Note: If you have seen the TV show based on this series, then you can probably jump into this book as a stand alone. If you haven’t seen the show or read other books in the series, then I don’t think this would work well as a stand alone novel.
Dexter Morgan, forensics crime scene expert, is a new daddy, his wife having just delivered their daughter Lily Anne. But before Dexter can settle into a daily snuggling, feeding, burping routine, he’s being pulled out of family bliss and back into the Miami crime scene. There’s a missing teen, a group of goth wannabe vampires, and cannibalism. Dexter is intrigued and yet distracted by thoughts of his young daughter back home, safe and snug.
Through out the book, Dexter struggles with his darker side, his Dark Passenger, that encourages to seek out someone deserving of his blade, and his new-found family-oriented side. He’s trying really hard to re-imagine himself as a devoted father and husband, someone who doesn’t kill for pleasure (even if those victims are carefully chosen and fully deserving of death). This internal struggle twines it’s way through the entirety of the book. While I can appreciate the character growth going on, I picked up this book to experience the grim side of Dexter, the mystery, the hunt, and the ultimate decision of who to take out when and where. All the father figure for Lily Anne stuff was basically a distraction from the rest of the book.
The mystery itself was pretty interesting. I wasn’t expecting cannibals and definitely not a group of them. And these cannibals make a party of it! At first, we have a party scene with some human blood and other evidence and then we have some missing teens. At first, it isn’t clear if the two are connected at all and the police are treating the two as separate crimes. Deborah Morgan, Dexter’s sister, is heading up the investigation of the missing teens even as Dexter and his team analyze the evidence from the party scene. I liked how these two mysteries were pursued, making an interesting plot.
Once Dexter gets to the heart of the matter, things are indeed rather twisted. I did not see where the cannibal aspect was going. I have to say that the author came up with an original twist here. Even Dexter himself is taken aback by it and if you are familiar with the series, then you know it takes quite a lot to cause Dexter to blink twice at something.
The final scenes were the most riveting of the book. There’s a pirate ship involved. Yep. I won’t spoil how that comes about, just know that you are in for a treat. I wasn’t too sure Dexter was going to make it out of the final stand off with all his flesh attached. Once the big action scene is over and the mystery has its ending, the author throws in a few little surprises to be explored in the next book.
This was my first Jeff Lindsay book. I jumped into the middle of the series because I had watched the related TV show. I thought I would have a good idea of the plot and characters and that it didn’t matter where I started in the series. Upon reflection, I believe I would have preferred to start with Book 1 in this series. There are some points that definitely vary from the TV show and I would like to see how those came about instead of just smashing right into them.
The Narration: Jeff Lindsay’s narration was just OK. He has a good voice for Dexter. However, most of the time his female voices lack femininity. For instance, his voice for Deborah usually just sounds like a kind of screechy Dexter. Also, his pacing is sometimes a little quick, like he is excited for what is to come next so he just wants to race through this in between scene that gets us from one interesting bit to the next. His Hispanic accents and I think it was Haitian were believable.