Darkly Dreaming Dexter by Jeff Lindsay: B

From the back cover:
Dexter Morgan appears to be the perfect gentleman. He is handsome and polite, and has been in a relationship for nearly a year and a half. Yet appearances can be deceiving, for Dexter is a serial killer who has slain many people. But in this tale, he’s the good guy, for there is one little twist—Dexter only snuffs out other murderers. When another serial killer, with an eerily similar style, starts grabbing headlines, Dexter has a fairly morbid thought. Am I being challenged?

It should be obvious from the blurb that this book is pretty darned creepy. Not just the fact that there’s a killer on the loose, but that the protagonist is one himself. I was disturbed by my own reaction to the character. On one hand, it was neat that he had insights into the killer’s next moves, and his narrow escape from one of his own escapades made for exciting reading. And then… one is suddenly reminded, by a specific detail about what Dexter has done to someone, or that stray pets were his victims in adolescence, that this guy truly is the monster he proudly claims to be.

The mystery of the book starts out well, but after a certain piece of evidence is discovered, I knew who the culprit would be. The epilogue was predictable, too. A few times the writing tried too hard to be artsy (“And the Need was very strong now, very careful cold coiled creeping crackly cocked and ready, very strong, very much ready now”) but this thankfully wasn’t prevalent.

Another thing that bothered me was that characters use each other’s given names too often in conversations. This trait wasn’t limited to Dexter, who fakes social interaction in an attempt to seem like your typical charming human. I once counted twelve uses of first names (or derivatives thereof) in a single conversation. It’s incredibly distracting. No one I know does this.

I’m not sure yet whether I’m going to read the next book in the series.

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