I enjoyed the first two Langdon books, but never thought of them as high literature. In some sense this third book suffers from the popularity of TheI enjoyed the first two Langdon books, but never thought of them as high literature. In some sense this third book suffers from the popularity of The Da Vinci Code by raising expectations too high and also letting Dan Brown coast through his already weak writing a bit too much (a lot of the story just doesn't feel nearly as clever as the previous books). The setup in the book is fairly solid with some promise, but the plot really starts to meander and fall apart in the second half, becoming extremely predictable, which is exactly not what one should have in a thriller of this sort. The villain is almost a caricature since Brown had to "beat" his villain from the previous book. The plotting also suffers greatly from a timing perspective; about 10% of the book is a wrapping-up of the unanswered threads which occurs after the grand finale...with all tension removed this end part is much more boring than satisfying. The book relies way too heavily on mysticism and at times seems purposefully and overly apologetic to religion in order to assuage those upset by his previous books....more
This is the second book about vigilante serial killer Dexter Morgan, and while it didn't have the missing ending of the first book, most of the characThis is the second book about vigilante serial killer Dexter Morgan, and while it didn't have the missing ending of the first book, most of the characters seemed to take a step backwards in dimensionality.
Maybe I didn't notice it in the first book because I was busy comparing how that book compared to the first season of the TV show. This second novel has much less to do with the TV show than the first novel did (the TV writers/producers went off in a different direction although there are a few elements worked in here and there), so I could focus on the story as something unique. And in many ways it failed. First off, there was no mystery, as such. The authorities knew who was responsible almost immediately, the problem was catching him. Which interestingly enough, no one actually seemed to be interested in doing throughout the entire book. Instead they merely sat around waiting for him to strike again, and if they got a lead, no one could be bothered to, I don't know, call for backup. Ever. Even when crippled and on pain killers.
Second, the characters are remarkably flat and unrealistic. It's one thing to develop your main character as incapable of human emotion and feeling and faking his way through everything in life, but the rest of the "cast" barely seems much better; their emotional response to much of what happens in the book is almost nonsensical. I think I was most frustrated by Deb and Kyle, supposedly intelligent people with the mental and emotional acuity of a hamster. ...more
This is the novel that the TV show "Dexter" was based on. Specifically, the first season of the show more-or-less follows this novel (my understandingThis is the novel that the TV show "Dexter" was based on. Specifically, the first season of the show more-or-less follows this novel (my understanding is the second season does not follow the subsequent novels).
Overall, the book is quite interesting, being the story of a blood-splatter expert for the Miami crime lab who happens to also be a serial killer (I don't feel like I'm giving any spoilers away...it's the entire premise of the book and revealed quite clearly on the cover matter). The story revolves around his reaction to another serial killer stalking Miami.
I had already seen, and enjoyed, the TV show before reading this book so that always will color ones impression and one can't help but compare. In some sense, the most interesting part of the comparison is how closely the TV show followed the novel. The first half of the novel and the TV show are largely identical, but at about the halfway point they start to diverge, more and more dramatically as the story progresses.
The biggest problem I had with the book was the ending, which felt incomplete. And I don't mean incomplete in a cliff-hanger sort of way. There is a rather big scene jump toward the end of the novel and what happened in between the end of one scene and the start of the next is never adequately explained. You can infer a lot of what must have happened, but I wasn't happy with the ambiguity of possibilities. It could be that the missing explanation is, in fact, in the next novel, but it took away from my final pleasure of finishing the book.
In general, tracing from start to finish, the tightness of the book falls apart a bit as it goes along. This might be purposeful: the story is semi-first person and the looser structure could be reflecting the mental distress of the protagonist as he agonizes over the unexpected changes in his life, but it might also be simply poor writing....more