Blurb: Dexter Morgan appears to be the perfect gentleman. He leads a normal, quiet life working as a forensic officer for the Miami Police. He has a nice, shy girlfriend and is liked by her young children. But Dexter has a secret hobby. He’s an accomplished serial killer.
So far he’s killed dozens of people and has never been caught, because he knows exactly how to dispose of the evidence. And there are those who would rather he wasn’t caught at all, because Dexter is a serial killer with a difference. He only kills the city’s bad guys.
Then Dexter’s well-organised life is thrown into chaos. Another serial killer is invading his territory – and he wants Dexter to come out and play…
Title: Darkly Dreaming Dexter
Author: Jeff Lindsay
Publisher: Orion, owned by Hachette UK
Genre: Fiction, Thriller
This story follows the otherwise extremely ordinary Dexter Morgan as he lives out a normal life working for the Miami Police. But when a series of murders make him think that someone knows about his dark secret, he can’t help but become drawn to this mysterious killer…
I watched the TV series that was adapted from Jeff Lindsay’s series of books a while ago and when I saw this I thought I had to give it a chance. I still love the idea behind the series – a brutal serial killer who seems to have a moral code and only goes after those who deserve death – but couldn’t help feel that I enjoyed the show more. I don’t often say that about books as they, usually, are able to offer more detail and character background than their adaptions but I was visualising the show the entire time I was reading. Now, as the book came first, I wouldn’t say that this was a fault with the series or the writing but would recommend reading this book before you delve into the show. Or, if you’re a fan of the show who wants to pick up the books, you could probably skip the first one.
However, there were still a lot of brilliant points about this book. Dexter has a very distinctive voice, one that I don’t really feel like I’ve read before. His no nonsense inner monologue was interesting, as was his need to stick to Harry’s rules. Dexter’s cleverness of knowing exactly what to do to get away with murder, combined with his dark sense of humour made him a fascinating character to get to know. I enjoyed the fact that everything is from Dexter’s point of view as I’ve read countless crime novels where we don’t see anything from the killer’s perspective. The supporting cast of characters was another thing I liked about this book as there are a real range of people who love Dexter, are cautious of him and downright think that he’s dangerous. It was interesting to see how his carefully constructed persona only worked on a few people and was definite foreshadowing of further books, I’m sure.
As for what I disliked, other than being frustratingly similar to the show (which obviously is not the book’s problem as it came first), my main gripe was the continuous mention of Dexter’s ‘dark passenger’. I understand that the distinction is a way to show that Dexter is capable of normal thought in his day to day life but, personally, his references to the ‘dark passenger’ didn’t fall in line with his character. Dexter is presented as clinical, logical and almost cold so didn’t really make sense to me that he would invent an almost imaginary-friend-esque character instead of having a logical explanation for why he had such dark urges. I know that he presents as playful and loving with Deb and Rita’s children but this is quite obviously an act, of which we are often reminded, so I don’t feel like this justifies it. I’d also point out that in comparison to the show, the mysterious killer in this book is largely absent, only popping up to advance the plot. I did prefer the adaption in this respect as there was more to keep you on your toes and Dexter’s detective skills weren’t just guided by strange dreams which made little sense. Despite this, I will most likely be continuing with this series to see if it is different from the show (as a colleague assured me it was) so it’s definitely intrigued me enough to keep going!
Overall, I would definitely recommend this book to any crime fanatics but would note that the first few books, at least, are better read before you’ve seen the TV adaption.
Have you read this book? What did you think? Have you read any of the books in this series? I’d love to know!