Dexter by Design (Dexter Series #4)

Dexter by Design (Dexter Series #4)

by Jeff Lindsay

Hardcover

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780385518369
Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Publication date: 09/08/2009
Series: Dexter Series , #4
Pages: 304
Product dimensions: 9.46(w) x 6.38(h) x 1.13(d)
Age Range: 14 - 18 Years

About the Author

Jeff Lindsay is the New York Times bestselling author of the Dexter novels, which debuted in 2004 with Darkly Dreaming Dexter. They are the basis of the hit Showtime and CBS series, Dexter. He lives in South Florida with his family.


Read an Excerpt

ONE

Pardonnez-moi, monsieur. Oe est la lune? Alors, mon ancien, la lune est ici, ouvre la Seine, enorme, rouge, et humide. Merci, mon ami, I see it now. Et actualment, name of a dog, it is a night for the moon, a night made just for the sharp pleasures of the moonlight, the dance macabre between Dexter of the Dark and some special friend.

But merde alors! The moon is over la Seine? Dexter is in Paris! Quelle tragedie! The Dance is not possible, not in Paris! Here there is no way to find the special friend, no sheltering Miami night, no gentle welcoming ocean waters for the leftovers. Here there is only the taxis, the tourists, and that huge and lonely moon.

And Rita, of course. Rita everywhere, fumbling with her phrase book and folding and unfolding dozens of maps and guidebooks and pamphlets, all promising perfect happiness and, miraculously, delivering it--to her. Only to her. Because her newly wedded Parisian bliss is strictly a solo act, and her newly acquired husband, former high priest of lunar levity, Dexter the Drastically Deferred, can only marvel at the moon and hold tightly to the impatiently twitching Dark Passenger and hope that all this happy insanity will end soon and send us back to the well-ordered normal life of catching and carving the other monsters.

For Dexter is used to carving freely, with a neat and happy hand that now must merely clutch at Rita's while he marvels at the moon, savoring the irony of being on a Honeymoon, wherein all that is sweet and lunar is forbidden.

And so, Paris. Dexter trudges meekly along in the wake of the Good Ship Rita, staring and nodding where these things are required and occasionally offering a sharp and witty comment, like, "Wow," and "Uh-huh," as Rita trammels through the pent-up lust for Paris that has surged in her all these many years and now, at last, has found consummation.

But surely even Dexter is not immune to the legendary charms of the City of Light? Surely even he must behold the glory and feel some small synthetic twitch stirring in response, somewhere in the dark and empty pit where a soul should go? Can Dexter truly come to Paris and feel absolutely nothing?

Of course not. Dexter feels plenty; Dexter feels tired, and bored. And Dexter feels slightly anxious to find someone to play with sometime soon. The sooner the better, to be perfectly honest, since for some reason Being Married seems to sharpen the appetites somewhat.

But this is all part of the bargain, all part of what Dexter must do in order to do what Dexter does. In Paris, just like at home, Dexter must maintenez le disguisement. Even the worldly-wise French might pause and frown at the thought of a monster in their midst, an inhuman fiend who lives only to tumble the other monsters off the edge and into well-earned death. And Rita, in her new incarnation as blushing bride, is the perfect disguisement for all I truly am. No one could possibly imagine that a cold and empty killer would stumble meekly along behind such a perfect avatar of American tourism. Surely, not, mon frere. C'est impossible.

For the moment, alas, tres impossible. There is no hope of slipping quietly away for a few hours of much-deserved recreation. Not here, where Dexter is not known and does not know the ways of the police. Never in a strange and foreign place, where the strict rules of the Harry Code do not apply. Harry was a Miami cop, and in Miami all that he spake was just as he ordained it to be. But Harry spake no French, and so the risk is far too high here, no matter how strongly the pulse of darkness may throb in the shadowy backseat.

A shame, really, because the streets of Paris are made for lurking with sinister intent. They are narrow, dark, and possess no logical order that a reasonable person can detect. It's far too easy to imagine Dexter, wrapped in a cape and clutching a gleaming blade, sliding through these shadowed alleys with an urgent appointment somewhere nearby in one of these same old buildings that seem to lean down at you and demand that you misbehave.

And the streets themselves are so perfect for mayhem, made as they are out of large blocks of stone that, in Miami, would long ago have been pried out and flung through the windshield of passing cars, or sold to a building contractor to make new roads.

