“If we are capable of learning anything at all in this life, we very quickly discover that any time somebody is absolutely certain about something, they are almost always absolutely wrong, too.” – Dexter Morgan (Double Dexter)
UPDATE: Spoiler Alert: I’ve read it, you might not have done. I may unintentionally discuss bits and pieces of the plot line that you didn’t want to know before you read it! You were warned, although thanks to Facebook I do acknowledge that I should have put a spoiler warning up. Sorry about that! – DD
I’ve just finished reading Jeff Lindsay’s latest foray into the merrily homicidal metropolis of Miami – Double Dexter. Fresh from nearly being eaten alive at the hands of a deranged cannibal and only saved by the skin of his teeth (and his brother, who’d fortuitously armed himself with a shotgun), Dexter settles back into suburbia and looks forwards to working through it with his Dex-guise (ha, that’s a really bad portmanteau, but I think you can live with it). For about three seconds. Lindsay doesn’t disappoint, and Dexter is off murdering within about two paragraphs. Dexter’s dark activity is going quite well until an unexpected event shatters Dexter’s calm facade, and puts Dexter on the run from something even he can’t predict.
Couple Dexter’s troubles on the slightly illegal hobby with Rita looking wistfully at her piece of suburbia and thinking, to wit, that she’d like her fiefdom to be a little bit larger with the expansion of Chez Morgan in Dexter is Delicious, detectives getting completely the wrong end of the stick and Dexter having to deal with the fallout, and the ever-present Doakes – and Mr. Morgan has his hands tied behind his back, watching the spinning plates trying to tumble left, right and centre and with someone mischievously changing the law of gravity when Dexter’s not looking.
If you will permit the somewhat deranged analogy, Lindsay’s newest book is like a pot of coffee which you’re warming up on the stove. You’re looking forwards to it, and there a few things through the book that capture your attention, and for a while you think not much is happening, but you turn your back for just a second and then there’s coffee all over the floor. The same is true for Double Dexter, which I was reading for a little while, picking up little details here and there, and the next minute everything exploded in Dexter’s face, went wrong all at once, and thence began the roller coaster ride all the way to the finish. To give you an idea, I was about two thirds through the book when I picked it up for a quick read at 10:00pm before I went to sleep for the night, and the next thing I knew, it was nearly midnight and I’d read the remainder of the book.
Dexter seems to have refrained from killing his main antagonist again. This continues a trend established in Dexter in the Dark – where Dexter’s family is either intentionally or unintentionally involved in offing the major threat to Dexter – in Dexter in the Dark it’s Cody and Astor who help Dexter to escape from the Watcher and severely injure the Watcher in the process, in Dexter by Design Rita’s hip combined with gravity causes Brandon Weiss’ death by exsanguination when he cuts his arm off with a circular saw, and in Dexter is Delicious it’s Brian who rides to the rescue with a shotgun. This is not a problem – maybe Lindsay is going for a warped version of “the family that prays together stays together” and has come up with “the family that slays together stays together”. I’m not going to blow the major details – that, I think, would be considered rude – but it should suffice to say that death once again doesn’t come as a direct result of Dexter’s action. This is just my personal view, however. I think that Lindsay is pursuing the right tactic in making sure that Dexter shoots through squeaky clean and completely free of suspicion at the end of every book – but I like a little bloodshed. That’s just me though.
The book itself is fantastic, but the only thing I have is trying to remember that the TV and the literary series follow different story lines and sometimes get a little confused when dead characters are suddenly imbued with life again. I would still argue the point that TV Dexter gets a little more knife action than his literary counterpart (and he does kill his antagonist), but this is by no means a fault. It’s just me saying that a bit more stabby stab wouldn’t go amiss in my eyes, but don’t let this detract from what is an excellent book and a fine homage to the rest of the series.
Lindsay’s sense of humour is clearly just as unchained as ever – enough to make sure that you cop funny looks for laughing out loud in the dead of night – with some quite adroit observations scattered throughout the book. I can’t repeat my favourite ironic observation that Dexter comes out with just yet since it happens to be a central part of the plot line, and since the book is still unreleased at this time, it’d be unfair to completely blow the plot line out of the water before everyone else gets a chance to have a read. So, in short, if you like Dexter and you thought that the last two books were building on an already impressive foundation, grab the new boy when it finally hits the shelves on October 18. From what I can gather it should cost you about $29.99, which is about the same price as enough caffeiney goodness to choke a small horse with. Not that I advocate cruelty to equines, and if you do feed that much caffeine to a horse you’re a bit of a bastard, but for the price of just ten cups of coffee or a DVD (not that there’s much that’s good out at the moment, with the obvious exception of Dexter: Season 5), you can score yourself the master of murder and mayhem’s latest. Just don’t take any hints on vivisection from its lead character, because I’m assured that’s illegal, and while Dexter has so far managed to avoid prison for his actions, you might not.
I know that I really shouldn’t be stealing quotes from another TV show to quantify my thoughts about this book, but since this is my blog I shall do so and hope to God that I don’t get in trouble (fingers crossed): to paraphrase Jeremy Clarkson, the only hesitation I would have with giving it five stars out of five is that ideally, I’d like to give it six.
Disclaimer: The author of this post was provided with an uncorrected galley proof of Double Dexter by Doubleday Publishing, an imprint of Random House. Because this is not a final copy of the book, publication dates and prices quoted are tentative (and since I’m a blogger and not a reseller, God only knows what they will really go for!). I have never met Jeff Lindsay; but I do happen to like his work. No, I’m not being paid for the review.