The third book in Jeff Lindsay’s Dexter series, Dexter in the Dark, takes a detour from the first and second novels. Upon being introduced to the dark hero Dexter, I found myself drawn to the simplistic nature of his horrible, handsome, hidden desire to murder. This created a paradox and an unsettling feeling for me. I thought, “If I respect and care for this character, doesn’t this create a dark passenger within me?” How can a person laugh with and attempt to justify the vigilante nature of a beast who, while completely accurate in his decision to kill those who have committed heinous acts, is a killer himself? Does this make me a bad person, or am I simply reading horror and laughing at the absurdity involved in cheering on the antihero?
The Dexter books are violent and foreboding. They create a music that lulls you into the dreamstate that dominates Dexter’s forays onto the moonlit paths where Dexter plays an ensemble of sharply polished steel instruments that filet, and slice; leaving molded works of flesh. I ride along with Dexter and in a sense I become the Dark Passenger as I watch through Jeff Lindsay’s words. In my own lectures and discussions on learning, I always state that we learn from repetition and we learn by reading, looking and absorbing. If this is the case, my consumption of Dangerous, Dastardly Dexter is paramount to learning the trade of death right? Is Jeff Lindsay making me a companion?
As I stated Jeff Lindsay gave me a reprieve in Dexter in the Dark. In this novel I am finally given a foundation for understanding the Dark Passenger. I finally understand that IT has existed forever. Not neccessarily Dexter’s IT, but the original IT. Lindsay has crafted a creation story for evil and he roots the story through allusions to the Bible and King Solomon. As I read this Dexter, in the back of my mind I could hear Allen Ginsberg, who may have had his own Dark Passenger now that I think of it, reading Howl and repeating the name Moloch. This novel is less about Dexter’s inner desire to kill and more about discovering the force behind the introduction of killing to the human race.
While the novel remains quirky and unintentionally funny, the darkness lies in Lindsay’s use of the children Astor and Cody who are beginning to realize their own inner shadows. Unlike the television show, Cody and Astor are not the children I met on the show and this is good. As I prepare for a newly married Dexter in the next book, I can only hope that I am not beginning to harbor a Dark Passenger of my own. Read at your own risk and pleasure.