Much better for a number of reasons. Although I still don't understand the point of Deborah. She really is a ditzy mess with zero redeeming qualities. Dexter is much more conflicted in this novel as he deals with his frustrations being shadowed by Doakes. The tension is well done and there are times when you really think, "How the hell is Dexter going to pull this one off?" The detective stuff ain't bad either. Lindsay comes up with a really demented, scary (but still relatively flat) villain and some pretty good mystery side-plots involving Doakes himself. What I still don't like is all the blatantly simple-minded alliteration, which, contrary to what Mr. Lindsay obviously thinks, is getting more and more annoying, not more and more clever. I also hate the fact that Dexter refers to himself in third person, as in "Dexter is a hungry boy." WTF?
Also, Lindsay has a weird Cuban food fetish that I think he needs to talk to someone about (even though I agree that medianoches are really tasty, mentioning them every 7 pages gets tiresome. A+ for the emerging subplot with Rita's kids too. I think I may have enjoyed this book more because it was a very clear departure from season 2 of the television series, which I loathed. No Lyla = win. I'm interested enough to read the next book, but now there's also a fourth, and from what I've heard a fifth is on the way this year. I'll give this series one more book then I'm off to something different from the dark and dusty corners of my bookshelf.