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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Back an track
I have to agree with what other reviewers have said about book 3 being the worst of the series. When I was reading it I just couldn't get into it as well as the other 3 books. I am glad that Jeff Lindsay decided to go back to the style of writing of the first two books for his fourth.

"By Design" had me hooked from the first chapter and as always there are a...
Published on 2 Oct 2009 by David Abraham

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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Disappointly Dodgy Dexter
Oh, how I waited impatiently for this book to appear. Having discovered Dexter through the TV series, and then moved on to the books and found them superior, the prospect of the fourth novel was almost too much to cope with and remain sane.

And how good it felt to start reading, especially as the supernatural angle of the previous one had gone and we were back...
Published on 4 April 2009 by V. Crook


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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Back to the Dexter we've come to know, 6 Jun 2009
By 
Mrs. T. Tattersall (Yorkshire, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Dexter by Design (Hardcover)
I actually liked this book. After the oddity that was book 3 it was refreshing to get back to basics. Dexter's sarcasm is back and I love that dry humour. Like other reviews I've read, it made me laugh out loud many a time.

Seeing Dexter settle into married life was interesting. I wondered how that would develop after the end of the last book. It worked quite well. It was funny seeing him explore this new role and how this reflected on Rita. I especially liked the fact that he equated her happiness and general state of wellbeing with the state of her cooking. Having leftovers more than twice in one week mean't that she was stressed (and rightly so at the time). When she was happy her cooking was particularly delicious.

However, without giving too much away, the absence of one of the main characters for most of the story was a little disappointing. I missed them and the relationship they have with Dexter; and even though it was integral to the plot I would have liked to have seen the conversation they were having just prior to their absence explored a little further. I know it was kind of resolved at the end when Dexter's little trip was given a green light, but it was a bit predicable. You would say yes wouldn't you?

The other thing which niggled me a little was the whole trip. I don't understand the reason for it, especially since we ended up back in Miami anyway!

Those 2 points aside though, I did enjoy this book and with anticipation I await book 5. In the meantime, I shall have to make do with the TV series, which is ok because I love that too.

Incidentally, don't try and watch the TV series at the same time as reading the latest book. It gets very confusing and hard to keep track of.
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6 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Dangerously Dizzy Dexter, 17 Mar 2009
By 
Paul D "Paul" (Darwen, Lancashire) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Dexter by Design (Hardcover)
As this, the fourth Dexter novel, opens, our anti-hero is on honeymoon in Paris, Dark Passenger in tow. He and Rita, the new Mrs Dexter, visit an art exhibition where one of the exhibits is a performance piece in which a young woman saws off her own leg. And with this macabre performance, we are firmly back in Dark Passenger territory. Back in Miami, several bodies are found, artistically arranged. And so, the hunt is on, as Dexter allows his Dark Passenger to lea him to his own brand of justice.

Events move on in this book: several of Dexter's colleagues begin to suspect there is more to our hero than meets the eye, and the antagonist seems intent in exposing Dexter's secret to the world. The question of what someone would do if they found out such a terrible secret about a close friend or relative has been hovering over the last couple of books in this series, and this novel provides a few clues, if no definite answers.

Over all, Dexter by Design is a fine, page-turning novel, but i was less than taken with it. The problem for me is that everything seems over-the-top, highly unrealistic, as though Lindsay is having to reach for increasingly baroque plot twists just to keep up with the basic premise of the sympathetic serial-killer. This aside, however, the novel is a well-written piece of nonsense, not at all graphic, and very witty in places; like another reviewer, I laughed out loud once or twice.
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6 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Delicious Dexter, 23 Feb 2009
This review is from: Dexter by Design (Hardcover)
I absolutely loved this book. Luckily I discovered Jeff Lindsay/Dexter with the first novel Darkly Dreaming Dexter and waited with a childlike glee for Dexter by Design. I was not disappointed at all.

When someone close to Dexter is hurt, the Dark Passenger comes out for revenge, that's when it starts going wrong......

