Friday, February 3, 2012

Review: Dexter in the Dark by Jeff Lindsay

Those who know me also know precisely how I feel about “Scooby Doo” reveals. They usually see my eye start twitching, see me chewing my tongue in vain, and simply wait for the outburst to occur. I’m not entirely sure why this happens. The Hound of the Baskervilles is one of those sorts of stories, and it’s on my top ten list for favorite books to re-read. And yet, whenever I read it, a part of me always says, “Oh, come on, why can’t Holmes just be stumped by the supernatural for once?” Of course, when I did find a book like that, it…was all right, but it wasn’t that great. So maybe it’s better the way it is.

All this to say, I generally dislike those types of endings. This is the reason I’ve decided not to struggle through the first flowery chapters of Udolpho and Emily’s Incorruptible Pure Pureness. And this, I have to say, is why I don’t like the Dexter TV series as much as the books. Why? On the TV series, Dexter’s Dark Passenger seems to manifest as his adoptive father, indicating it’s all just part of his own psyche. In the books?

The Dark Passenger’s a frikking demon.

That’s right, I gave it away, although I’m going to use a Mom line and say it was pretty painfully obvious from the start. Dexter constantly treats the Passenger as a separate entity, frequently talks about “invisible black wings” and “sibilant giggles”. Does This Remind You Of Anything?

Now Lindsay never goes into detail about whether this is a demon in the truest Judeo-Christian sense, or if we’re in one of those stories where demons are simply just malevolent spiritual entities.

Either way, this book made me very happy, because Lindsay didn’t handwave some explanation about “oh it’s his psyche we all know he’s crazy so there ya go”. And with that out of the way, onto the review.

After a very bizarre first chapter indeed, which might make you think of Stephen King, we find Our Anti-Hero in the midst of wedding plans. Dexter is not happy, nor is the Passenger, but that doesn’t matter, because the plot happens quickly enough. They find two dead girls whose bodies are burned and whose heads have been replaced with ceramic bull heads. Everyone is confused, but the Passenger immediately goes into hiding. And with a dangerous Watcher dogging Dexter’s every step, the Passenger soon just up and leaves, and Dexter is left to face the danger alone, while trying to piece together the mystery.

This is one of my favorites, even though Dexter sort of sulks through the whole thing, because of the supernatural element to it. I actually guessed who the antagonist was pretty quickly, and I suppose you can thank all those years of Bible reading for it. It was interesting to see how Lindsay was able to weave such a strange subplot into an otherwise ordinary (somewhat ordinary) story, and I thought he did an excellent job. Unfortunately he never goes back to this sort of thing (somewhat like Carrie Bebris, who apparently caught flack for inserting the supernatural into her Mr. and Mrs. Darcy mysteries, and hasn’t done it since the second book), though the books still continue to entertain.

There was less humor in this one, because Dexter does spend quite a lot of time being rather depressed, but it still had its moments, and I found overall the book was very intriguing, and very fun.

1 comment:

  1. Oh joy! I have succeeded! My lovely daughter has used a 'mom' line! My life is now!