Got two this time. Forgot to review the first one, just finished the second one:
Dexter in the Dark - 5/10
For anyone even tangentially aware of the books, this is the one that made most people scratch their heads. This is the one where we find out that Dexter's Dark Passenger is not the product of a damaged psyche, it is actually the spawn of the demon Moloch. ... Yeah, you heard that right. I knew about this ridiculous twist before I read the book, so perhaps it was this preparation which spared me, but oddly enough the Moloch and demon parts of the book didn't bother me at all. The Dark Passenger is much more of a personality in the books than in the show so it actually fit a bit, and the slip from the real world into this fantasy one fit in with Dexter's intuition on murders being the product of the Passenger's whispers.
What killed this book for me though was the goddamn resolution. Dexter does not save the day through skill, intelligence, quick and decisive action, or any other character trait which can be attributed to him. He saves the day because for some reason Moloch's control over him goes away when he starts to be burned. That's it. The love for his kids didn't do it, his own personality wasn't strong enough to overcome it, it just happens. With no explanation whatsoever. That pissed me off and was some damn lazy writing in my mind.
Dexter by Design - 3/10
The ending had the same problem as the last book's ending and this book didn't have the benefit of having an actually interesting storyline leading up to it. The bad guy is a new criminal with no history of being a criminal mastermind, but it always making Dexter look like a fool. Deb's boyfriend, Kyle is of more use than Dexter and he is missing a hand and a foot. Dexter makes foolish mistakes, underestimates the bad guy, and ignores Harry's code for no reason which gets him in trouble. The killings were somewhat interesting I guess, but the resolution was not only just plain stupid luck for Dexter, but also incredibly unbelievable. Would not recommend at all.
All that said, upon some reflection of the other books I've decided I'm done with Dexter on paper. The show's fine, but I've come to realize that despite how clever, smart, and resourceful Dexter is supposed to be, in every book he's played for a fool and basically has nothing to do with saving the day. He only found Brian because of some psychic connection, was nearly sliced up by the baddie in the second book if not for Deb, is randomly released from demonic control in the third one, and Rita saves his ass in the fourth one. What's the point in setting up such a quick-witted, skillful, and methodical pro/antagonist if he's always making horrible decisions, not figuring anything important out, and never actually stopping the bad guy?!