Dexter, quite possibly one of fictions most charming serial killers, is back in book 2 dodging punches from Deb, spouting off quips and doing a little righteous slaying. This time he’s hunting down a pedophile to calm his “dark passenger” but he‘s having a hard time finding some “me” time because of the unavoidable humans in his life.
Dexter is being shadowed by Sergeant Doakes who suspects he is up to no good in his free time (and he is or would be if people would leave him alone). This forces Dexter to pretend to be a boring human and spend most nights with his faux girlfriend Rita and her two kids watching tv. As if all that weren’t bad enough, his sister Detective Deb insists she needs his assistance on a case and drags him along with her to do some sleuthing. When he sees the first limbless, lipless, tongue-less (well, you get the picture) but still breathing victim he is intrigued by the man’s work and cheers up a bit, hoping to find the man and learn his secrets. Mayhem, murder and an unexpected change in his “romance” with Rita follow.
I found it all quite entertaining in a darkly sarcastic and humorous way but I’m not a hardcore murder mystery/police procedural fan and this is more of a quirky character study. If it’s hardboiled crime and air-tight plots you’re looking for you will probably find a lot of holes in this story because it relies on a lot of improbable situations, most of it slightly humorous. There is also no overly described violence or gore here and the situations Dexter finds himself in can border on the ridiculous but it always amused me. The author has a knack for funny descriptions, like this one, that just work for me.
“He stood there for a moment, gaping around, his receding reddish hair looking like it had gone through a storm and his pale belly hanging slightly over the waist of his dingy pajama bottoms. He did not look terribly dangerous to me, but of course I was not a five-year-old boy. After a moment, in which he stood with his mouth open, and scratched himself, and looked like he was a modeling for a statue of the greek God of Stupidity. . .”
But the writing is not without its annoying quirks. Listening to Dexter refer to himself as “Dear Departed Dexter”, “Dour Dutiful Dexter, “Dutifully Dashing Dexter”. “Dimpled Dexter” and “Dexter the Sofa Spud” gets old quickly on audio. Dexter in the third person was often too cutesy for his own good and started to sound really corny as the book went along.
As with Darkly Dreaming Dexter, I again listened to the audio version read by author Jeff Lindsay. If you’ve read my review for that audiobook all of the same narration complaints hold true here. Once again, Deb is portrayed as a woman who never simply speaks but barks out every word with impatience and unpleasantness. She alternates between being a grouchy, demanding bitch and a hysterical mess. Jeff Lindsay does a very good job voicing Dexter though. His voice is calm, funny and a little geeky so I guess I can deal with the obnoxious Deb even if the performance makes me cringe!