But this is not Miami, alas. This is Paris. And so I bide my time, solidifying this vital new phase of Dexter's disguise, hoping to live through only one week more of Rita's dream honeymoon. I drink the French coffee--weak by Miami standards--and the vin de table--disturbingly, reminiscently, red as blood--and marvel at my new wife's capacity for soaking up all that is French. She has learned to blush very nicely as she says table pour deux, s'il vous pla"t, and the French waiters instantly understand that this is a brand-new two and, almost as if they all got together ahead of time and agreed to feed Rita's romantic fantasies, they smile fondly, bow us to a table, and all but break into a chorus of "La Vie en rose."

Ah, Paris. Ah, l'amour.

We spend the days trudging through the streets and stopping at terribly important map references. We spend the nights in small and quaint eating spots, many of them with the added bonus of some form of French music playing. We even attend a performance of The Imaginary Invalid at the Comedie Franeaise. It is performed entirely in French for some reason, but Rita seems to enjoy it.

Two nights later she seems to enjoy the show at the Moulin Rouge just as much. She seems, in fact, to enjoy nearly everything about Paris, even riding a boat up and down the river. I do not point out to her that much nicer boat rides are available at home in Miami, boat rides that she has never shown any interest in, but I do begin to wonder what, if anything, she might be thinking.

She assaults every landmark in the city, with Dexter as her unwilling shock troop, and nothing can stand before her. The Eiffel Tower, the Arc de Triomphe, Sacre-Coeur, the cathedral of Notre-Dame; they all fall to her fierce blond focus and savage guidebook.

It begins to seem like a somewhat high price to pay for disguisement, but Dexter is the perfect soldier. He plods on under his heavy burden of duty and water bottles. He does not complain about the heat, his sore feet, the large and unlovely crowds in their too-tight shorts, souvenir T-shirts, and flip-flops.

He does, however, make one small attempt to stay interested. During the Hop-on-Hop-off Bus Tour of Paris, as the taped program drones out the names of the different fascinating locations with massive historical significance in eight languages, a thought comes unasked for into Dexter's slowly suffocating brain. It seems only fair that here in the City of Eternal Accordion Music there is some small cultural pilgrimage available to a long-suffering monster, and I know now what it is. At the next stop, I pause at the door of the bus and ask the driver a simple and innocent question.

"Excuse me," I say. "Do we go anywhere near the Rue Morgue?"

The driver is listening to an iPod. He pulls one earbud out with an annoyed flourish, looks me over from head to toe, and raises an eyebrow.

"The Rue Morgue," I say again. "Do we go by the Rue Morgue?"

I find myself speaking in the too-loud tones of the American nonlinguist, and I stumble to a stop. The driver stares at me. I can hear tinny hip-hop music coming from the dangling earbud. Then he shrugs. He launches into a brief and passionate explanation of my complete ignorance in very rapid French, pops the earbud back in, and opens the door to the bus.

I follow Rita off the bus, meek, humble, and mildly disappointed. It had seemed like such a simple thing to make a solemn stop at the Rue Morgue, to pay my respects to an important cultural landmark in the world of Monsters, but it is not to be. I repeat the question later, to a taxi driver, and receive the same answer, and Rita interprets with a somewhat embarrassed smile.

"Dexter," she says. "Your pronunciation is terrible."

"I might do better in Spanish," I say.

"It wouldn't matter," she says. "There is no Rue Morgue."

"What?"

"It's imaginary," she says. "Edgar Allan Poe made it up. There is no real Rue Morgue."

I feel like she has just said there is no Santa Claus. No Rue Morgue? No happy historical pile of Parisian corpses? How can this be? But it is certain to be true. There is no questioning Rita's knowledge of Paris. She has spent too many years with too many guidebooks for any possibility of a mistake.

And so I slide back into my shell of dumb compliance, the tiny flicker of interest killed as dead as Dexter's conscience.

With only three days left before we fly back home to the blessed malice and mayhem of Miami, we come to our Full Day at the Louvre. This is something that has raised mild interest even in me; after all, merely because I have no soul does not mean I don't appreciate art. Quite the opposite, in fact. Art is, after all, all about making patterns in order to create a meaningful impact on the senses. And isn't this just exactly what Dexter does? Of course, in my case "impact" is a little more literal, but still--I can appreciate other media.

So it was with at least a mild interest that I followed Rita across the huge courtyard of the Louvre and down the stairs into the glass pyramid. She had chosen to go this alone and forsake the tour groups--not out of any distaste for the grungy mobs of gaping, drooling, woefully ignorant sheep who seemed to coalesce around each tour guide, but because Rita was determined to prove that she was a match for any museum, even a French one.