Constant wit and surprises from the previous books carries on and I laughed out loud several times. Not many series hold my attention for long but Dexter is a terrific character with a wonderful, wicked, morbid sense of humour and a unique take on life and death.

The supporting characters especially Debs and Doakes and Cody (Diddy Dexter in training) help to carry the story along with many twists and turns.

Welcome back Dexter.
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5 of 8 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing, 24 Mar 2009
This review is from: Dexter by Design (Hardcover)
Many of the best American writers are not as gifted in their use of language and descriptive prowess (Dan Brown as a classic example), as they are in delivering an original, well paced, and gripping plot. Lindsay is no exception to this, and even the storylines are a little hard to swallow, but it does have a flare of originality. Jeff Lindsay's Dexter series is an original concept because the reader sees the entire story unfold only through the eyes of Dexter, the Domesticated, Devious, Dismemberer (see I can do it too). It's this dark and twisted world inside his head which I enjoy, but Lindsay's writing is not as carefully collaborated as many of his more experienced peers.

This is definitely not Jeff Lindsay's greatest work. That is not to say that he is a particularly great writer anyway, but the first three had much better conceived plots and an engaging continuous inner monologue. Dexter by Design takes a more surrealist tone, and builds up slowly and awkwardly to a terrible anticlimax. The book does not draw you into the dark and twisted world of Dexter, so much as force you to watch painfully through his eyes as he bumbles clumsily along with the equally clunky storyline. It seems as if the success of the T.V. series has encouraged Lindsay to keep on writing, and is the only reason I ever ended up reading one of his books. Don't buy this book unless you are a die-hard Jeff Lindsay fan. Read Thomas Harris's "Hannibal Rising" instead if you want a really good psychopath in your book.

But hell what would I know, I design septic tanks for a living.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars GOOD READ, 15 July 2009
This review is from: Dexter by Design (Hardcover)
After watching the TV series I started reading the books and I enjoyed them just as much as the TV show. Great style of writing and witty in parts too. I even get nervous when I think is he going to get caught. Bring on the next book.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Dark and dismal Dexter, 24 Mar 2010
By 
E. A Solinas "ea_solinas" (MD USA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Dexter by Design (Paperback)
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. But it's a fairly solid thriller story taken on its own merits, laced with Jeff Lindsay's dark wit and macabre goings-on (as well as some bizarre new problems associated with being a stepdad -- such as the whole "poop van" scenario).

Lindsay juggles and eventually intertwines the two different sides of Dexter's bizarre life, in a style that mingles tongue-in-cheek wit with a sort of mellow sociopathy. He has a knack for weird descriptions (at one point Deborah looks like "a large and very angry fish, all teeth and wide eyes"), and Dexter's cool internal observations glide through the increasingly frenzied plot like a swathe of black silk ("... while the rest of the world went on its merry way, killing and brutalizing each other without me").

The most pressing flaw? Well, the first half's focus on Dexter's new family is a bit on the dull side, primarily because we're told rather than shown that Astor and Cody are disturbed kids. Fortunately Lindsay seems to realize this (as does Dexter) and things start smoothing out after that, with criminal investigations, kidnappings, revenge and ghastly performance art.

But the fascinating aspect of this book is Dexter himself -- he claims to be soulless and feel nothing, like a demon made flesh, and the Dark Passenger still revels in death and pain. But he seems to be developing some personal feelings for his new stepchildren ("I had a large and wonderful responsibility in taking charge of these two and keeping them safely on the Harry Path") and his distrustful sister Deborah, and even the flickerings of an embyronic conscience. These developments trouble and confuse him, while changing him enough that the character doesn't stagnate.

