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.
We’ve already established that the Dexter TV show strays so far away from the book version. Which is a bummer. And we’ve also established how genius the series are. So yeah, don’t expect for the Trinity Killer on Dexter By Design. Instead, Dexter is now married to Rita and is in Paris for their honeymoon. He can’t wait to go back to Miami and get back to his favorite hobby-hunting down bad people and cutting them up. But while in Paris, the newlyweds discovered a concept where body parts – real body parts! – are being used as an art piece in an art gallery. How original (and gross!). Upon their return, Dexter is called to investigate a new series murder where bodies are mutilated and arranged in some kind of an artistic display. Naturally, his attention is piqued. He can’t let this monster get away, can he?
This time, the paranormal aspect of the last book is nowhere in sight, thank goodness! I have so much doubt in continuing the series, but I can’t just stop, too, and not know how Dexter’s story will end. Well, in the book at least. So, I go ahead and plunged back to Dexter’s dark world. The old Dexter is back so to speak. This one is a huge improvement than the last, in my opinion. Dexter is showing emotions that he keeps on insisting he’s not capable of, but the fact that he cares not only about his sister but Rita’s family as well is enough evidence that Dexter is just like normal people, contrary to his claim. Also, I can’t believe he’s been so sloppy. For the first time, our friendly serial killer made a huge mistake by not strictly following the Harry Code and it bounced back onto him and threatening the secret life he’s leading to be revealed. Now, Dexter is the one being hunted and it’s a nice twist to see how someone with the likes of him reacts to such threat. And finally, the series address the issue of Deborah knowing about Dexter’s dark secret which I believe is long overdue. It is a wonder how she managed to hold off that long.
The deaths are still as gruesome and disturbing as ever and not suitable for those with a weak stomach. Dexter’s dark humor is also present and sometimes it’s chuckle-worthy but there are times that it can get tiring, too. There’s also not enough crime solving/killing that happened which I’m a little disappointed. Hey, don’t judge me, the main character is a serial killer in the first place. One more thing that I don’t get are the few unnecessary scenes that I believe the story can do without.
The killer is interesting with his “artistic nature” and can be weighed as a worthy adversary for Dexter. Another interesting bit are the kids, Astor and Cody. I actually enjoy reading about them than I did Dexter at some point. They even appear more clever than him at times. Their eagerness to learn the Harry Code is unsettling. Aside from them and Dexter, the other characters are somewhat a disappointment. Deborah is always grumpy and Rita can be really annoying which makes them both so hard to like.
Despite all that, Dexter By Design is still a good mystery thriller read. It is not amazing but not bad either. Will it get better on the next book, though? Well, let’s find out.
(*Photos and synopsis courtesy of Goodreads)
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