She marched us right up to the ticket line, where we waited for several minutes before she finally bought our tickets, and then we were off into the wonders of the Louvre.

The first wonder was immediately obvious as we climbed out of the admissions area and into the actual museum. In one of the first galleries we came to, a huge crowd of perhaps five large tour groups was clustered around a perimeter marked by a red velvet rope. Rita made a noise that sounded something like "mrmph" and reached for my hand to drag me past. As we walked rapidly past the crowd I turned for a look; it was the Mona Lisa. "It's so tiny," I blurted out.

"And very overrated," Rita said primly.

I know that a honeymoon is meant to be a time for getting to know your new life partner, but this was a Rita I had never encountered before. The one I thought I knew did not, as far as I could tell, ever have strong opinions, especially opinions that were contrary to conventional wisdom. And yet, here she was calling the most famous painting in the world overrated. The mind boggled; at least, mine did.

"It's the Mona Lisa," I said. "How can it be overrated?"

She made another noise that was all consonants and pulled on my hand a little harder. "Come look at the Titians," she said. "They're much nicer."

The Titians were very nice. So were the Rubenses, although I did not see anything in them to explain why they should have a sandwich named for them. But that thought did make me realize I was hungry, and I managed to steer Rita through three more long rooms filled with very nice paintings and into a cafe on one of the upper levels.

After a snack that was more expensive than airport food and only a little tastier, we spent the rest of the day wandering through the museum looking at room after room of paintings and sculptures. There really were an awful lot of them, and by the time we finally stepped out into the twilit courtyard again my formerly magnificent brain had been pounded into submission.

"Well," I said as we sauntered across the flagstones, "that was certainly a full day."

"Oohhh," she said, and her eyes were still large and bright, as they had been for most of the day. "That was absolutely incredible!" And she put an arm around me and nestled close, as if I had been personally responsible for creating the entire museum. It made walking a bit more difficult, but it was, after all, the sort of thing one did on a honeymoon in Paris, so I let her cling and we staggered across the courtyard and through the gate into the street.

As we turned the corner a young woman with more facial piercings than I would have thought possible stepped in front of us and thrust a piece of paper into Rita's hands. "Now to see the real art," she said. "Tomorrow night, eh?"

"Merci," Rita said blankly, and the woman moved past, thrusting her papers at the rest of the evening crowd.

"I think she probably could have gotten a few more earrings on the left side," I said as Rita frowned at the paper. "And she missed a spot on her forehead."

"Oh," said Rita. "It's a performance piece."

Now it was my turn to stare blankly, and I did. "What is?"

"Oh, that's so exciting," she said. "And we don't have anything to do tomorrow night. We're going!"

"Going where?"

"This is just perfect," she said.

And maybe Paris really is a magical place after all. Because Rita was right.


TWO

 Perfection was in a small and shadowed street not too far from the Seine, in what Rita breathlessly informed me was the Rive Gauche, and it took the form of a storefront performance space called Realite. We had hurried through dinner--even skipping dessert!--in order to get there at seven-thirty, as the flyer had urged. There were about two dozen people inside when we got there, clustered together in small groups in front of a series of flat-screen TV monitors mounted on the walls. It all seemed very gallery-like, until I picked up one of the brochures. It was printed in French, English, and German. I skipped ahead to the English and began to read.

After only a few sentences I felt my eyebrows climbing up my forehead. It was a manifesto of sorts, written with a clunky passion that did not translate well, except possibly into German. It spoke of expanding the frontiers of art into new areas of perception, and destroying the arbitrary line between art and life drawn by the archaic and emasculated Academy. And even though some pioneering work had been done by Chris Burden, Rudolf Schwarzkogler, David Nebreda, and others, it was time to smash the wall and move forward into the twenty-first century. And tonight, with a new piece called Jennifer's Leg, we were going to do just that.

It was all extremely passionate and idealistic, which I have always found to be a very dangerous combination, and I would have found it a little funny--except that Someone Else was finding it so, more than a little; somewhere deep in the dungeons of Castle Dexter I heard a soft and sibilant chuckle from the Dark Passenger, and that amusement, as always, heightened my senses and brought me up on point. I mean, really; the Passenger was enjoying an art exhibit?

I looked around the gallery with a different sort of awareness. The muted whispering of the people clustered by the monitors no longer seemed to be the hush of respect toward art. Now I could see an edge of disbelief and even shock in their near silence.

