Thursday, October 10, 2013

Dexter's Final Cut Review

Dexter’s Final Cut   

Author: Jeff Lindsay
Publisher: Doubleday
American release date: September 17, 2013
Format/Genre/Length: Novel/Horror/368pages
Overall Personal Rating: ★★

A pilot for a much-anticipated TV series is being shot in Miami, and Dexter is ordered to allow himself to be shadowed by the actor that plays the show’s blood spatter analyst, none other than Robert Chase himself. Too bad for Chase, the very sight of blood makes him violently ill. Deborah is ordered to perform the same task for the show’s leading lady, the very beautiful Jackie Forrest. With movie-like timing, they manage to arrival fast on the heels of a new serial killer, who’s seriously butchered and mutilated a young woman and thrown her into a Dumpster. (Cue the obligatory vomit scene from Mr. Chase).

Meanwhile, at home, Dexter and Rita are in the process of moving into a new home, a larger home. One with a pool. And the pool needs a new cage, which can’t be cheap. So when Fate intervenes and offers Dexter the opportunity to become the paid protector of Jackie Forrest, who is being threatened by a stalker, he leaps at the chance. Of course, it has nothing to do with the fact that she’s beautiful. And he can’t stop thinking about her. Or in pissing off her assistant.

Dexter finds living the good life very pleasant indeed, and becomes to waft away on daydreams of making this a permanent lifestyle. He finds Robert annoying as hell, and thinks Chase has a crush on Dexter. (Much like Vince Masuoka has on Robert). Hell, everybody loves Robert, even Astor. (but not Dexter). When another co-star joins them, a popular comedian named Renny, Dexter makes a startling discovery.

Let me say that I love these books whole heartedly, and have ever since I first discovered them.

And this one... not at all. Where to begin?

If I hadn’t read the books that preceded this one, I could have accepted this Dexter and not known any better. But I have read them and so I can’t. Dexter pining after a blonde goddess, yearning to go to Hollywood and step into the glamour of the footlights? What, is this book supposed to be set in an alternate universe and Jeff Lindsay forgot to mention the fact? Dexter forsaking the shadows of his life for glitz and glamour? What the hell?

As that part of the plot began to unravel, I wanted to throw the book, to keep it from my disbelieving eyes. But no, I kept reading, certain that it was all a farce, that the real Dexter would soon stand up and be counted. But it didn’t happen. Not only did my Dexter not appear, but stupid!Dexter took his place. Drooling, brain-damaged Dexter, who couldn’t figure out the identity of the killer that I spotted almost from the beginning of the book. Who made stupid basic mistakes that Dexter would not have made, such as letting a pre-teen girl walk off with a virtual stranger. Maybe he doesn’t love Rita in the normal sense, but he knows her value, and he does care for Astor and Cody. And Lily. Yet he’s ready to walk away from them all? And perhaps even the Dark Passenger?

I don’t know what happened here. I don’t even know if this is the last book of the series or not, to coincide with the end of the TV series (which I heard was bad, but I’m too far behind to worry about that now). The ending is not only stupid, it’s indecisive, and almost screams another book is coming to explain what just happened. Only I think I’d rather that didn’t happen. Just let the series go out with a whimper than risk any more of this atrocious storytelling. If I could un-read this one, I would. I’d tell Jeff Lindsay to please, rewrite this and give us something we can love, not this horrible tripe.

I know Dexter fans will be compelled to read this, so my telling you not to will probably fall on deaf ears. But honestly, it’s just not good, and I don’t say that lightly. Go back and re-read the others. You’ll be better off.

If this was Dexter’s final cut, I just hope Lindsay doesn’t bring out the director’s cut next.

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