Tuesday, 19 April 2016

Review #37 - Darkly Dreaming Dexter by Jeff Lindsay

Title: Darkly Dreaming Dexter (Dexter Morgan #1)
Author: Jeff Lindsay
Published: 2004


A brief synopsis; (Via Goodreads)
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...


Jeff Lindsay is the New York Times bestselling author of the Dexter novels, which debuted in 2004 with Darkly Dreaming Dexter. They are the basis of the hit Showtime and CBS series, Dexter. He lives in South Florida with his family.
(bio taken from the Dexter Website)
You can also view Jeff's official Facebook Page.
Now, I am a huge fan of the show (despite having only watched the first two seasons; after exams I will be binge watching). 

To say I loved this book would be a huge understatement. It had so much wit and progression and characterisation that I couldn't find a fault with it- except perhaps the ending. But I'll talk about that later.

If you've seen the show, then you'll notice definite differences between the two.

For starters, the serial killer their chasing is not dubbed the 'Ice Truck Killer', but rather the 'Tamiami Slasher' - I know which one I prefer; though possibly my distaste for the latter stems from the fact that it reminds me of the 'Hash-slinging Slasher' from Spongebob Squarepants.

There is a much more, in-depth psychological evaluation within this book. Dexter evaluates his own feelings and actions, giving the reader an explanation for his actions. He deeply explores the Dark Passenger that lies within himself.

This psychological twist within the novel is excellent in terms of keeping the reading engaged. I read this whole thing in two sittings; had I not been so tired, it would have most definitely been one. It absolutely hooked me.

The chatty narrative style that Lindsay uses is brilliant; despite Dexter being apparently void of emotions, he goes to great lengths to explain to the reader why which in a way implied that he did in fact care for quite a number of things - Rita's children especially. It was refreshing to see Dexter exhibit morals when it came to children - even Serial Killers have a golden heart, appreciating the innocence of children. And, of course, the dark humour. I loved it.

I think one of the main reasons this novel was so interesting to me is because of my study of Marxism; it is one of the main literary theories I study in English Literature, and was also the basis of my Russian history last year. Dexter's alienation of himself from society really plays into those hands.

There were only two disappointing factors in this novel for me:

1) The lack of violence.

Dexter didn't perform as many killings as I would have liked. Granted, this is just the first book- I'm sure there will be plenty of killings in the sequel. I can't wait to get my hands on it. As such, I felt a little disappointed, but perhaps my hopes were tainted by the show where there was virtually a killing per episode.

2) The ending.

This was kind of a big disappointment, I believe. The last chapter was anti-climatic, it actually made me swear a little. I was expecting something far more standoffish with the way things were going. That never happened, sadly. And I think the ambiguity of the epilogue concerning Deb and her knowledge of Dexter's 'occupation' didn't improve things in the slightest. The ending has, however, set up a nice amount of anticipation for Book 2.
"I did not like this feeling of having feelings."
"Perhaps because I'll never be one, humans are interesting to me." 
"Another beautiful Miami day. Mutilated corpses with a chance of afternoon showers. I got dressed and went to work."
"If I could have feelings at all I would have them for Deb."

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