I looked at Rita. She was frowning as she read, and shaking her head. "I've heard of Chris Burden, he was American," she said. "But this other one, Schwarzkogler?" She stumbled over the name--after all, she had been studying French all this time, not German. "Oh," she said, and she began to blush. "It says he... he cut off his own--" She looked up at the people around the room, staring silently at something or other on the screens. "Oh my God," she said.

"Maybe we should go," I suggested, as my inner friend's amusement climbed steadily up the scale.

But Rita had already moved to stand in front of the first screen, and as she saw what it showed her mouth dropped open and began to twitch slightly, as if she was trying and failing to pronounce a very long and difficult word. "That's... that's... that's--" she said.

And a quick look at the screen showed that Rita was right again: it really was.

On the monitor a video clip showed a young woman dressed in an archaic stripper's costume of bangles and feathers. But instead of the kind of sexually provocative pose the outfit might have called for, she stood with one leg up on the table and, in a short and soundless loop of about fifteen seconds, she brought a whirring table saw down on her leg and threw her head back, mouth wide open in anguish. Then the clip jumped back to the start and she did the whole thing again.

"Dear God," Rita said. Then she shook her head. "That's... that's some kind of trick photography. It HAS to be."

I was not so sure. In the first place, I had already been tipped off by the Passenger that something very interesting was going on here. And in the second place, the expression on the woman's face was quite familiar to me from my own artistic endeavors. It was genuine pain, I was quite sure, real and extreme agony--and yet, in all my extensive research I had never before encountered someone willing to inflict this much of it on themselves. No wonder the Passenger was having a fit of the giggles. Not that I found it funny: if this sort of thing took hold, I would have to find a new hobby.

Still, it was an interesting twist, and I might have been more than willing to look at the other video clips under ordinary circumstances. But it did seem to me that I had some kind of responsibility toward Rita, and this was clearly not the sort of thing she could see and still maintain a sunny outlook. "Come on," I said. "Let's go get some dessert."

But she just shook her head and repeated, "It HAS to be a trick," and she moved on to the next screen.

Interviews

DEXTER AND ME
by Jeff Lindsay

My mother called me one night two years ago. "Well," she said. "Now I know you've really made it."
"Oh, really?" I said. "What do you mean?"
"I'm watching Jeopardy," she said. "The answer to the last question was, 'Who is Dexter?'"
A few nights later, my sister called. "You were just on Nancy Grace," she said.
"I was?" I said, very surprised. It didn't seem like the kind of thing I would forget. "You mean me?"
"No, not you," she snorted, as if I should have known better that someone like me would never be on Nancy Grace. "Dexter. Somebody's foot washed up on a beach, and she called it a real-life Dexter moment."
And then a few weeks later my agent called. "Did you hear what they named the new robot arm for the space shuttle?" he said.
"Let me guess," I said.
"It's iconic," my agent said. "That's a good thing."
And it is. Dexter is iconic. But as my sister was smart enough to pick up on, I am not. I think this is a good thing. I worked in Hollywood for a dozen years, and all I can say about it is that the primitive tribes who think the camera steals your soul were really on to something. So I don't want to be instantly recognizable-not Tom Cruise famous, not even Stephen King famous.
On the other hand, if Dexter wants fame, that's fine with me. He deserves it: he's a fine, upstanding, hardworking guy who is good with kids, thoughtful to co-workers, and helpful around the house. And if he slips away now and then for a little bit of human vivisection - well, nobody's perfect.
I will admit, though, that lately I've begun to suffer what may be the world's first Edgar Rice Burroughs Complex. Like Burroughs' Tarzan, my character is known all over the world, and I am still anonymous. That takes some getting used to, even though there are perks. It has given me some wonderful moments - like riding into Times Square in a taxi and seeing Dexter 60 feet tall on the side of the building. "Have you seen that program?" the driver asked me.
"I don't watch much TV," I said, even though I was staring like a school boy at a peep show.
"There are books, too," he said.
And there are. I hope you will like them. They make wonderful gifts, too. Even better, Nancy Grace and Alex Trebek will never have to see me sweat.

