Darkly Dreaming Dexter by Jeff Lindsay

Genre:  Mystery/Horror

Age Level:  14 and up

# of Pages:  288 p.

RAC Book:  Yes

Dexter Morgan was adopted when he was three and even though he doesn’t remember anything before that, his adopted father, who is also a cop, seems determined to help him rise above his past.  As Dexter grows up, however, he begins to feel tendencies toward murder.  As hard as he tries to fight it he finds himself murdering animals in the neighborhood.  Once his father discovers this he teaches him how to execute a murder so that he will never get caught, while also showing him how to profile serial killers.  He believes that if you have to kill you might as well kill people who deserve it.

 When Dexter grows up he becomes a blood spatter analyst in a police station while his sister strives to become a homicide detective.  He works very hard to find people he believes deserve to die for their sins and making that a reality.  Soon there is a new murderer in town who has caused quite a stir since the bodies never contain any blood.  As Dexter tries to solve this case it keeps getting further into his psyche and he wonders if it is possible he is committing these murders and not even knowing it.  Is it time for Dexter to pay for his crimes before he lost control completely?

This murderous villain forces the reader to ponder very important issues that are often glossed over in television and movies.  Is it okay to kill if you are killing other “bad guys”?  Is it okay to take vengeance into your own hands?  Are there people who truly have a disposition for murder or are they formed into that through environment or mental disease?  Dexter Morgan can be a very sympathetic character, but he can also be a monster which makes these stories very complex and interesting to discuss with students.  The story itself is very interesting and leaves you guessing until the end.  Mystery readers will be fans of this book.

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