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on 24 July 2017
Not as bad as people seem to claim it is. I was a bit apprehensive at the idea of Dexter with a supernatural element, but it actually reads pretty well and makes sense - it doesn't fit most peoples' (including my own) idea of Dexter but it was still very much Dexter. The author near enough abandoned the supernatural aspect for later books, so in a way, other than a few key elements carried forward into the next book, you can pretty much call this a "what if" or spin-off if it makes it any less uncomfortable.

Overall, still a great and compelling read, just a little less than the second book (Dearly Devoted Dexter) - but you can't really go wrong with Dexter.
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on 9 May 2017
I love the Dexter TV series and the Dexter books are just as good. Books are a little different from the TV series but are an interesting read
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At first this seems familiar territory: rubbish disposal, Dexter-style, a despatched forty-first villain no longer able to terrorize. Suddenly all changes, Dexter horrified to be minus the Dark Passenger, his lifelong inspiration. Chillingly he realizes he has been earmarked as a victim, a spate of headless burnt corpses warnings of what is in store for him....

As ever, there is much to enjoy for those who like their humour dark. Especially funny are Dexter's attempts to steer his future step-children Astor(10) and Cody(7) from rather alarming tendences. (Less appealing is fiancee Rita, her plans for the wedding extravagantly unrealistic, this story thread tiresome.)

What sets this third novel off course is its increasingly mystical element, culminating in a climax quite ludicrous. It all seems to have strayed in from somewhere else altogether.

At least Dexter's foster sister Deborah remains consistent - a tongue-lashing force to be reckoned with, both in and out of the police precinct. (What for Dexter should she ever cotton on he is not as he should be?)

Hopefully this addition to the series represents a rare lapse, the many sequels to be a return to form.

The four stars may seem generous, but I really was taken by the Astor and Cody contributions - they decidedly weird and recognized by Dexter as kindred spirits.
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on 28 March 2008
I must admit, I came into the Dexter universe from the TV series. I loved it and wanted to know more, so naturally I picked up the books (the first two). I loved them, but I did prefer the second book to the first - probably because I actually preferred the TV series to the first book - it seemed to make more sense and flow better, which is saying something because I rarely prefer TV or film to the actual books they're based on. So naturally when the third book came out I couldn't wait to get my hands on it. Having just finished reading it, I must admit that the format is different to the previous books. It is much less your standard crime thriller with the Dexter twist, its almost more of a horror, with the idea of the God. However having started my forray into reading on the likes of Stephen King and Dean Koontz I did still enjoy it, although not quite as much as the others. My advice would be that if you are a fan of Dexter, you cannot help but read this book and there are many parts of it which will give the reader further insight into how he came to be and exactly what his Dark Passenger is, but I must admit a curiosity as to exactly where the author will go from here. Personally I hope it is back to the original format, as that worked for me and made me laugh about things I really shouldn't laugh about - but hey. That's just Dexter.
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on 14 August 2008
Although Jeff Lindsay's third Dexter novel does have some of the style that made the first two enjoyable there is an irritating strand that converts this entry in the series from a crime novel to a fantasy and a somewhat trite fantasy at that.

Dexter, the artificial human being, in the sense that his apparent humanity is entirely a work of artifice, continues his twin careers as serial killer of deserving victims and Miami police blood splatter specialist and adds a third as mentor and guide to the burgeoning appetites of his fiancee's children. A pair of monsters in the making. So far so good. What spoils the book is the characterisation of the serial killing tendency as something truly external. Dexter has always talked of his Dark Passenger but in this book he meets a bigger, nastier evil which gets its own PoV passages in a manner that indicates that the author expects us to take on that this is a real disembodied intelligence with the ability to possess otherwise innocent people.

Dexter turns from being a psychotic vigilante to a supernatural investigator and ends up taking on a god in a climax that really doesn't fit well with the rest of the series to date.
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on 5 August 2008
As most of the earlier reviewers have noted, the supernatural element of this story is a big mistake. Is is certainly a load of old Molochs in comparison to the first two books. Jeff Lindsay appears to be trying to hedge his bets as to whether the demon possession is merely a figment of Dexter's imagination or actually true, but if it is imaginary the story becomes entirely implausible: why does Dexter's Dark Passenger go missing, why does he keep hearing the mystic tune, and how is he caused to black out at the most inopportune times?

