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Dexter by Design Paperback – August 24, 2010

3.9 out of 5 stars 214 customer reviews
Book 4 of 8 in the Dexter Series

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Book Description
The macabre, witty New York Times bestselling series (and inspiration for the #1 Showtime series, Dexter) continues as our darkly lovable killer matches wits with a sadistic artiste--who is creating bizarre murder tableaux of his own all over Miami.

After his surprisingly glorious honeymoon in Paris, life is almost normal for Dexter Morgan. Married life seems to agree with him: he’s devoted to his bride, his stomach is full, and his homicidal hobbies are nicely under control. But old habits die hard--and Dexter’s work as a blood spatter analyst never fails to offer new temptations that appeal to his offbeat sense of justice...and his Dark Passenger still waits to hunt with him in the moonlight.

The discovery of a corpse (artfully displayed as a sunbather relaxing on a Miami beach chair) naturally piques Dexter’s curiosity and Miami’s finest realize they’ve got a terrifying new serial killer on the loose. And Dexter, of course, is back in business.

An Essay by Jeff Lindsay: "Dexter and Me"

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’s 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.--Jeff Lindsay

(Photo © Hilary Hemingway)

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

Lindsay doesn't always maintain the balance between farce and something more serious in his fourth thriller to feature Dexter Morgan (after Dexter in the Dark). As fans of the hit Showtime TV series know, Dexter is a blood-splatter analyst for the Miami PD as well as a serial killer who targets killers who've evaded justice. When two eviscerated corpses turn up on a beach, Dexter investigates, as does his sister, Deborah, a sergeant with his department, who suffers serious injury after she's stabbed by a suspect, Alex Doncevic. Convinced Deborah's assailant is the person also responsible for the bodies on the beach, Dexter eliminates Doncevic, only to find that he's taken an innocent life. To Dexter's further dismay, someone begins posting videos of Doncevic's murder on YouTube. While the darkly witty Lindsay deserves credit for continuing to make imaginative use of his original concept, a contrived resolution disappoints. (Sept.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Series: Dexter
  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage Crime/Black Lizard; Reprint edition (August 24, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0307276740
  • ISBN-13: 978-0307276742
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.6 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (214 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #165,057 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover

I think fans of the first two Dexter books, but not so much the third, will be happy with this book. Not ecstatic, but happy.

Dexter has just gotten married, and by the time he gets home from his honeymoon, his dark passenger is rearing to go. He seems to be playing a little more fast and loose with the code of Harry and we see a bit of cat and mouse in this book, and I was somewhat reminded of book one.

I'm generally happy with whatever form of Dexter I can get (I even liked book three) so I was entertained. A few things grated on me a bit, however. The book lacked the humor of the first three, perhaps the novelty has worn off, but mostly I think Lindsay beat the horse dead on both Miami traffic, and Dexter's supposed lack of emotion. If Dexter had no emotion, he'd be a dull character nobody liked. So to be reminded like 100 times during the book that he doesn't have emotions, was overkill (ha!). Dexter might not be "human" but he definitely has strong feelings about things. (Food, justice, Doakes, himself, etc.)

I don't know if I have "book Rita" confused with "TV Rita", so I may have this wrong, but the minute they got married, she seemed to turn into this unlikeable simpering character. And finally, there were several times where I declared "That would never happen." So all in all, I enjoyed it, I was entertained, I love Dexter, but it was a tinge flawed.

Dexter the television show is among my favorites on TV. They've done a phenomenal job with the character, and all the characters on the show really. I give Lindsay all the credit in the world for having created this magnificently loveable serial killer, but for me, the television shows have surpassed the books. In spite of that, I definitely plan to keep reading the books.
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Format: Hardcover
There is only one thing worse than Lindsay taking his series in a completely un-foreshadowed direction (DEXTER IN THE DARK), and that is going back to the way it was before without even a comment. The situation is like the terrible ending of the novel SPHERE by Michael Crichton. (Let's all hold hands and say it NEVER happened! Wee! Horrible. Just horrible.) Simply put, going back to the "status quo" made DEXTER BY DESIGN...boring and predictable. Those are two words the Dexter novels should never be associated with.

Let's start at the beginning. Dexter and Rita are married and on their honeymoon in Paris--hooray for them. They go to the Louvre and make comments on how the "Mona Lisa" is overrated. (As an aside, I felt the same way when I visited the "Mona Lisa" display in the Louvre. You know what the "Mona Lisa" is mysteriously smiling about? The fact that she duped everyone into thinking the tiny painting was worth looking at.) The newly-married couple then go to an "exhibit" of one of those "artists" that hack into themselves and call it art. It was pure shock-value writing used to set up the displays of death that would be there to greet Dexter when he returned to Miami--but there is no connection between the "art" in Paris and the displays in Miami other than "Hey, the bodies are gonna be like THIS!" It was heavy-handed, coincidental, and tasteless.

And then we get to the formula. Dexter goes home to Miami. Dexter sees a body at a crime-scene. It intrigues him. His sister, predictably, runs around screaming like a foul-mouthed banshee while accomplishing, exactly, nothing. Rita bursts into tears every four chapters or so. With five pages left, like usual, Lindsay wraps everything up as quickly and as rushed as possible. The end.
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Format: Hardcover
The infamous Dexter Morgan is now married and settled down... but of course, that hasn't really changed anything inside him. Or has it?

And "Dexter By Design" is a solid fourth entry in Jeff Lindsay's thriller series, about a serial killer who focuses his efforts on serial killers. While there's still a bit too much focus on Dexter's new home life and stepkids, Lindsay still laces the story plenty of incisive wit, weird and grotesque serial killings, and a general aura of overhanging darkness. And coq au vin, occasionally.

After a brief and mostly idyllic (except for some gruesome performance art) honeymoon in Paris, Dexter has returned to Miami as a devoted husband and family man, yada yada. He also returns just in time for a string of gruesome new murders: four people who are eviscerated, filled with weird stuff (fruit and sunscreen, among other things), and artfully arranged. When it causes a media storm, a reluctant Deb asks Dexter to please help her out with the investigation.

His own experiences (and the Dark Passenger) tell Dexter that this isn't an ordinary serial killer, but someone who seems to have a strange grudge against the tourist trade of Miami. Or something like that. Whatever But things get far more personal for our soulless anti-hero when Deb is viciously stabbed, and Dexter's killing of the serial killer only end up causing more trouble... because he got the wrong guy. The next murder is someone close to his family, and Dexter ends up on a race against time to keep them from being the next round of victims.

"Dexter By Design" is neither the best nor the worst of the Dexter series -- while it's better than the story that precedes it, it's not quite up to the brilliance of the first couple books.
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