For a couple of seasons now, I’ve been saying that Showtime’s Dexter (reviewed excellently here by Walter Hudson) has surpassed the series of books they are based on. And since the producers of the television show have been more willing than author Jeff Lindsay to kill of certain characters, it’s sometimes confusing to read the books and watch the series, especially since the latest print installment tends to come out right before the series starts, presumably so each can capitalize off the popularity of the other.
Lindsay’s latest, Dexter is Delicious, is the best print installment of our supposedly sociopathic vigilante in many full moons. Dexter the new daddy finds that being a father is leading to… feelings? A connection with the world? Caring about what kind of world his daughter will grow up in?
Part of the fun of the Dexter series is that Dexter attributes a lack of caring about certain things that no man cares about– like the china pattern his fiancee is choosing for the wedding, for instance– to his pathology. Now, Dexter is being civilized as a father… just like every other man. He just dispatches evil predators with more relish and gruesome imagination than the rest of us could muster… right?
In Dexter is Delicious, our anti-hero comes up against a cult-like group of wannabe vampire cannibals, and is not certain if his recent fatherhood makes them shock his sensibilities, or if he’s just never quite encountered anyone whose blood lust so eclipses his.
I avoided this series, thinking the gimmick would be too much, tired of the increasing demand for shock among all the guys who want to invent the next Hannibal Lechter, leary of a serial killing narrator. As Jack Crawford says in Silence of the Lambs, “The last thing you want is Hannibal Lecther in your head.”
Happily, as this darkly witty series playfully explores whether moral is as moral does, or moral is as moral thinks, we find out that Dexter is no Hannibal, no matter how much he thinks he is.