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Dexter by Design (Dexter Series #4) 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 287 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Jeff Lindsay has started to dwell a little deeper into the mind of Dexter and it gets a little tiresome at times. While his inner dialog can be amusing, sometimes it comes off as filler and detracts from the storyline.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
All I can say about this 'Dexter' book is that I enjoyed the story and although it had its weak points here and there, it was overall a good peice of work from JL. Any Dexter fan should enjoy it. 4.5 stars
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Finally, in the 4th book, we have returned to the Dexter that we grew to love in books 1&2. Book three was an anomaly. But, the fourth was full of dastardly dark Dexter delights. I do so enjoy the alliteration that Dexter uses to describe himself. Dexter demonstrates for (all of us) that balancing home, work and a hobby can be difficult. And, sometimes it results in a crazed serial killer artist stalking you. Dexter the hunted was a fun turn about from the usual hierarchy in these stories. The beginning was disturbing. I thought that the ending brought the story around full circle. The end did seem a bit rushed. It was still good, though. You need to have a strong stomach, and a dark sense of humor to enjoy this installment in the Dexter series. I recommend it. -AvidReader
harstan More than 1 year ago
Miami Police department forensic technician Dexter Morgan has just returned from his honeymoon with his wife Rita in Paris. However, he has no time to ease back into his role of studying blood splatter patterns. Two corpses brutalized in a way that only Dexter would appreciate (especially the fruit "basket" designer body) have been found on the beach; a sacred part of Miami unlike the streets. Dexter's sister Sergeant Deborah is investigating the homicides when a suspect Alex Doncevic stabs her before fleeing the scene. Dexter assumes Alex is the serial killer and murders him; not out of sibling love or loyalty but because he is an avenging angel murdering murderers. However, to his shock his homicide of Doncevic appears on You Tube while Dexter also realizes the serial killer remains free to keep playing with him. This is an amusing satirical Dexter thriller as his latest caper is a bit more personal than usual. Although the plot is thin and the climax feels forced, Dexter and his straight foil Doakes make for a delightfully droll dark dueling duet as the serial killing technician balances a wife with his homicidal activities. Harriet Klausner
SandyLee on LibraryThing 10 months ago
The continuing saga of Dexter the misunderstood serial killer. I was hooked on this series after watching Season 1 on CBS last year. I immediately went out and got the books. Dexter by Design is Book 4 in the series and finds Dexter caught with his knife up and running, on camera no less. Rather than expose Dexter for what he is, the guy decides to taunt Dexter for killing his lover by putting his fuzzy image on YouTube no less. Dexter has his reasons for killing the first man...he had stabbed Debbie, Dexter's sister. The hunt for the blackmailer sends Dexter and Deb's boyfriend to Cuba. But the blackmailer ups the stakes by turning his sights on Dexter's wife and kids.
goose114 on LibraryThing 11 months ago
After the last installment of the Dexter series I was a little hesitant on whether to embark on the next book (the third book was dull for me). However, I am very glad that I continued! Dexter is back and up to his old tricks! This time Dexter is faced with an artist who utilizes a personal medium. While the main protagonist was not as interesting and fleshed out (no pun intended) to me as the pervious bad guys, he was sufficiently devious. As Dexter hunts down the psychotic artist he must also battle the authorities as they begin to look a little too closely into his life.
-Eva- on LibraryThing 11 months ago
I have a really hard time faulting this book for anything, if for no other reason than that I am nothing short of elated that "real" Dexter is back - and the Dark Passenger with him. The book that precedes this one in the series was a huge disappointment and I was extremely wary of how this one would turn out. Alas, the beloved dark Dexter is back in business with his attempts at acting human, his black-as-night humor, and, of course, with his Passenger, rustling its black feathers and chuckling quietly at the horrors. I do wish Astor and Cody were more fleshed out, but hopefully we'll get that soon. Still, I can't be harsh in this particular circumstance: my favorite (funny) serial killer is back!
TerryWeyna on LibraryThing 11 months ago