On the plus side Rita's kids, Cody and Astor, are the real stars of the book and the obvious - but good - plot twist should have been the main theme throughout. As the title of the next book in the series is currently listed as being 'Dear Daddy Dexter', I can only hope that JL sticks with this story line and returns our favourite psychopath to less esoteric forms of murder and mayhem.
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on 15 February 2009
It's sad to see such a good series descend to this level. This book was a real disappointment. It's hard to know where to start but the overall premise of the book, that Dexter's "Dark Passenger" is actually a supernatural possession by some kind of child of Moloch an eternal something-or-other, lacks so much believability that it ruins the entire series. What made the first two books so good was that Dexter was the sociopath trying to live in the real world. His "Dark Passenger" was simply a different part of Dexter's personality. The success of the books was that we rooted for Dexter and his "Dark Passenger" in spite of him being a sociopath. But how can we root for some horrible monster that possesses Dexter and forces him to kill?

But Lindsay goes too far even with his idea of how someone becomes a sociopath. Every child, at least according to Lindsay, who is abused as a child, grows up to be a serial killer. Rita's two kids both become sociopaths because they were abused by their father. But that isn't how it happens in the real world. Not all serial killers were abused and not everyone who is abused becomes a serial killer. We can root for Dexter when he is unique and only killing other serial killers, but how can we root for him to create more serial killers? Dexter should be sending the children for intense psychotherapy, not lessons in how to kill.

And worst of all, the book is simply boring. Nothing much happens. There are murders but it is impossible to keep straight who is killing who and the murders (and murderers) are almost irrelevant. We hear more about donuts and wedding caterers than we do about anything else. And there really is no mystery in the story. We find out in the first pages of the book who did it although I kept hoping that the book wasn't really going to be this stupid and that Lindsay would give us some other surprise solution. I am fairly confident that this is the last Dexter book I will be reading.
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on 18 February 2008
Gave it a "credit" three stars hoping that the next one will be better. After the darkly flippant dry humor of the first - and especially the second - book the sudden turn to Moloch mysticism and a king of urban fantasy was unexpected and definitely out of the general macabre logic. Totally out of character - both for Dexter and the books.

Must add, Deborah in that one is even more boring, brainless and irritating than in the other two. But there is an extremely fascinating line of Dexter's relationship with the kids, him being their mentor - though that is probably something they will never be able to move to the screen, unless they want the rating "for those over 95, on the deathbed, with no chance of telling anyone about it". Such a pity that the TV and movie laws simply do not permit some of the most interesting character developments to be filmed (notice the same "for general public" simplification of the ending of "Hannibal" book in the movie).
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This author has created one of the most interesting, introspective characters around, Dexter Morgan, a serial killer who is trying to fit in and find his way around in a word that is somewhat incomprehensible to him. Despite serous psychological issues that previously appeared to have been grounded in severe childhood trauma, Dexter has always been an intelligent, clever, resourceful, and dryly funny character, albeit a serial killer. In one fell swoop, the author manages to put somewhat of a kibosh on the character by making the origins of his urge to kill supernatural in nature rather than psychological.

Those portions of the book that focus on Dexter remain of interest, as the writing is crisp and Dexter, after all, is still Dexter, despite the supernatural explanation. The portions of the book that focus on the supernatural explanation for Dexter's urge to kill and the supernatural entity that is at the heart of the new wave of killings are a drag. It is almost as if they were written by someone else, as I found these sections to be poorly written and devoid of interest. Moreover, the focus on Dexter's girlfriend's children as potential future serial killers is disturbing. Although alluded to in the previous novel, this idea has now taken a life of its own, and it is a direction that is not necessarily for the better.

As a huge fan of Dexter, both the books and the television series, I was disappointed with this book. Although parts of it were still enjoyable, of the three books so far published only this one left a lot to be desired. Diehard Dexter fans may get a modicum of enjoyment from this book but will probably be both angry with and disappointed in the author for the direction in which he has taken this popular, well-liked character. I do not blame them. It is as if the author has lost his mind, and his editor was asleep at the wheel.
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on 30 May 2008
The First Dexter novel was a good intro to a nice slant on the genre. The second expanded the first into true American Gothic territory. The third... instead of continuing the internal voice of Dexter in exploring modern alienation, it cops out utterly. Dexter is not an amoral nihilistic ubermensch,damaged by the trauma of 20th century existence & trying to find a reason... NO, just someone possessed by a demon. How mundane. A very disapointing read. I only hope the sublime TV series does not follow in this sasquatch of a footstep.
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