Double Dexter – Novel Review
By Rob Siebert
Editor, Fanboy Wonder
Double Dexter, Jeff Lindsay’s sixth Dexter book, is the worst in the series. While the TV show, which is loosely based on the books, has maintained a consistently high quality, the books seem to be getting progressively worse.
In this book, the unthinkable happens to Dexter, a serial killer who only kills those who fit his moral code. Someone catches him in the act, and then flees the scene. Dexter soon begins to receive cryptic and threatening emails from his witness, and very bad things start to happen for America’s favorite murderer. At the same time, a new serial killer shows up in Miami who brutally beats his victims to death, but doesn’t break their skin. As Dexter and his sister, Sergeant Deborah Morgan of Miami Metro Homicide, follow this new killer’s trail, Dexter must keep his private life from unravelling. Along for the ride is his wife Rita, Rita’s children Astor and Cody, his infant daughter Lily Anne, and his brother Brian (a less moralistic serial killer).
The premise of Dexter being seen by an innocent bystander has been explored on the TV show, but this is the first Dexter story in which someone has seen our main character’s dirty deeds and almost immediately become a threat to him. It’s an intriguing idea, which unfortunately isn’t used effectively until the last fourth of this book. Up until that point, much of the narrative is rather dull. One could easily skip pages at a time and not miss anything essential. For instance, a significant portion of this book is devoted to a boy scout camping trip Dexter goes on with Cody. The story between Dexter and his witness had just taken an extremely interesting twist, but Lindsay pulls us away from that to go camping. Granted, the sequence winds up furthering the witness storyline significantly at the very end, but does the end justify the means if we’ve put the book down before we get there? Probably not.
Rita’s character is also rather annoying in this book. She’s persistently nagging Dexter about buying a new house, and bumbling through sentences like a moron. In the book, she has no redeeming qualities other than simply being Dexter’s wife and the mother of his kids. She’s almost an antagonist.
Dexter’s humorous banter is rendered mostly ineffective this time around. I’m finding that the better the story is, the more effective Dexter’s wit is. In contrast, if you’re bored to death for most of the book, it becomes contrived and annoying.
Lindsay had a good premise for this book, but he failed to execute it in an entertaining way. Is it unfair to expect the books to be as successful as the show? Maybe, maybe not. But regardless, this book feels like a phone-in that’s packed with needless, uninteresting, unentertaining fluff. Lindsay can do much better than this.
Front page image from litereactor.com. Lindsay image from telegraph.co.uk.
For more from Dexter and Jeff Lindsay, check out Dexter Is Delicious.