Dearly Devoted Dexter (2005) is a crime/horror novel by Jeff Lindsay, the second in his series about sociopathic vigilante Dexter Morgan, which has been adapted into the eponymous television series. Read Book 1 Review Here:
In this acclaimed follow-up to the bestselling novel Darkly Dreaming Dexter, we pick up with Dexter Morgan when he’s under considerable pressure. It’s not easy being an ethical serial killer—but he’s doing his best to keep up the disguise, spending time with his girlfriend and her kids, slowly becoming the world’s first serial killer couch potato.
“Everyone is so cheerful and happy,” I said
“This isn’t Mister Rogers Neighborhood, Dex. It’s Miami. Only the bad guys are happy.” She looked at me without expression, a perfect cop stare. “How come you’re not laughing and singing?”
“Unkind, Deb. Very unkind. I’ve been good for months.”
She took a sip of water. “Uh-huh. And it’s making you crazy.”
Then a particularly nasty psychopath starts cutting a trail through Miami and killer whose twisted techniques leave even Dexter speechless.
A shadowy, sadistic figure from Sgt. Doakes’ past arrives in Miami, and begins preying on his treacherous old U.S. Army colleagues from the Salvadoran Civil War. He possesses a unique method of torture that has earned him the nickname “Dr. Danco”: He kidnaps each victim, pumps them full of sedatives, and, over a period of several days, steadily removes their limbs, genitalia and facial features, before leaving them to contemplate their hideous mutilation in front of a carefully placed mirror.
Meanwhile, Dexter, having been forced to suppress his own psychotic urges by the machinations of an increasingly suspicious Doakes, welcomes the distraction and begins to focus on hunting down a possible child killer.
“But of course, very few people are Dexter. This is generally a good thing, but in this case it came in handy to be me. Four months after reading a story in the paper about a missing boy, I read a similar story. The boys were around the same age; details like that always ring a small bell and send a Mister Rogers whisper trickling through my brain: “Hello, neighbor.”
When his sister Deborah, a tough-as-nails cop, is drawn into the case, it becomes clear that Dexter will have to do something about it. Unless, of course, the killer finds him first.
Amidst all the chaos, Dexter finds himself accidentally engaged to his girlfriend Rita and begins to have suspicions of Cody (Rita’s youngest child) of sociopathic tendencies that Dexter himself had as a child.
Best parts of the book: Rita’s fake proposal, the mouthwatering description of the sandwiches and the near-death realization that he wants to be a dad to Cody
“It was indeed a long wait, well over two hours. I sat in the car and listened to the radio and tried to picture, bite by bite, what it was like to eat a medianochesandwich: the
crackle of the bread crust, so crisp and toasty it scratches the inside of your mouth as you bite down. Then the first taste of mustard, followed by the soothing cheese and the salt of the meat. Next bite—a piece of pickle. Chew it all up; let the flavors mingle. Swallow. Take a big sip of Iron Beer (pronounced Ee-roan Bay-er, and it’s a soda). Sigh. Sheer bliss. I would rather eat than do anything else except play with the Passenger. It’s a true miracle of genetics that I am not fat.”
I also loved the show-down of passengers between Dexter and Doakes and the epic stag do that the office guys threw for him.
“What to wear? I could think of no guidelines on what we were wearing this season to a party forced on you to celebrate an unwanted engagement that might turn into a violent confrontation with a vengeful maniac. Clearly brown shoes were out, but beyond that nothing really seemed de rigueur.”
Worst parts of the book: The relationship between Debra and the FBI agent seems a bit out of character for her. She actually blushes, turns mellow and is very much with the head in the air. Not like the ass-kicking gal we know. The other things that disturbed me (besides the murders) was how the victims were handled. They discover the victim, chopped and mutilated and instead of taking care of him until the medics arrive, they go in pursuit of the killer.
While this book is just as long as the first, significantly less happens. The books get longer after this one, which is a very good thing in my eyes.
Considering how detached Dexter is from the world around him, and how little emotion he displays towards the people in his life, this story would have worked so much better as a short, or a novella. Even though I love reading Dexter’s inner-monologue, it gets to be a bit boring after awhile.
What differs from the TV show: Doakes is captured and tortured and has bits missing off of him. In the show, they kept him around for longer as he was such an enjoyable antagonist.