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4.3 out of 5 stars
Dexter by Design
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 2 October 2009
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 few laughs from Dexter's humour throughout the book.

Astor and Cody are mentioned in this book a lot more than in the other books and seeing as what the author is doing with these two characters is very interesting and on more than one occasion I found some of the things these characters done quite amusing.

By the time I had got to the end of the book it just had me wanting more.

Can't wait for the next in the series.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Now that the supernatural mumbo jumbo of the third book is in the past, this book is more in alignment with the first two books. It not quite of the same caliber, as some of it feels too contrived. Still, fans of Dexter will rejoice that there is a fourth book and find it enjoyable.

Dexter has now married the clearly clueless Rita, gone to Paris on his honeymoon, and returned home, a devoted father to Astor and Cody, only to find himself embroiled in a hunt for a madman who is displaying dead bodies in a very decorative fashion. These human dioramas are aimed at putting a crimp on the tourism industry of Miami.

When someone close to Dexter nearly bites the dust in the hunt for this newest "artist" on the Miami scene, Dexter loses control and does the unthinkable. He violates the code of Harry. Consequently, the hunter becomes the hunted.

I enjoyed this book, though not quite as much as the first two, but certainly way more than the third. I am also a huge fan of the cable series based upon the character of Dexter, and it has now surpassed the books on many levels. Still, I look forward to the author's next book on America's most beloved serial killer.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
After book 3 dipped somewhat, it left me wondering if the Dexter book theme had run its course and was it worth reading book 4. The season of Dexter had finished and left me wanting more, so I took to the book to fill the void. It is an improvement on the 3rd book, with the development f Astor and Cody and certainly brings the book back in line with the same quality as the first few books.

Newly married Dexter returns from his honeymoon in Paris and settles down into his new married life, comfortable and content. The dark passenger, however, is not so content and starts to get restless. As it happens, a new serial killer emerges who is making killing an art form and it is up to Dexter to protect Miami from these monsters. This time around Astor and Cody are dragged into this dark world and the end of the book leaves Dexter with some shocking news.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on 4 April 2009
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 to the slighly baroque and surrealistic world of Dexter's powerful brain. And even laugh out loud moments with Doakes' talking computer. A great and wonderfully over the top story began to unfold.

All was going well until the last few pages and......... what the hell happened, Jeff? A pointless excursion to Cuba, and a rushed and frankly camp finale that gave the impression our man had no real idea of how to finish off his story. And the loose ends! Debs in psycho logical limbo, videos and other incriminatory evidence left out where the Police would eventually come across it if they did even a cursory investigation of the bad guy, and Dexter somehow getting over a bloodlust without indulging himself.

I still look forward to number 5, but I hope it will be better plotted out than this one which promised so much for 90% of the story. Please Jeff, don't go the way of Tom Clancy and start skimping us.
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on 11 March 2011
As we all know (or should know by now, if you've read all the Dexter series so far) Dexter is well and truly a "dark" type of person. Very stay in the dark, play in the dark. But this novel gives him a very hard shove into a very hot spotlight, with the book opening on his Honeymoon in France with the sweet but naive Bride, Rita. Then back on home turf in Miami Dex is getting more and more pressure to show his true nature to teach Astor and Cody to keep control of their very own "Dark Passenger" tendencies.
Just as Dexter starts to settle into his new life, a series of disturbingly grizzly murders turn up in quick succession of each other, depicting hollowed out Cadavers stuffed with Tourist Knick-Knacks in almost idealistic poses likely to be seen on Miami Tourist Leaflets!
But is there only 1 murderer involved in this set of crimes? And what price might Deborah have to pay to catch her killer? Also, will the light make Dexter well and truly sweat when the murderer in question catches Dexter murdering on Camera, in a set-up? Especially when Deborah's new work-partner, Agent Coulter, starts sniffing around with Doakes' Blessing? All will be revealed in Book 4!
Overall this is a good story. I found some parts really gripping and the new crimes are really good and smart, however I found this book a bit too long (I found some parts unnecessary.) And Dexter seems to have tamed, which kinda sucks because Dexter being a Wolf amongst Sheep and offing the ones who deserve it is probably why we picked up these books! I just can't help thinking the Series is slowly taking a turn for the worst. Could have been better.
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Since Jeff Lindsay is so fond of alliteration, I propose the title 'Dexter is Delusional' for his next book. Ever since Dexter's second outing it seems that someone has been sneaking massive amounts of Lead into his Cuban coffee/sandwiches.

The fabulous interactions between the main cast are still present, as are Dexter's darkly delicious observations, but the storyline has gone from just about adequate sleuthing to meandering garbage (please, what was the whole Havana sequence in aid of?)

Let's be honest, Dexter was never the sharpest scalpel in the surgery, but recently - with or without his 'Dark Passenger' - he seems to lack any modicum of common sense, has no sense of self-preservation and seemingly little ability to link crime-scenes together. I think Dexter may aswell boot his 'Dark Passenger' out of his fast moving 'Dexter-mobile' and let it eat asphalt.

