Title: Dexter is Delicious (Book 4)
Author: Jeff Lindsay
Publisher: Random House Audio
Running Time: 11 Hours 20 Minutes
While not my first Dexter novel, this was my first one experienced on audio. I think if I go back to the reading the good old fashioned way, perhaps Dexter won’t come off as a castrated terrier.
These are Dexter novels so we know bad things happen to and around Dexter with droll delivery, but Jeff Lindsay (author, narrator) reads as if our anti-hero has been recently lobotomized. It’s read too peppy and light, and it makes the argument that First Person Narrators are unreliable, which is a departure from the other Dexter books, as he’s the one character we can trust. We know him and his motives, but when he’s read he’s trying to sell us a used car fished out of the river, it plays too obvious. It doesn’t help that the delivery is stilted and uneven, I can’t help but wonder just a little bit (okay, a lot) if these stories aren’t perhaps ghostwritten. More on that in a bit.
Dexter now has a new daughter and while he strives to be the new man his little girl deserves, while switching gears and shepherding Aster and Cody into the new-found religion of Upstanding Citizen (instead of slippery shadows), he is foiled by the circumstances of his new case and the resurfacing of forgotten family. The Dexter in this novel reminds me of the Dexter in “Dexter in the Dark – in other words, not nearly as interesting with the suppression of his Dark Passenger. He goes on (and on and on and on) about his new role as Daddy and it gets tired quick. He’s the guy with the new car he can’t stop wiping with a chamois. He still want to be the guy you got to like, but comes off like that guy that can’t stop talking about his horsepower and leather seats and ends up crawling under your skin until you shoot him in the face to make him shut up.
Then there’s Deb, who somehow made it to Sergeant by punching and swearing and being incompetent. Behind every great woman, is a man that lets her play pretend, eh Lindsay? If she were set up as the cop that only got to where she was using her brother, that would be one thing, but as Deb is supposedly tough as nails, she comes off as a dumb jock who can’t string a thought together without Dexter’s ‘insight’. With Deb’s constant intrusion into Dexter’s life, one is left wondering if when the baby was born, Dexter turned his balls in for a burping cloth.
Back to the ghostwriting; I’ve read my own work out loud – and because I’ve written it, I know how I imagine my own characters’ reactions, inflections, tone. Jeff Lindsay seems to read this cold as if he’s meeting Dexter and Deb and the words on the page for the first time. The sentences read too fast or without inflection. There was a scene with two people caught up in a moment are falling over each other’s words, so it should have sounded like two people talking, but without inflection, or even a change in pitch, it sounded a tweaker explaining the aerodynamics of a marshmallow shooter while disassembling a toaster. If you’re going to read something purportedly written by you, maybe you should become more familiar with it, maybe practice before sitting in front of the mic. Otherwise, you get something that sounds like this.
Because of the pacing of the reading and the lack of any characterizations, the wasn’t nearly a good a story as it could have been. Maybe I’m just soured on the whole series of Dexter Books, since Book 3 (I didn’t even realize until just now that somehow I skipped “Dexter By Design”). Perhaps with a different narrator, this could have been a different book and I may have enjoyed it more.
Yes, the narrator does matter, Jeff Lindsay, so set aside your ego and get a professional.
Three out of f ive trunks