by Bruce TierneySeptember 2007
The killer inside
Jeff Lindsay's Dexter in the Dark is certainly one of the most original novels in recent memory. This is the third of the Dexter books, which are so popular they have been adapted into a TV series for Showtime. Think CSI meets An American Werewolf in London, and you won't be far off. Dexter Morgan represents the CSI part of the equation. He is a South Florida forensic pathologist with a big secret. The big secret is the Dark Passenger, a vengeful being who inhabits Dexter's psyche, directing him in all sorts of merry mayhem in the name of the greater good. Or so Dexter thinks. This is, of course, a hobby best pursued solo, but Dexter has a couple of soon-to-be stepchildren who are hip to his secret, so he reluctantly agrees to train them in the dark arts that will come to shape their young lives. It must be said that Dexter only wreaks havoc on folks who richly deserve it, and given his line of work, he is exceptionally careful not to leave any incriminating evidence. Lately, though, his Dark Passenger seems to have deserted him; Dexter senses that something has frightened his alter ego badly, perhaps another Dark Passenger. Not a happy thought, especially as this new being seems to have none of Dexter's scruples with regard to choice of victims. Lindsay has a tongue-in-cheek writing style reminiscent of Lawrence Block's in his Burglar (Bernie Rhodenbarr) series ever so slightly highbrow, but at the same time displaying an endearing self-effacing quality in the protagonist.