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Dexter in the Dark Hardcover – November 30, 2010

3.2 out of 5 stars 397 customer reviews
Book 3 of 8 in the Dexter Series

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In Lindsay's third novel to feature endearing Miami cop and serial killer Dexter Morgan (after 2005's Darkly Devoted Dexter), the Dark Passenger, the voice inside Dexter's head that from time to time drives him to the Theme Park of the Unthinkable, inexplicably disappears while Morgan is investigating a gruesome double murder on the University of Miami campus. The crime scene, at which two co-eds were ritualistically burned and beheaded, gives even the human vivisection–loving vigilante the creeps. As the burned and beheaded body count continues to mount, Morgan realizes that the force behind the killings is something even more evil than his Dark Passenger. Though the macabre wit that powered the first two installments of this delightfully dark series (also a hit on TV's Showtime) is still evident, this third entry takes a decidedly deep introspective turn as Dexter is forced to contemplate not only life without his enigmatic companion but also who—or what—he truly is. (Sept.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

From Bookmarks Magazine

Jeff Lindsay has created a fascinating antihero in Dexter, now the star of a popular Showtime television series. Critics were relieved to find that Dexter’s small-screen success has had no effect on Lindsay’s fast-paced plotting, absorbing characters, and delicious black humor. Dexter in the Dark, the third in the series, is longer than its predecessors, which allows Lindsay to delve deeper into Dexter’s psyche. Some critics were pleased, while others felt that Dexter’s longwinded self-analyses detracted from the storyline. According to the Denver Post, "readers who have not yet met Dexter can enjoy reading the latest without starting at the beginning." Returning admirers of this original, offbeat series will be happy to know that a fourth installment is in the works.

Copyright © 2004 Phillips & Nelson Media, Inc. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.


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Product Details

  • Series: Dexter
  • Hardcover: 316 pages
  • Publisher: Amereon Ltd (November 30, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0848833058
  • ISBN-13: 978-0848833053
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (397 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,266,108 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Lindsay has managed to do to Dexter what George Lucas did to "The Force" in Phantom Menace: he attempted to "explain" him, and did so using the stupidest, most ridiculous idea possible. Just like the idea of The Force was ruined by "mitochlorians", the Dexter mythos has been utterly wrecked by this book.

Based on everything we've seen in the past two books, Dexter's issues were purely psychological: severe childhood trauma manifested into a disconnect of emotions and an urge to hurt and kill things. That is plausible.

But introducing a supernatural element into this is plain ridiculous. As I read I hoped that Lindsay was simply making Dexter's imagination run a bit wild, but it turns out he wasn't. Turns out our Dearly Disconnected Dexter's Dark Passenger is really the byproduct of some ancient god's magical trickery.

On top of that, the book version of Rita continues to be a screechy, cartoonish character. The TV version of her character along with the children's on-screen portrayals are far, far better than what was written in the books. Thank goodness at least the TV show continues to get better as it goes along.

Avoid this book. It ruins everything you like about Dexter.
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Jeff Lindsey was definitely on to something when he invented the serial-killer-gone-vigilante in Darkly Dreaming Dexter, an entertaining if not quite polished twist on both the crime-murder mystery and the serial killer tale. But, he hit his stride with the excellent Dearly Devoted Dexter, a pitch-perfect novel of sarcasm and wit with plenty of blood and character development. It's unfortunate then, that he trips over Dexter in the Dark.

As we re-acquaint ourselves with the witty blood-letter, we find him beaten and bemused. Dexter has lost it, all he's got is homicidal step-kids, a $500 a head wedding caterer, a short-fused sister and a dearly dumb-witted fiancé, but no dark passenger.

Dexter spends the entire book castrated, unable to kill or even understand the homicidal impulse. Worse, he sets about training Astor and Cody to be just like him, a disturbing and overly coincidental plot element. In fact, it seems as if Lindsey wrote the entire novel to explain why damaged kids become lurid psychopaths. It doesn't work.

The plot here is as thin as the paper it's written on. The father of all Dark Passengers wants Dexter, the anomaly of serial killers gone. The feint whiff of the supernatural that we got in the first Dexter book is back in force this time and it's a mood killer. Dexter works best when it's him against a normal world, when the world becomes as twisted as him, it all gets foggy, like a bad LSD hit.

Lindsey also stumbles on his use of, count them, four narrations. We have first persons "It" being the thing that makes people kill, these parts are boring, over written and pointless. Then we have Dexter, thankfully for most of the book.
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Format: Hardcover
Dexter in the Dark, the third book in Jeff Lindsay's series about a serial killer with -- if not a conscience, at least a code -- is quite a departure, and not in a good way. There's a lot of supernatural stuff going on in this one, which was largely absent from the first two novels. I agree with the other reviewer who said Dexter's at his best when he's pitted against a normal world -- Dexter himself is weird enough. We don't need ancient gods piled on.

The business with Dexter's stepchildren following in his footsteps is just ugly, and not especially believable. The vast, vast majority of children who survive childhood trauma do not grow up to become sociopaths; what are the odds that Dexter would find himself stepfather to two who do?

The cardinal sin of this novel, though, is that it was kind of boring. I had to force myself to get through it, and that's not something that's ever happened with a Dexter novel before.

Here's hoping Lindsay drops the supernatural mumbo-jumbo and gets back to basics for his next Dexter book.
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Format: Hardcover
Jeff Lindsay has taken a wrong turn. In the first two books, he got a good start on an enjoyable and satisfying series; a little formulaic, sure, but these are crime novels at heart and there's a long tradition of that so it's hardly anything to apologize for. The strength of the series has never been the writing -- it's cheeky and cute, sure, but starkly unsophisticated and rather repetitive. I roll my eyes every time he tosses the word "sibilant" -- apparently a new vocabulary word he's very excited about -- into a description of the Dark Passenger, sticking out like a sore thumb. I believe I've seen it three or four times, which is enough to be conspicuous in a series that's otherwise written at a grade school reading level. However, all of this is forgivable in the face of a fun, companionable, and of course twisted narrator, as well as a decent job of world-building (though the supporting cast are fleshed out much better in the TV series -- they're a little one-dimensional in the books, by comparison).

What's not forgivable is to take such an abrupt turn on the third book in the series, shifting genres abruptly and in a truly unsatisfying manner. This is no longer a crime novel where we can delight in the cleverness of our dark narrator. No, now it's a lame supernatural thriller. The Dexter we know and love is now whiny, pathetic, and ineffectual. With regard to the main plot, he's practically inert -- he spends most of the time just having stuff happen to him and complaining about how unfair it is, never seizing control of the situation. The wedding subplot runs along similar lines and paints an increasingly unlikeable portrait of our former friend.
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