter books it is another gripping read filled with the usual lovable Dexter moments (his wit in particular keeping you smiling throughout).

Filled with the characters we have come to know and love (or possibly hate, in some cases), we follow Dexter throughout more troublesome times. As it has already been said, this isn’t the best of the Dexter books but it is needed if you plan to continue reading through the series. The ending in particular is important, leaving us ready and waiting for the next book in the series.

If you’re a big Dexter fan do not stop here, I promise it does keep getting better!
Profile Image for Laura (crofteereader).
867 reviews32 followers
April 20, 2019
I'll admit that I skipped book 3 in this series because my library didn't have the audiobook for it, but I assumed (and was correct) that this is the kind of series where you don't really need to strictly read the books in order.

So, compared to books one and two (which I did read), this one was considerably weaker. We didn't have the great ensemble cast of Deborah and Dokes and Vince and Rita that I'd gotten used to. Instead, it was more of Dexter floundering about and wondering why he wasn't the smartest and most charming person in the room. Not to mention some truly out of character vigilante stuff.

Luckily for me, one of my audibook holds came through and I can take a break from debatably disastrous Dexter.
Profile Image for Tim.
2,084 reviews192 followers
February 5, 2013
It would appear the Dexter phenomenon has run its course with this installment. Tame, lame and too much emphasis on kids and family compared to Dexter predecessors. Showtime does a much better job than the book. 2 of 10 stars
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