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On my last trip to the library I picked up a few novels by Jeff Lindsay as I had heard that they were the books that the popular TV show was based upon. While I have never watched the TV show, I am aware that it is really popular, and the crime genre is one that usually has great appeal to me. Dexter is Delicious is novel 5 in the series.
Dexter is a blood splatter analyst who works for the police department in Miami. He also has a strange hobby of being a serial killer who has a code of conduct. He will only kill people who are bad. However, recently Dexter has got married. In the book that preceeded this one (Dexter by Design) Dexter was horrified when his wife was nearly killed by someone who wanted revenge on him, and he had the shock of his life to discover he was going to be a dad.
This book comes a few months after that one, when the baby has just been born. A beautiful girl called Lily-Anne. This event makes Dexter start to experience human emotions for the first time and as a result of wanting the world to be a better place, he decides to quit his hobby. Only no-one else seems to have got the memo.
Life takes a surreal turn when his long lost presumed dead brother Brian turns up. Dexter feels this is bad news but he can't put his finger on why. At the same time, he needs to keep his brother away from half sister Deborah who last saw Brian when he tried to kill her. He is also heavily involved in a case where two teenage girls are missing, and then one of them turns up as a pile of bones over a barbecue pit. Miami has strange people wandering round resembling vampires, and now a real case of cannibalism.
Although I did not take to the Dexter character very much in Dexter by Design as I found him quite cold and detached, I did find that I liked him a lot more in this novel. The awakening of his human emotions in response to the birth of his child was an interesting plot twist, and it was nice to finally feel like I was getting to know the real Dexter, though admittedly one that was still in the dark about some of the ways in which humans react to events.
The cannabilism is something that I can't recall ever personally reading in a novel before. However, it did also lead to some prose which really turned me quite sick to my core when reading it. I don't know if it is just my vivid imagination here that did this, as I am quite used to reading quite gruesome things within the genre, but this one was particularly grotesque.
Adding in new characters such as the brother and the baby really did lead for some different interactions in the story. I also found the character of Debs to be a lot more easy to relate to in this book. She seemed a bit more feminine in some ways, though still a tough cookie within a male dominated world. I really like the interactions between her and Dexter having had the same upbringing but such a different outlook on life.
While I am still not entirely sure I recommend the Dexter novels, I feel this one was a bit more well rounded. I felt it was less detached and clinical, and a lot easier to get into. I think for me as well, Dexter not actually wanting to be a killer in this novel made it a lot easier to read as you were getting a sense of the amount of control needed for him to overcome his urges.
I found this better for me than Dexter by Design, though that could be because I now have some sort of affinity to the characters and I am well used to Lindsays style. However, the subject matter might really put a few people off, as it was quite stomach churning even thinking about some of the aspects covered in the novel.
If you don't like gruesome novels you will hate this one. If you like CSI/Bones type programmes on the TV, and authors like Kathy Reichs and Val McDermid, then you might like this one, but it is not quite as easy to get into as some of their work due to the nature of you seeing things as they happen, and not seeing the analysis of the dead body and working out what happened, and the visual in your head is quite different as a result.