Dexter in the Dark by Jeff Lindsay Review

The third book in the Dexter series misses the mark

cover of Dexter in the Dark

I have already reviewed the first and second books in the Dexter series so check them out first.

Miami’s part angel part demon sociopath Dexter Morgan battles an evil more powerful than he can imagine in his third outing.

Miami homicide is flummoxed by the ritualistic murders of two young women. Their bodies have been decapitated, burnt, and neatly laid out with their heads being replaced with ceramic bulls’ heads.

Sgt. Deborah Morgan, Dexter’s sister, follows the forensic evidence and arrests professor Jerry Halpern. Yet while the professor languishes in jail the murders continue.

This case clearly calls for the specialised talents of my favourite forensic technician who moonlight in his own time as judge jury and executioner of Miami’s underworld.

Unlike his first two outings however Dexter is on the back foot. This time around the familiar dark spirit that spurs Dexter on in his bloody deeds has left, leaving Dexter all alone.

Dexter’s evil spirit has been driven from his body by other spirits, a scary feeling I’m sure. And of course it couldn’t have come at a worst time for Dexter who’d just begun to bond with his fiancé’s children, Aston and Cody, who seem to have the makings of apprentice serial killers themselves.

This struggle between Dexter and his new demons is a little dull and predictable, certainly in comparison to the first two books.

That beautifully sharp wit of Dexter is still very much present but having to face a future without his dark companion means that the third book is filled with introspection and contemplation, it’s not bad but it’s not great either.

Rating…

Rating: 5.5 out of 10.

Find Me by Anne Fraiser Review

Infamous serial killer Benjamin Fisher has finally agreed to lead detective Daniel Ellis to the graves of his victims. There’s just one catch, he’ll only do it if his estranged daughter, former FBI profiler Reni Fisher, joins them.

Reni can’t say no, she feels complicit in those bloody crimes. Her father would use her to lure unsuspecting women to their untimely deaths. Reni wants closure, for herself, and for the families of her fathers victims.

But for Reni and Daniel this is not the end of a nightmare, it’s merely the beginning.

This is an interesting read and the opening few chapters are compelling. Sadly the spell doesn’t last and I found myself getting a little bored as the story progressed.

The book gets bogged down in describing the scenery over and over again, and the same scenery I might add. A lot of the book takes place in a desert, I know what that looks like so you can stop describing it to me and get on with the story.

This fascination with scenery slows the pace of the book down to a boring crawl. It also makes it really strange that there’s not much description anywhere else. I liked the characters and the premise is enticing but the book takes far too long to actually deliver on anything it promises.

When you do finally reach the end it’s a bit crazy and unusual. Not quite what I had expected and not really in a good way.

If you like slow burning reads this might be worth adding to your reading list. But if like me you like a story to get to the point I’d avoid this one.

The Stranger Review

This thriller may miss the mark but it’s still worth a look.

Harlan Coben churns out suspenseful thrillers at an impressive pace, and while that might continue bringing him in the big bucks it does mean more than a few of his novels miss the mark.

The Stranger is one such tale that fails to live up to Coben at his nail-biting best, though it is clever enough to be entertaining.

Adam Price, his wife Corinne, and their sons Ryan and Thomas live the idyllic suburban dream in Cedarfield, N.J. This picture perfect life comes crashing to a halt however one night at a bar when a man known only as the stranger reveals to Adam a scret that his wife has kept hidden, a secret that shatters Adam’s world and causes his wife to vanish.

The strange imparts secrets like that on various individuals across the country, including a middle-aged woman and a medical student. Price decides he must hunt down the stranger if he is to find his wife.

Sadly Adam is not the most compelling lead I’ve ever read, he’s naive and befuddled in his attempts to find his wife and track down the stranger. He’s a prominent lawyer and yet the way he goes about his investigations are more akin to a toddler, and all of that makes for more of an exhausting read. We want Adam to succeed, we want him to find out the answers, and yet he’s so frustratingly useless at times I just wanted him to give up and go home so I could stop reading.

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Worse though is the stranger. His attempt to rationalise his actions of outing peoples secrets simply to ‘rid the world of lies’ is questionable at best and just plain bad storytelling at worst. It’s almost as if Coben wanted us to feel for the stranger, to feel he was a good guy but his self-righteous piety and desire to ruin peoples lives simply to out secrets is disgusting at its very base level. This is not a character we should be persuaded to have any sympathy for.

But it’s not all bad, it really isn’t, this is still a fun read with plenty of twists and turns to keep you guessing up until the end. I can’t recommend this book for any new Coben readers but if you’ve enjoyed him in the past I think you’ll find enough here to be worth a read if you have some spare time and nothing else to fill it with.

Rating

Rating: 6 out of 10.

If you’d like to check out The Stranger for yourself you can find it on Amazon.

Silent Scream Review

Procedural crime novels are not really my forte, don’t get me wrong I don’t mind the genre at all, it’s not the kind of novel I find myself picking up in the shop. When you’re running a literary review site though you kind of have to push your boundaries a little, so I checked through goodreads and picked up a recommended crime novel to see if this one could grab my interest.

Silent Scream by Angela Marsons is the first novel in series of serial killer tales. While reading the books opening I was a little disappointed, it didn’t seem to offer anything new from the multitude of other serial killer outings available, but thankfully Marsons was playing the long game, there are more than a few surprises to be found within Silent Scream.

We are first introduced to a group of five adults standing on the edge of a freshly dug grave. They make a pact, nobody will speak of this again, after all the body residing in the soil is not someone who will be missed, and as long as they all keep quiet their secret will be buried with the body.

Of course this doesn’t quite go to plan. A decade later head teacher Teresa Wyatt is found dead, forcibly drowned in her own bath tub. The stories hero DI Kim Stone must now start digging deep into the teachers past.

Kim is a strong central character, she’s a tough loner who has risen through the ranks of the police force despite a head strong attitude that has lead to more than one broken rule being left in her hurricane like wake. Kim and her partner DS Bryant, a good cop to Kim’s bad cop routine, discover that Teresa was investigating a fire that had burnt down a girls orphanage a decade before.

The cops set out on a quest to discover Teresa’s connection to this orphanage.

This is a personal case to Kim, she spent her early life in and out of various foster homes and orphanages. When the police discover three bodies of young girls around the orphanages former site she makes it her personal mission to make people notice the poor victims.

As she digs deeper into the case Kim begins to learn more about the orphanage. Teresa used to work there, as had a number of other individuals who had all died in suspect circumstances.

Stone must now discover the truth of these crimes. And that is really all I can say without spoiling the entire thing.

This may have been Marsons debut novel but it certainly doesn’t read like one, this is written with a well crafted hand that knows the nuances of novel balancing.

It’s perfectly plotted while being complex enough to keep the suspense and mystery going until the final pages. It is also able to bring a fresh new take to the serial killer sub-genre which I for one am very glad of.

It does resort to more than a few cliché moments however, the dialogue is the sort that you find copy and pasted across many a crime novel or movie. This is a very well trodden area and you’ll be able to find many of these characters depicted in any holiday crime novel. But if you’re a big crime novel fan then this should be on your to-read-list.

Was it a good enough book for me to read crime novels more frequently? No probably not, but it was good enough for me to read more of the Kim Stone series.

Rating

Rating: 8 out of 10.

You can check out Silent Scream for yourself on Amazon.