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Sunday, September 26, 2010

Jeff Lindsay delights again with 'Dexter Is Delicious'

"D" words by the dozens have been used to describe Jeff Lindsay's delightful Dexter novels — the inspiration for the Showtime hit Dexter— and now Dexter Is Delicious.
In this, Lindsay's fifth Dexter novel, the Miami blood spatter expert /serial killer who spends his nights duct-taping and slicing bad guys is feeling unsettlingly and disturbingly human.

It's all because of the birth of his daughter Lily Ann. (Fans of Showtime take note: Lindsay's novels do not mirror the stories on TV's Dexter.)

TV recap (spoiler alert): At the close of last season, Dexter found his wife Rita dead in the bathtub and their baby son, Harrison, crying nearby. That baby doesn't exist in Lindsay's books. Season 5 of Dexter premieres on Showtime Sunday.

But fatherhood is the least of a veritable stew of meaty issues Dexter is dealing with in Delicious. Not the least of which is the discovery of some gnawed human bones among the detritus of what appears to have been a human barbeque fest.

The twisted irony and dry wit of Lindsay's writing is evident in a scene in which Dexter is trapped in a walk-in fridge with a teenager next up on the cannibals' menu. "For God's sake," Dexter says. "Don't you understand why you're in here? These people are going to cook you and eat you!" Her response: "Yeah, I know. That's what I want."

But being an unwilling guest on the cannibal cruise line isn't Dexter's only problem.

Dexter's brother Brian shows up — Dexter has neglected to inform Rita that he even has a brother. And it looks like he wants to become part of Dexter's happy family. Dexter's stepkids Cody and Astor adore Brian and he shares Dexter's compulsion to kill. What, Dexter wonders, is his ulterior motive?

And then there's Dexter's Dark Passenger, the whispering compulsion that wants him to mete out his special brand of bloody justice: "Get to work, Dexter … Slice something up."

Just how long can Dexter ignore that commanding voice?

Lindsay never fails to come up with uniquely weird mysteries for Dexter to solve and serves them up with a huge and satisfying dose of Dexter's inner turmoil.

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