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Darkly Dreaming Dexter or Darkly Daft Dexter?
Darkly Dreaming Dexter - Jeff Lindsay
Member Name: Jojoborne
Darkly Dreaming Dexter - Jeff Lindsay
Advantages: Easy to read. Got me into the TV seriesw, which I now love.
Disadvantages: Not for kids. Don't leave your copy lying around the house if you have young children who can read.
Darkly Dreaming Dexter by Jeff Lindsay
Anyone who knows me will know that I have read true crime and crime fiction for thirty years. I don't consider myself an expert but with that in mind I was curious as to how I would find Jeff Lindsay's debut novel. I had already watched the first episode of the TV series and decided to put that on the back burner as I was too busy at the time. I now have the first four seasons and have yet to watch them. I wanted to give the books a go first.
I found that first episode of the TV series annoying as the narration grated on me after half an hour. I must admit I wasn't in the mood and was very tired at the time and not knowing the characters wasn't in the best place to judge. I did, however, think that the narration would work a lot better in the novel and hoped that it was told from a first person perspective.
I'm glad to say that it was and it does work a lot better.
Dexter Morgan is the stereotypicalgood egg and all round good guy. Eager to please and willing to help. He works at the crime lab for his local police force where he analyses blood splatter and everything that the red stuff pertains to.
To an outsider he is a likeable guy who keeps himself to himself. He has a girlfriend, though not much is known about her by his work colleagues.
His step sister is a police officer and his only real friend.
You see, Dexter doesn't have friends, so to speak because Dexter doesn't count himself as human. Well, not human in the true sense of the word anyway because Dexter has a very different hobby.
He is a serial killer who has killed over thirty people and he loves what he does. He likes to torture and maim and make his victims suffer.
The thing that makes Dexter really different, especially from other serial killers, is the fact that he only kills people who are corrupt or bad or don't deserve to be walking around amongst the living. Paedophiles, rapists, child murderers to name but a few of Dexter's preferred play things. Dexter is fastidious in the controlling of his inner self, his demon and the other him that he likes to call hisDark Passenger.
The first book centres on another killer who starts to taunt Dexter and apparently knows what Dexter does. It is a game Dexter is only to willing to play but how far can he go without raising suspicion from his work colleagues, girlfriend and sister?
I enjoyed this book but thought there was a little too much comic relief about it. I suppose this was done to hold back the obvious bible-bashing groups that would have ripped it to shreds had it been of a darker nature. This being the case it almost feels as if Lindsay wimped out. The title suggests that it is dark but doesn't allude to the comically dark side of it or give any indication that it is essentially a black comedy.
For all intents and purposes Lindsay does deliver a good yarn and it does do what it says on the tin in that the subject matter is quite dark and risque even though the comedy stifles it a little.
The character of Dexter Morgan is well drawn and actually believable but let's not kid ourselves here; we read fiction to escape the everyday drag that is life and if stories all mirrored real life, then just how boring would they be? The book is far fetched yes but any fan of Doctor Who will tell you that you have to embrace it to enjoy it. Thankfully, from my point of view. the story is nothing like Doctor Who but it does have that comic edge to it that can be amusing as well as annoying. Dexter's wit and sarcasm exudes from his every pore and you do begin to think that it is impossible for him to hold a normal conversation.
The storyline is not bad but I felt the end was a bit weak. Actually, I'll rephrase that; it was not that it was weak as much as unlikely. I don't mean unlikely as in 'That just wouldn't happen', I mean unlikely to me because of the way his sister reacts to it. All the way through the book she has certain mannerisms and a code she works to and follows. At the end of the book she makes a decision that I feel would be totally opposite to what she would do. Moralistically she changes dramatically at the end of the book and it just seems like this character wouldn't have done that.
LaGuerta Dexter's and his sister's boss and essentially his on the case is also drawn out pretty well. She's the bra-burning super bitch who lets no one stand in her way. She's the character that you love to hate.
Another character that is sure to be prevalent in the future novels is Sergeant Noakes. He absolutely hates Dexter and knows something is not quite right about him. He enjoys telling Dexter 'me and you, one day, me and you'. They are bound to clash big time in later novels and it should be good when they do.
Darkly Dreaming Dexter is an easy book to read and at just under three hundred pages is not overly long. Jeff Lindsey is obviously a good writer and for a debut novel (see author bio below) he can be nothing but proud of himself.
My wish for future books is that Lindsay decides on whether or not to make it an out and out black comedy or makes it darker and more terrifying, hopefully the latter.
Jeff Lindsay lives in Cape Coral in Florida in the United States. Lindsay is his pen name and his real name is Jeffry P. Freundlich. Before writing the Dexter series he wrote many plays, which have appeared at many fine theatres across New York and London. He did write many books before the Dexter series but Darkly Dreaming Dexter was his first hit and is considered to be a debut as the other novels were written under another pen name.
He is married to the niece of Ernest Hemmingway, Hilary Hemmingway, who is an author in her own right. No pressure to succeed there then Mr Freundlich.
On October 18th 2011 the sixth book in the Dexter series was released and was an instant hit.
The books have developed a cult following and along with the TV series have ensured that Lindsay will be remembered as a writer.
The Dexter Novels
Darkly Dreaming Dexter
Dearly Devoted Dexter
Dexter in the Dark
Dexter by Design
Dexter is Delicious
Would I recommend Darkly Dreaming Dexter? The answer is yes, but I would be very wary of comparing it to the TV series. Let the book speak for itself. If you have already seen season one of the TV series then I think it would be interesting to read it and see how much of it was actually used for the small screen. Seasons two and Three have their own storylines and do not follow the books so it is worth noting that if you are a fan of Dexter, then getting the books gives you the best of both worlds in that you have something different in the books than the TV series or vice-versa.
Copyright Lee Billingham
Summary: A serial Killer you root for!