Here's the deal: a good book writes its own review, triggering sufficient spontaneity to fill the page without reaching for bits of interest; this is one of those books, pushing aside all those mundane summer novels, leaving the reader with a satisfying, "Ah."
The attractively ghoulish protagonist is a sociopath and a murderer, but one with a "conscience", unfortunately an asset as manufactured as his other feelings. But Dexter does his best, given the circumstances. Brilliant and introspective, Dexter charms from the first page, even while distracted, dismembering his latest victim. What makes Dexter's extra-curricular activity bearable is the reason he kills: Dexter only chooses victims who have perpetrated foul deeds, those who would continue harming innocents if not stopped. To be honest, who hasn't secretly applauded the occasional vigilante who takes justice in his own hands, balancing the scales a bit?
Essentially passionless in his pursuit of evil-doers, Dexter is an elegant ghoul, fascinated by blood, the essence of human life. With the self-control of a recently sated vampire, Dexter is intelligent and thorough in his murderous pursuits. Like Rice's Vampire Lestat, this more human predator has a dark, romantic appeal, his dispassionate regard for "necessary" murders seductive and curiously erotic.
Dexter spends his days as a blood spatter analyst for the Miami Dade PD, the perfect job for keeping up with current crime scenes and maintaining a cover, not to mention the chance to troll for other deserving victims. Lurking behind his public self, Dexter is as secure as a serial killer can be. Until another killer shows up, perfectly modeling Dexter's MO. Both anxious and intrigued, Dexter scents a challenge, another creature of the night that lives with a Dark Passenger, as he refers to his murdering alter-ego. But Dexter is torn; he covets this newcomer for himself, but has promised to help his half-sister policewoman solve the case in her bid to become a detective.
Suddenly events spiral out of control, Dexter's careless insouciance is a thing of the past, as he is pursued by dark dreams and chaotic nightmares. Like Alice in Wonderland lost in a psychedelic trance, Dexter tumbles down the rabbit hole. What he finds is completely unexpected, a twisted, deviant detour into horror, startling the man who has thought himself incapable of shock. One has to wonder about Dexter's powers of self-preservation, whether he is tempting fate and secretly wants to be caught.
Lindsay has delivered an inspired mystery, one that demands to be read, in one sitting if possible, the elegant Dexter speaking to the need for justice where often there is none. Can't help but smile at the young man's antics, dancing in the moon-drenched night with his own demons and skirting the edge of mayhem. With infinite grace, the author reaches into the dark heart of each of us, igniting atavistic memory, no doubt with a smile on his face. Luan Gaines/2004.