The fourth novel in the Dexter series by Jeff Lindsay is somehow just not as much fun as the first two novels, although not as much of a letdown as the third book, Dexter in the Dark. Could it be that Lindsay has lost his way in the face of fame and fortune, what with a successful Showtime series based on his character? Or is it that there is nothing more to be mined from the notion of a sympathetic serial killer, one who only kills people who really deserve it?Dexter by Design starts with Dexter and his new wife, Rita, enjoying their honeymoon in Paris, France. At least Rita¿s enjoying it; Dexter is essentially being dragged around by his hair, pretending that he¿s having a good time, disguising the fact that he can¿t wait to get back to Miami where he can find someone to kill without much risk. The stage is set for the rest of the novel when Rita and Dexter attend an art exhibition entitled ¿Jennifer¿s Leg,¿ which consists of video loops of Jennifer gradually cutting away the flesh from her own leg. My willing suspension of disbelief got unwilling right here, in the first few pages of the book, simply because I can¿t imagine anyone doing what this ¿artist¿ allegedly did and not passing out from lack of blood, if not dying from it. That means that, by page 13, I was already wary of what was coming next.For good reason, as it turns out. Dexter returns home to a series of apparent murders in which corpses are arranged with their intestines removed and replaced by collections of items meant to demonstrate the joys of vacationing in Miami: a fruit basket, a collection of items that might be used to enjoy sun and surf, or a few bottles of iced beer, ice included. Dexter¿s sister, Deborah, who has recently learned what Dexter¿s favorite recreational activity is and, as a police detective, has some trouble with it, thinks that Dexter should be able to solve these murders simply by association. And Dexter¿s Dark Passenger ¿ the part of him that is a homicidal maniac ¿ does indeed have a few ideas on the subject; the killer appears to believe that he is creating some form of art. Unfortunately, Dexter can¿t come up with enough insight to prevent Deborah from being knifed by a suspect, which is where the real trouble starts.Dexter winds up doing what his father told him he could never do: he kills an innocent man. At the time Dexter is doing his killing, he is unaware of this, but that doesn¿t matter, for he has breached one of Harry¿s Rules by killing a man without being absolutely certain of his guilt. Consequences follow rapidly, including a video loop of Dexter at play being posted on You Tube, threats to Dexter¿s children, and the imminent possibility of Dexter¿s own arrest.The rest of the novel plays out rather dully; there are no real surprises here, though Dexter¿s trip to Cuba with his sister¿s boyfriend offers unexpected amusement. The freshness and humor of the first two books in the series simply aren¿t present in this chapter in Dexter¿s life. In addition, the whole notion of murder as art has been done much better elsewhere, as in Jose Carlos Somoza¿s The Art of Murder. Maybe it¿s time for me to stop reading the Dexter books and take a look at the television show, which I¿ve heard is excellent. Perhaps it sustains the conceit of this series better than the books do.
mamzel on LibraryThing 11 months ago
The family that slays together stays together. Dexter's doings attracts the attention of other death deliverers who decide to get his attention by targeting his family. Big mistake!
JechtShot on LibraryThing 11 months ago
Dexter by Design picks up with a Dexter who is now even more ensconced in normalcy: Father, brother, husband and forensic blood splatter analyst. The villain in this tale is a troubled artist who sets his tableau's with murder victims. Deborah is attacked by this evil-doer and Dexter stands alone to exact vengeance. This book unfortunately continues the downward spiral of the Dexter-verse and I doubt that I will continue reading the series. This book, where better than the third, did not have the magic the first two stories possessed. Jeff Lindsay continues to bombard his readers with near constant reminders of 'Miami Traffic', 'How Dexter does not have feelings', 'Dexter's Dark passenger' and 'Dexter's non-stop quest to satisfy his physical hunger'. You know what would bring me back to the series? Dexter actually killing off a few who deserve it instead of a single antagonist being chased down for the entire novel. The book was okay, but certainly not great.
lilasia on LibraryThing 11 months ago
It seems that Dexter has lost his touch.Quite honestly, I enjoyed the first two books well enough (despite the constant repetition of "I have no feelings", "I like killing", "Miami traffic sucks", etc, in very many artful ways), but this one just doesn't quite do it. The story starts off with Rita and Dexter's honeymoon in Paris, where the great big shocker of an opening pretty much sets the stage for the rest of the book: gory art for audience reaction, many surprises, and many not well-planned actions. Through a lot of the series, we've seen how methodical Dexter is: he's pretty good about doing his homework so everything is clean. I think the author is pretty much reaching into trying to give Dexter some quality of human emotion, but, even given the excuse for this, Dexter's work got just a bit sloppy there.
IERobP on LibraryThing 11 months ago
After a bad third book Jeff Lindsay brings back Dexter to the way he should be.This is the first one I'd read before actually seeing the tv series and I enjoyed it as much as I did the first one.Again, it's nothing like the series, it's far superior!
FlowerFairy on LibraryThing 11 months ago
I have thoroughly enjoyed the other Dexter books in the series. This one just didn't seem to have the same "bite" as the others. I thought it was much slower than the other books. Loking forward to the next book in the series.
schatzi on LibraryThing 11 months ago
