Friday, October 22, 2010

Darkly Dreaming Dexter - Book Review

I'm a book I always want to read the book before I see the t.v. or movie version of a story.
However, I stumbled upon the television series Dexter before I realized there was even a set of books before the series.

I debated on whether or not to read the books.
I read reviews that were mostly negative...and I couldn't decide what to do.
My oldest daughter is a t.v. Dexter addict and talked me into giving it a try.
She said, "Just get through the first one, Mom...If you don't like it, you won't have to read anymore."
I think she secretly just wanted me to preview it so she wouldn't have to.

Then, along came R.I.P V and gave me the perfect excuse to give the dark Dexter in print a try.

I'm glad I did.

The book Darkly Dreaming Dexter begins much the same as the t.v. show.  Orphaned at a young age and a witness to his own mother's violent murder, Dexter deals with an alter ego he calls "The Dark Passenger."  Dexter is a serial killer...BUT he's a good serial killer.

Ok, I know that sounds weird, but Dexter's stepfather Harry taught him how to channel his urges and use his killing for good...killing those who deserve to be killed...child molesters, murderers, become more human rather than a "monster."

Dexter pretends to live a normal life and holds down a job as an expert blood spatter analyst for Miami-Dade Police Department.  Dexter has a close relationship with his stepsister Deborah who is an officer for the same police department and a "relationship" of sorts with a woman named Rita.

After the first few chapters I was sinking deeply into dejavu depression...I was disappointed...
not long after that and once I relaxed and let the story flow, I realized just how different print Dexter is.

T.V. Dexter is almost loveable.
The viewer almost cheers t.v. Dexter on as he searches out, drugs and subsequently dismembers his victims.

Print Dexter is much more sinister...and even creepy.
I don't "like" print Dexter as much as I like t.v. Dexter.
He scares me and gives me goosebumps.
I don't dislike Print Dexter...I just don't trust him.
Pretty smart judgement of a serial killer, I think...even a "good" serial killer.

Print Dexter hears voices and has less control over his "urges" than t.v. Dexter.
There is one particular scene towards the end of Darkly Dreaming Dexter that is downright chilling.
Dexter has to make a decision...a hair raising decision about Deborah.
I wasn't sure he was going to make the right decision.
I wasn't sure what was going to happen to me if Dexter made the wrong decision.
I don't know if I could have handled it!

Print Dexter's relationship with Rita is really just a part of his mask.
He seems to work constantly at remaining somewhat sane.
It is this same almost insanity that makes Dexter hilarious at times.  He makes jokes out of things that most people wouldn't :

While the coffee brewed, I checked for the newspaper, more out of hope than expectation.  It was rare for the paper to arrive before six-thirty, and on Sundays it often came after eight.  It was another clear example of the disintegration of society that had so worried Harry.  Really, now: If you can't get me my newspaper on time, how can you expect me to refrain from killing people?
p. 170

In Darkly Dreaming Dexter, Dexter's dreams connect him to a string of murders committed by the Ice Truck Killer.  Dexter follows the Ice Truck Killer partly out of respect for his artful display of body parts and partly to help Deborah finally earn her detective badge by solving the murders.  The surprises that sneak up on Dexter and Deborah before this case is over will leave even show watchers stunned. 

I will be reading the next book in this series.


  1. This all sounds very interesting, but I have to admit, that I cannot read things like this or watch them on TV or I absolutely cannot sleep!
    I'll have to stick to reading your recommendations like the previous ones! Fancy Nancy doesn't keep me up at night! Ha!
    Hope you and your family are doing well.

  2. Great review! I am a big fan of the TV show, but have actually never thought about reading the books. Now, I would like to. It's scary that the print Dexter is even more sinister than his TV version... But Dexter is such a great, complex character and I would really like to try the first book in the series. Thanks for sharing!