Darkly Dreaming Dexter, Jeff Lindsay (Orion, 2004)
This is a bit of a tricky review for me because the obvious question when it comes to this book is; how does it compare to the TV series? Well despite hearing many, many good things about the TV series, I have never seen a single episode so don’t ask me. Instead, this review will be based solely on the books merits.
Dexter Morgan is employed as a forensic officer for the Miami Police Department, specialising in blood splatter. He’s good at his job. Very good. Unbeknown to his colleagues, Dexter has a unique insight into the minds of murderers, because he is one. Helping to imprison the bad guys by day and dispatching of the ones that are difficult to catch by night, Dexter has a strong moral compass despite his need to kill. He prides himself on how neatly his life and work flow together.However, he’s thrown off guard when a new killer appears on the scene who seems to always be one step ahead.
The main ‘hook’ of Darkly Dreaming Dexter is a good one. The plot is told from Dexter’s point of view and despite him being a slightly unhinged serial killer, he is a likeable character. He describes himself as having a ‘lizard brain’, he struggles to relate to other people and feels the urge to kill people – pushed to carry out his desires by his ‘Dark Passenger’. However, he feels strongly about only killing people who are genuinely bad (child killers for example) and seems to have a genuine bond to his sister and late father. Dexter often asserts that he’s not human which is what causes him to kill, however we find out the real reason at the end. This makes me want to read on to the next book to see if this affects his view of himself.
Besides Dexter, the other characters are little two-dimensional, particularly the three main women in Dexter’s life who all seem a bit hapless and dependent. As long as you can ignore this fact Darkly Dreaming Dexter is not bad. It’s an easy read but it’s not particularly memorable or gripping.
So tell me, have you read this? How does ot compare to the TV show?