After a clunker of a third book, Lindsay's fourth offering in the Dexter Morgan series is an improvement. There is no mention of Moloch or his cult of followers; instead, Dexter is once again being stalked by a fellow traveler on the Dark Path. Dexter, in a rare display of emotion, kills in haste, and he has to pay the price for his impulsiveness.I like Lindsay's book series, but nothing really compares to his first book. The interaction and chemistry between the Tamiami Butcher and Dexter just hasn't been replicated, perhaps because of the biological tie they share. And while Dexter was darkly hilarious in the first book, his humor seems to fall rather flat here. I laughed out loud several times while reading the first book in the series; here, I only laughed a little once, with Doakes' pre-recorded message that he surely programed just for Dexter's benefit. There are only so many descriptions of Miami traffic that I can stomach, and Lindsay is pushing past that tolerance here. And Lindsay has a habit of a very, very slow build-up, and then everything is neatly resolved (too neatly) in the last fifteen pages or so of the book. If he paced the novels better, I think they'd be more compelling.Altogether, I really must say that I enjoy the Showtime series more, simply because Michael C. Hall is terrific as Dexter, and for the most part, the "villains" are more compelling than the ones found in Lindsay's novels. However, I appreciate Dexter's coldness here, which has been softened in the Showtime series.
Araldia on LibraryThing 11 months ago
Did not like the writing style, the characters or the plot :(My brother however thinks it is great.
NovelBookworm on LibraryThing 11 months ago
A more complete review will be posted on my blog on Sept. 8.I¿m a fan of Jeff Lindsay's Dexter books, but I¿ve only seen a couple of the episodes on TV, at the beginning of the series. I don¿t know why I never watched them again, the few I saw were pretty good, I just never got around to it. So I can¿t say how the series compares to the show. I had a lot of misgivings about this particular book before I read it. I thought that there was a good chance the author, having found success in Hollywood would have begun to write screenplays instead of books. And when that happens, it seems like the books really suffer. No worries here though, this book is probably the best in the series. I really enjoy how Dexter seems more real in his ¿human disguise¿ than ever before, and we are often left to wonder, ¿Is Dexter still the complete monster he thinks he is?¿ Feelings of loyalty and even affection seem to pop up, which bemuses Dexter often as emotions he doesn¿t recognize. His humor is as intact as ever and although some readers might find the frequent self-directed witticisms a bit much, I thought they added to the book. Although I did get some odd glances while sitting in a waiting room, reading a book with blood splattered cover art, and snickering out loud. Dexter by Design is a funny, black-humored book, with some gruesome stuff thrown in. But, it's Dexter for heaven's sake, of course there has to be some "ewwww" in there somewhere. Once you get past the whole "serial killer as the hero of the story" part, the whole series is a lot of fun to read. But Dexter by Design stands out, I think, as the best so far.
cranjetta on LibraryThing 11 months ago
I really enjoyed the first two Dexter novels a lot. They had great stories and characters. The thrid book took a long walk off a short cliff with the whole paranormal thing. With the latest novel I feal as if the author was trying too hard to capture that which was really good in those original two novels but only managed to come up with a mediocre novel. There were plenty of elements here to make an excellent story; Debra in the hospital, the death is art theme and so forth. I just didn't think it all fit nicely in this novel. My biggest complaint....is Jeff Lindsay following the stories on the Showtime Series or the other way around? What happened at the end of this novel was something that happened during last seasons finale.
thediaryofabookworm on LibraryThing 11 months ago
I was watching Burn notice the other night and realised that Miami has been a hot place over the years for TV and book settings. Between Dexter the TV show, Jeff Lindsay's Dexter books, Burn Notice, CSI miami (ugh hate that show!), The Birdcage (the movie), The Golden Girls and of course Miami Vice, among many many others, I feel like I've been there many times. Despite the fact I've never set foot in Florida, ever. One of the things I love best about Jeff Lindsay's books are his great and loving descriptions of Miami. Whether its the heat, the psychotic traffic or just the to die for Cuban sandwiches, I always feel the hot sun on my skin and the Cuban vibe while reading the Dexter books. That coupled with Dexter very humorous, very dry monologue, it can be safely said that Jeff Lindsay has created a character I will happily follow for many many books. Which is ultimately the goal of any kind of serial crime or detective type book. Dexter can be my 21st Century Poirot.Newly married Dexter is trailing along behind Rita through her whirlwind tour of Paris, loathing most every minute of it, when they stumble on an art exhibit setting the tone of the rest of the novel. When they arrive back in Miami Dexter is launched into the search for a similar artist who just might be a serial killer as well. But thrown into the mix is Cody and Astor's training, Cub Scouts and a serious risk to Debs health. Dexter will have to live up to his new family man status and start juggling