Meet Dexter Morgan. He's a highly respected lab technician specializing in blood spatter for the Miami Dade Police Department. He's a handsome, though reluctant, ladies' man. He's polite, says all the right things, and rarely calls attention to himself. He's also a sociopathic serial killer whose "Dark Passenger" drives him to commit the occasional dismemberment.
Mind you, Dexter's the good guy in this story.
Adopted at the age of four after an unnamed tragedy left him orphaned, Dexter's learned, with help from his pragmatic policeman father, to channel his "gift," killing only those who deal in death themselves. But when a new serial killer starts working in Miami, staging elaborately grisly scenes that are, to Dexter, an obvious attempt at communication from one monster to another, the eponymous protagonist finds himself at a loss. Should he help his policewoman sister Deborah earn a promotion to the Homicide desk by finding the fiend? Or should he locate this new killer himself, so he can express his admiration for the other's "art?" Or is it possible that psycho Dexter himself, admittedly not the most balanced of fellows, is finally going completely insane and committing these messy crimes himself?
Despite his penchant for vivisection, it's hard not to like Dexter as his coldly logical personality struggles to emulate emotions he doesn't feel and to keep up his appearance as a caring, unremarkable human being. Breakout author Jeff Lindsay's plot is tense and absorbing, but it's the voice of Dexter and his reactions to the other characters that will keep readers glued to Darkly Dreaming Dexter, as well as making it one of the most original and highly recommended serial killer stories in a long time. --Benjamin Reese
From Publishers Weekly
It's been years since there's been a thriller debut as original as this one by Lindsay, who takes a tired subgenre-the serial-killer novel-and makes it as fresh as dawn. Lindsay's premise alone is worthy: narrator Dexter Morgan, a blood-spatter specialist for the Miami cops, is also a serial killer. But all his life, Dexter has followed the rules set down by his cop foster father (who knew of Dexter's proclivities), to indulge his passion only by slaying other serial killers. What makes this novel zing, though, is the narration-humorous, self-deprecating, smart and sometimes lyrical, it's a macabre fun ride ("I thought about the nice clothes that I always wore. Well of course I did. I took pride in being the best-dressed monster in Dade County"). The story opens with Dexter at play, kidnapping and killing a priest who has murdered a number of children, then moves on to the main plot, a series of gruesome killings of prostitutes by an unknown madman. Dexter's foster sister is a Miami Vice Squad cop working on the killings, so Dexter decides to help her solve the case. This puts him in conflict with a dumb but ambitious female homicide detective as well as, soon enough, the killer himself, whose approach to serial killing mirrors Dexter's own, uncomfortably so. Might Dexter himself be the culprit? The answer feels a bit contrived, but will surprise most readers, and it's a minor flaw in a gripping, deliciously offbeat novel that announces the arrival of a notable new talent.
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