Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Days with Dexter (and Very Little Knitting)

First off let me say I'm not really a mystery reader, and definitely not a reader of thrillers. But every once in a while I'll read one if it looks interesting enough. A couple of years ago an advance reading copy crossed my desk from a new writer. The book was called Darkly Dreaming Dexter and I don't know what made me pick it up and take a look. Maybe it was the title, or the scarlet embossed smiley blood splatter on the knife on the cover. But pick it up I did, and based on the description on the back I decided to give it a try. It was an original premise--the narrator of the story is a sociopathic serial killer named Dexter. But Dexter's no ordinary serial killer. Thanks to the strict rules of his cop foster father who saw early on what he was, Dexter only kills other serial killers--people who truly deserve to die, and he has to have absolute proof before he can act. The author did a really good job of making a serial killer a sympathetic (without being pathetic) and extremely humorous character. The end didn't quite hold up as well as I would have liked, but I would recommend it as a fresh new read.

I just got my hands on the author's followup, Dearly Devoted Dexter. I'm happy to say that it more than holds its own against the original. I was laughing out loud on the bus reading it. Which is a strange thing when you're reading about death and dismemberment, but that's one of its charms.

I wasn't sure the premise could hold up through more than one story, but this time Dexter has more than his share of problems. And for a monster who has no feelings he has to hold back his murderous urges, he manages to get himself engaged, he finds himself mentoring a young future serial killer, he has to help his sister find and rescue the man she loves, and he has to rescue the detective who thinks he's up to no good and has been tailing him (which is how he ended up engaged). Instead of knitting today, I finished up the book. Get acquainted with Dexter. I highly recommend it.

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