a lot more than just the needs of his Dark Passenger, the question is, will pesky human emotions start to get in his way after all these years.Back to his funny, clueless self after his run in with Moloch, Dexter by Design had me laughing out loud as well as seriously concerned about some of the tight corners he managed to wedge himself in. The Rita surprise at the end had me in tears and I now can't wait till September 7th for Dexter Is Delicious. In fact to celebrate I've found the perfect thing! A small sandwich shop at Yonge and Dundas square proudly proclaiming they have Cuban sandwiches made just like in Miami! After so many yummy sounding descriptions of them I can't wait to bit into one for real and see what the fuss is about. It's not Miami, but it's as close as I'll be getting for awhile. So expect to see me camped eating a Cuban sandwich and with my nose buried in Dexter Is Delicious two weeks from Wednesday.
SnarkyWriter on LibraryThing 11 months ago
DEXTER BY DESIGN has brilliant pacing, great characterization, danger around every corner, and that odd sense that you ought not be empathizing with this character quite so much. Because he's evil. But he's a nice, charming, likable sort of evil. Way to screw with my head, Jeff Lindsay.Lindsay pulls Dexter's new family into the mix and shows the children's development as little monsters while putting them all in mortal danger, which is a good move. Keeping them as background for Dexter would have made them boring, and these characters are anything but boring.The danger Dexter's in from the law continues to compound, as well, as he does things without thinking or without following the rules, so too many cops are figuring out what he's about, though they all seem loathe to do anything about it.I can't wait for the new one already.
she_climber on LibraryThing 11 months ago
So glad that I continued with the series after the dud of the last book. Dexter was back to his witty dark self. Kind of a fun book with more input form other lesser characters.
MandaTheStrange on LibraryThing 11 months ago
I found the plot of this particular Dexter installment quite dull and sadly I wanted to stop reading because I wasn't amused. Weiss the artfully skilled protagonist isn't interesting at all, the only reason I kept reading this book was to get some sort of sick satisfaction by living precariously through the fictional role of Dexter Morgan and killing Weiss. SPOILER ALERT! I wasn't even allowed to have that simple pleasure... To sum this installment up in one word...Disappointing.
queencersei on LibraryThing 11 months ago
Dexter by Design. Dexter is fresh off his honeymoon with wife Rita and back in his happy hunting grounds in Miami. But a new killer is on the loose. One who likes to make an artistic statement that leaves even Dauntless Dexter temporarily stumped. Meanwhile Dexter¿s foster sister Deborah struggles with her knowledge of Dexter¿s dark hobby and falls victim to an almost fatal stab wound. This forces Dexter to contemplate life without his sister and actually seems to inch him closer to actual human emotion.As always, Dexter¿s internal monologue has its funny moments. But readers cannot help but wonder just how thick the Miami PD must really be to not wonder why so much mayhem seems to surround one of its own forensics experts. This issue is halfheartedly addressed by Deborah¿s new partner, who picks up where Sergeant Doakes left off in suspecting Dexter of not being nearly as bland as he seems. But as always our dark hero manages to land on his feet.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Wiliam_Maltese More than 1 year ago
HEEEEEE’S BAAAAACK! I’m glad I didn’t let my disappointment with book three of the Dexter Series, DEXTER IN THE DARK, keep me from picking up DEXTER BY DESIGN. If Dexter is still mysteriously displaying signs of actual emotions which prove him less the sociopath we readers have come to love and enjoy, at least he’s back with his “Dark Passenger”, the two dealing with another body-chopping serial killer, this time around, instead of trying to clue readers in on the fanciful paranormal how and why of the Dark Passenger and others of his/its ilk. Since Dexter’s marriage and honeymoon can logically be attributed to his need to “look normal,” I can accept that “beard”. I haven’t quite accepted the premise, though, that the sociopathic tendencies Dexter shares with his stepchildren somehow results from their having suffered abuse at the hands of their real father; as if every trauma-ridden kid is destined to turn killer. And, frankly, I don’t always enjoy the way his wife and adopted off-balance kids keep interfering with Dexter’s previous modus operandi, just be being … well … Dexter’s wife and kids. Possibly because familiarity DOES breed certain contempt, I’m getting a little tired, too, of Dexter’s surly sister, Police Sergeant Deborah, who, supposedly such a good cop, has to keep tapping into Dexter’s deeper side (while all the while complaining about it), in order to get insights into crimes which, if she solves them, can move her up in the police department food chain despite her seeming inability to interact all that well with people or with fellow cops on a social and/or political level. On the whole. though, I did enjoy this book and have already started on the next book in the series … even if I didn’t find this one as enjoyable as the first two.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago