Book column: Darkly Dreaming Dexter
Published: Monday, September 23, 2013
Updated: Monday, September 23, 2013 22:09
Tonight’s the night. And it’s going to happen again and again. It has to happen.
Well, actually this particular review will only happen once, but don’t worry, folks, I’ll be back again next week!
As some of you may have guessed, this week’s book review is “Darkly Dreaming Dexter” by Jeff Lindsay, which I chose as a final farewell to Showtime’s “Dexter,” a popular adaptation of Lindsay’s series centered around the dangerous, deranged, dashing and debonair serial killer, Dexter Morgan.
“Darkly Dreaming Dexter” follows the seemingly average life of Miami-Dade Police Department blood spatter analyst Dexter Morgan and his homicidal adventures around southeastern Florida, happily disposing of individuals who he deems evil and unworthy, including but not limited to serial killers, rapists and pedophiles.
Thanks to the “Code of Harry,” named for his foster father, Dexter limits himself to killing only those who seemingly deserve it and leaves the innocent be. His whole world is turned upside down when a serial killer dubbed the “Tamiami Slasher” (the Ice Truck Killer in the TV show) begins leaving packages of de-blooded body parts around the city, throwing around decapitated heads and just generally being as obvious as possible in attempting to get Dexter’s attention.
Lo and behold, it works, and Dexter spends the majority of the book chasing after the Tamiami Slasher while fending off the advances of various attractive women and helping his sister Deborah attempt to transfer into the Homicide Department from Miami Vice.
While the content of “Darkly Dreaming Dexter” was very interesting, other aspects were a mixed bag. The ending, where Dexter finally meets and confronts the Tamiami Slasher, felt very rushed and haphazard. It could have been a lot better if there had been another chapter or two to really dive into the Dexter/Tamiami Slasher dynamic. Or perhaps some of Dexter’s inner monologuing about how awe inspiring and drool worthy the Tamiami Slasher was could have been cut out.
Additionally, several of the side characters were not as developed as they could have been. Individuals like Angel Batista, Vince Masuoka and even Deborah remained relatively static characters with little personal development and at times seemed more like convenient plot devices than fleshed-out characters. Maybe I’m just spoiled by the amount of plot development those characters get in the show.
Despite these flaws, I have to say I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book. As the entirety of the novel was written from the point of view of Dexter, readers get to delve into the mind of a serial killer with a conscience (or at least one created by an extremely understanding foster father).
Even more enjoyably, most of Dexter’s thoughts and observations are actually pretty hilarious. His dry, deadpan sense of humor and his practical infatuation with the killing style of the Tamiami Slasher kept me interested the entire time and made me laugh out loud quite a few times, even in scenes where the atmosphere should have been tense and serious.
On the whole, I would recommend reading “Darkly Dreaming Dexter.” It was entertaining and a fairly quick read, despite the issues I mentioned previously. However, if you are interested in watching the series, it is definitely not necessary for you to read this beforehand.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to go prepare myself for the “Dexter” season finale and find another television show to watch that also consists of a quirky, alliteration-happy serial killer. Anyone got any suggestions?
Have a book you want to see reviewed or just know a great (or terrible) read? Email Rachel Taylor at email@example.com!