Darkly Dreaming Dexter -- Jeff Lindsay
This book was lying around my house for two days before I noticed the smiley-face in the blood.
Dexter is a blood-spatter expert for the Miami police force. He's just a regular guy -- he's very organized, showers regularly, has a nice girlfriend and a great sense of humor. He also has a penchant for alliteration. And for homicide.
Luckily for us innocent-types, he was raised by a Good Cop. A man who recognized what Dexter was and who convinced him that if he had to kill, he might as well Do The Right Thing. Harry also taught him how to blend in with humans -- how to hide what he really is -- he taught him how to be careful and how to avoid being caught.
So Dexter is a vigilante of sorts. He's a serial killer who only goes after the bad guys.
In some ways, he reminded me of Andrew Vachss' Burke -- he genuinely likes kids, so he tends to really go after people that hurt them. He also reminded me a bit of Carol O'Connell's Kathy Mallory -- she, like Dex, doesn't quite understand people and has a mysterious past. She doesn't kill people, though. Then again, she doesn't try very hard to fit in, either. (Have I mentioned lately how much I like that series?)
I was also reminded, strangely, of James Frey's novels. Dexter does the capitalization thing -- James Frey had his Fury, Dexter has his Dark Passenger. And I thought of Carl Hiassen, if only because the Florida of his YA novels is so different from Dexter's world:
I drove out of the Metro-Dade parking lot and got onto the nearby Turnpike, which took me south to the section of Tamiami Trail that is home to the Cacique Motel and several hundred of its brothers and sisters. In its own way, it is paradise. Particularly if you are a cockroach. Rows of buildings that manage to glitter and molder at the same time. Bright neon over ancient, squalid, sponge-rotted structures. If you don't go at night, you won't go. Because to see these places by daylight is to see the bottom line of our flimsy contract with life.
Every major city has a section like this one. If a piebald dwarf with advanced leprosy wants to have sex with a kangaroo and a teenage choir, he'll find his way here and get a room. When he's done, he might take the whole gang next door for a cup of Cuban coffee and a medianoche sandwich. Nobody would care, as long as he tipped.
I didn't find the writing particularly interesting, and I kind of felt like the killer was a cop-out, but I enjoyed it nonetheless. The sequel will be on my list for this summer's beach reading.