I'm also getting a bit tired of Dexter's monotonous monologues treading the same barren path about what a clever, unfeeling monster he is. These introspective monologues come so often and are so drawn out that they inevitably end up contradicting Dexter's actual actions.

If you can put your brain on hold and like your humour dark then there is some enjoyment to be had here - a reasonable airport read. It is in some ways better than Dexter In The Dark, but I think the previous book, although misguided, developed a lot more humour than this latest instalment. For a follower of the series there may be an ever-present sense of missed opportunity.
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on 28 July 2010
Dexter by Design

Dexter Morgan, as you should know by now, is a vigilante serial killer by night and a blood spatter analyst by day. He has recently married Rita and in this book takes a honeymoon in Paris following on from the events of Dexter In The Dark: No peace for the wicked. During their honeymoon Rita pursuades Dexter to visit an art gallery where the artist introduces his audience to the concept of body parts being used as art in an avant-garde performance piece called "Jennifer's Leg" in which the artist amputates her own limb.

Dexter returns home to finds his relationship with his sister, Deborah, more strained since she learned his 'secret'. Deborah is a detective in the Miami Police Department's Homicide Unit and finds herself conflicted between loyalty to her brother, her dead father Harry and her duty as a policewoman.

Dexter joins the team as part of the investigation of a gruesome murder on a local beach, where a pair of bodies have been mutilated and arranged in a display that parodies the state's tourist trade. During this, Rita's concern grows for her children, Cody and Astor. The children have become withdrawn and different from normal children, particularly Cody. When Rita talks to Dexter about them Dexter convinces Rita that enrolling Cody in the cub scouts will help him to bond with other children (and thereby learn how to pretend to be normal - like Dexter!).

This fourth book brings Dexter back on track from the events of the third book and we get closer to the character.
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on 11 February 2015
I’ve started watching the TV show of Dexter recently. I was under the impression that each series followed one book (I couldn’t have been more wrong as it turned out…but that’s a post for another time), so I had decided to let myself watch up to series 4, but no further until I had read the next book. So as I was drawing to the end of series three I bought book four- Dexter By Design.

The previous book, Dexter in the Dark had been disappointing for me. I’m used to Dexter books having certain qualities and Dexter in the Dark was low on those qualities.

With Dexter by Design it certainly picked up again. Back to the strange and rather gruesome murders- this time with murders as ‘art’. All I can say is be prepared to get grossed out! In particular one of the first scenes seems really…oh I’m just shuddering thinking about it.

As it so often seems Dexter had attracted some attention from the killer (doesn’t it seem strange that other killers seem to recognise Dexter but ‘normal’ people don’t?). So, with a new family, should Dexter be more cautious?

It’s the usual fast pace that I expect from Dexter, but there is also a more emotional element which we didn’t get in the past. I suppose you could say we can see Dexter growing.

Actually possibly the best Dexter I’ve read so far.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on 3 August 2009
Dexter by Design

What has happened to the masterful, methodical and cunning artiste that was Dexter Morgan? The storyline for Dexter's most recent outing simply didn't work for me. It appeared haphazard and at times much too forced.

Dexter, accompanied by his Dark Passenger, takes only one singular excursion throughout the entire novel and even then it's more fast food than a gourmet meal.

The closing scene was more reminiscent of a British Carry On movie than a Dexter Classic.

One of the strongest features of the previous novels was the manner in which Dexter performed his `good' deeds with total anonymity. By the end of this latest outing it seems that the world and his wife, either know about his dark side or suspect that one exists.

If you are a fan of Dexter, be prepared to be disappointed - then you won't be!
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Dexter by Design is the 4th of the Dexter series by Jeff Lindsay. After his honeymoon in Paris, where a bizarre limb-mutilating art installation had Rita awed and Dexter intrigued, Dexter is back at work in Miami. As Sergeant Debbie drags him along to investigate the suspects linked to four bodies displayed in macabre fashion (maybe like an art installation?), she begins to confront the dilemma of her position as an agent of the law in regard to Dexter's hobby. But before she can decide to arrest him, she is stabbed by a suspect and ends up in the ICU. Taking justice into his own hands, Dexter strays off the Harry Path with disastrous results. This installment of Dexter involves, amongst other things, an Internal Affairs investigator, an FBI agent, an attempted kidnapping, a rather bloody ending and a tantalising teaser for the next installment. Surprisingly, Dexter teams up with Deb's boyfriend, Kyle Chutsky, and even gets to eat some Cuban food in Cuba (if only I knew where to get some Cuban food near my home!) Lindsay shows the reader he is skilful with similes: I especially liked "It just seemed wrong, like washing your socks in the baptismal font at church." Fun plot, clever dialogue: another excellent read.
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