While not the best of the Dexter series, "Dexter By Design" is an interesting thriller that pushes his bloodstained anti-hero into some intriguing new dilemmas. Worth reading if you've enjoyed what came before it.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent book!, 3 Mar 2010
This review is from: Dexter by Design (Paperback)
This book is just as excellent as the others written by this author in the Dexter series. It does deviate from the television series in several significant plot points, but is definitely still worth reading.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Dexter book, 9 Jan 2010
By 
S. Rowlands (Swansea UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Dexter by Design (Paperback)
Awsome read
a must for any Dexter fan
Season 4 is awsome
long live Dexter
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Definitely Dexter, 18 Nov 2009
By 
Mr. G. Battle (Essex, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Dexter by Design (Hardcover)
The fourth instalment of the series is closer to the original entry than any other. The witty and thought-provoking serial killer is on top form in By Design and this time it's personal... again. Lindsay's approach is more similar to Hiassen's crime capers this time, smoothly poking fun at the Miami scene, art and rather shockingly the dark (and potentially homicidal) thoughts of children. The humour is slick and wry and there's plenty of it. Entertaining from the macabre start to the over-the-top finale, this is good reading.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Keep your hands on the table for your fingers to be severed, 8 Nov 2009
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This review is from: Dexter by Design (Paperback)
After the omnibus of the first three novels I was looking forward to reading that fourth one and enjoy the sequel of these very bloody but as clean as clean can be adventures of the most famous blood spatter technician in the world. And I was not disappointed. Dexter is always running clandestine as an avenger in his police department, though a black sergeant who has been seriously maimed in the previous but one volume is still running after him, with the help of some more curious baboons, like a couple of Internal Affairs officers and FBI officers who are after Deborah who was nearly killed by the new serial killer at large in Miami. But the new element is of course the third party in this deadly picnic, the criminal at large in Miami who is defending the brand new modern artistic trend that is derived from snuff videos and snuff art: to maim living human beings on the stage of the installation, or even better to self-maim yourself in front of your installation audience. And then put up as an exhibit the amputated part of your body. Let's note it is the fourth volume in which that amputating, dismembering, maiming of live subjects is used. Obviously Jeff Lindsay knows his classics. Frankenstein was horrible for building a body from spare parts recuperated from dead bodies, or, if necessary from freshly killed bodies. Lindsay took the opposite stand: Dexter himself is a dismemberer, then his brother was an artistic dismemberer with his elaborate installations of the body parts. Then we had that crazy doctor back from the special forces in El Salvador who made it his trade to reduce a living human being to nothing but his head on top of his trunk from shoulders to hips, all elements jutting out of it having been severed and disposed of. This well done that human being still survives, even without eyelid nor tongue. Then you had that sect that burned the bodies but severed the head first to display it somewhere public. This time the new serial killer, gay by the way (let's note this gay touch on that side of the criminal line reveals some kind of a slightly sexist element in the novel because it has nothing to do with the crime itself, uses bodies as fruit and flower baskets to enhance the touristic reputation of Miami. This time the end is close because Dexter has more or less confessed to Deborah who is going to overlook the fact, but the serial killer puts on the Internet some pictures that are more than dubious, that are frankly as clear as spring water. And Deborah's partner has managed to see the pictures by eavesdropping one night. Unluckily for him he makes a mistake that will make him part of the final installation of the artistic serial killer who will in fact himself be part of his own installation after a scuffle with our Rita who was just back from her Paris honeymoon with Dexter when all that started. That was a very close case this time and every volume brings the plot closer to a complete revelation. And during that time Rita's two kids are getting more and more insistent about doing some experimentation to learn the trade, be it only with a pencil, though a screwdriver is a lot more interesting, but. This writer reveals the deepest layers of our censored, repressed and blooming psyche. We all love that because we all have experienced these drives in our subconscious or unconscious mind. That explains the tremendous success of this author and the TV series inspired by his characters. We are expecting the next volume ASAP or otherwise we would have to come out and do it ourselves, which would be slightly sloppy and untidy, and that would not be in line with the author's anl or recl character. Sorry for the censorship but some delicate ears my be reading our lines with their very fingers and one has to keep one's fingers away from some bodily places, even if Dexter does not.

Dr Jacques COULARDEAU
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Dexter by Design
Dexter by Design by Jeff Lindsay (Paperback - 20 Aug 2009)
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