Jeff Lindsay – Darkly Dreaming Dexter

19Sep09


I’m guessing that most of you must have heard of Dexter (the TV show is really popular at the moment) – Blood spatter specialist by day, serial killer by night? But, he’s a serial killer with a conscience – you see, he only kills the people who deserve to die. The pedophiles, the rapists, the evil nurse.

And, he does it artfully. Neatly. Covers his tracks, and makes sure he’s never caught. Because that’s what Harry taught him – Harry, his foster father, who is now dead, but his voice still echoes in Dexter’s head, as a guiding light. Dexter has an inner Dark Passenger that takes over, and leaves him with an urge to kill. Harry, an ex-cop, did understand that, and inculcated in Dexter the moral code: Kill only those who deserve to die. He also taught Dexter the basics, to ensure he was never caught: fit in, dress well, have a normal job, have a girlfriend, and always cover your traces.

The book is written in first person, narrated by Dexter. In the first book of this series, another serial killer is in town, and his practices and methods seem to mirror Dexter’s. All the blood is drained, the bodies are cut into numerous “neat” pieces, and disposed off in garbage disposal bags. Deborah, Dexter’s foster sister, is an aspiring detective, and she seeks Dexter’s help, for Dexter seems to have a “knack” to figure out these crimes. Dexter, on the other hand, needs to figure out if he wants to get “emotionally involved” with this serial killer, or help his sister, who’s been having a hard time, courtesy another detective on the force.

What would I do? I need to decide now, before I get too helpful for Deborah. I could help her solve this, absolutely, no one better. Nobody else was even moving in the right direction. But did I want to help? Did I want this killer arrested? Or did I want to find him and stop him myself? Beyond this – oh, nagging little thought – did I even want him to stop?

As the killings increase, Dexter finds himself more involved, so much so that he thinks that the killer on the loose is speaking to him directly, or, that he’s losing his mind. Which one is it?

By no means is this book perfect – the plot is not the strongest, and it’s not a literary masterpiece. However, the book is a page-turner, like no other. Dexter’s character is amazing, and sometimes, I had to avert my eyes from the page and shake my head, because I really couldn’t believe what I was reading. It’s funny, serious, and point-blank. Dexter doesn’t really mince words.

By four-thirty in the morning, the priest was all cleaned up. I felt a lot better. I always did, after. Killing makes me feel good. It works the knots out of darling Dexter’s dark schemata.

If you like page-turners, that are slightly dark, slightly disturbing, go ahead and pick this up. You will not be disappointed, for Dexter really is unforgettable, and, in his own way, he’s charismatic as well!

Rating: 3.5

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8 Responses to “Jeff Lindsay – Darkly Dreaming Dexter”

  1. I love the show and I have the first book in the series but have so many books above it in the reading list.

    • One of the guys I work with lent me three of them, and I hate hoarding borrowed books for very long, so I thought I’d start with them straight away. Going to read all of them in one go – might be a fairly Dexter-esque blog for the upcoming week. :)

      I haven’t seen much of the TV series, but am curious to see how much they overlap. Loved whatever little I’ve seen, so maybe it’s time to do a Dexter marathon?!

  2. I too loved the show; in theory the book should be better, but I suspect the show is pretty much faithful to the text. I wish you had seen enough of the show to make the comparison for me!

    • Not sure about the Dexter books being better to be honest – and this is one of the very few times I’ll say this. Just because the images are so graphic, and disturbing, I think seeing it on TV will have more of an impact, because, vivid as my imagination is, I cannot imagine some of the things described.

      Plus, the show is really good with its graphics and visuals, so…

      Books are addictive, as well, though.

  3. 5 Pam

    I am a huge Dexter fan (having watched all three seasons in a 2 week period after a random discovery) The most interesting thing about Dexter is that you find yourself ethically arguing with yourself about whether or not to like him – he does ‘bad’ things, but he’s he’s doing ‘good’ – tricky…

    Apologies. I feel like a fraud commenting on a book review when I have only watched the dvd’s!

    • Nah, don’t be silly! The premise stills holds : good guy, bad guy? I find myself to be totally in love with him, just because, I do think some people deserve to die. I know, this could go down the road of the whole capital punishment v. life imprisonment debate, but I seriously believe rapists, pedophiles, and the like should be tortured and then killed.

      However, I just finished the second book, and some “ethical” questions haunted me. Or more like, some of the decisions Dex made. I already think of him as Dex, not Dexter. This can’t be good….

      PS: Three seasons in two weeks is pretty damn good. I think I did that with Alias…

  4. I love the tv show and the premise is so intirguing, might have to dig the books out.


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