Darkly Dreaming Dexter by Jeff Lindsay

Title:  Darkly Dreaming Dexter

Author:  Jeff Lindsay

Paperback:  275 pages

Date Published:  2004

Publisher:  Orion Books Ltd

ISBN:  9780752865744

Moon.  Glorious moon.  Full, fat, reddish moon, the night as light as day, the moonlight flooding down across the land and bringing joy, joy, joy.  Bringing too the full-throated call of the tropical night, the soft and wild voice of the wind roaring through the hairs on your arm, the hollow wail of starlight, the teeth-grinding bellow of the moonlight off the water.

All calling to the Need.  Oh, the symphonic shriek of the thousand hiding voices, the cry of the Need inside, the entity, the silent watcher, the cold quiet thing, the one that laughs, the Moondancer.  The me that was not-me, the thing that mocked and laughed and came calling with its hunger.  With the Need.  And the Need was very strong now, very careful cold coiled creeping crackly cocked and ready, very strong, very much ready now – and still it waited and watched, and it made me wait and watch.

-Dearly Dreaming Dexter by Jeff Lindsay, page 1

Dearly Dreaming Dexter by Jeff Lindsay is the first book of the Dexter series, and the basis for the first season of Showtime’s Dexter.  I’ve definitely decided darling Dexter is a delightfully delicious diversion :-D (Okay, Lindsay does the alliteration-thing a lot better than me ;-) )

For those who might not know, Dexter Morgan is a forensic officer specializing in blood splatter for the Miami police department.  He’s a nice guy, well-groomed, a quiet gentleman with a witty repartee.  He has a sweet and shy girlfriend who has two young children.  And to keep the stress levels down and help him stay centered and focused, Dexter has a little hobby.  He likes to hunt. 

People.

Dexter has a Dark Passenger that demands he kill, but Harry, Dexter’s adopted father, recognized the predator in him at an early age and gave him a code of conduct.  He must be 100% sure the person is guilty before killing him.  Dexter is a serial killer who kills serial killers.  A monster with a conscious.

But Dexter is deeply impressed, one artist of another’s talent, when his sister Deb calls him to get over to the scene of a recently discovered, BLOODLESS, disassembled body.  He knows that, according to the Code of Harry, the Tamiami Butcher (as he is called in the book) deserves to be caught and killed, yet there is beauty in his presentation and work, Dexter wants to meet his new playmate.

Darkly Dreaming Dexter by Jeff Lindsay is a fun and compelling page-turning.  Showtime was good enough to make the show different enough from the book that you can still be surprised by the book if you’ve seen the series.  And I’d have to say Michael C. Hall is the best actor for Dexter I could think of (their Deb is perfect, too).  Of course, since I saw the show before I knew of the book (in fact, that’s how I found out about the book, it’s mentioned in the credits), so naturally I see the shows faces in the roles as I read the book.

Another beautiful Miami day.  Mutilated corpses with a chance of afternoon showers.  -page 164

Darkly Dreaming Dexter has a bit of a paranormal mystery to it, where as the show seems to lean more on logic.  The Dark Passenger is a character, a spiritual being, with a connection to other dark passengers and silent watchers in other killers, which enable Dexter to have something of a psychic understanding of them.  It’s this skill that make the detectives, and even his cop sister, turn to him on solving the serial murders.  It’s also what creates a crisis within Dexter, as he is unsure whether he himself is the Tamiami Butcher, killing his victims while sleeping.

I give Darkly Dreaming Dexter 4 out of 5 stars.

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I’m so excited! Season 3 of Dexter comes out on DVD August 18th… Oh, how wonderful! Kids go back to school and Dexter comes home with me for my viewing pleasure :-D

Dexter in the Dark by Jeff Lindsay

Title: Dexter in the Dark
Author: Jeff Lindsay
Paperback: 302 pages
Publisher:  First Vintage Crime/Black Lizard Edition (div of Random House)
Publish Date: 2007
ISBN:  9780307276735

So what kind of moon can this possibly be, with its near breathless smile and smirking lace around the edges?  It batters feebly at the window, but it can’t quite get in past all the sickly-sweet warbling.  And what kind of Dark Avenger could simply sit across the room, as poor Dazed Dexter does now, pretending to listen while mooning blearily on his chair?

Why, this must be a honeymoon – unfurling its marital banner across the living-room night, signaling for all to rally round, sound the charge, once more into the church, dear friends – because Dexter of the Deadly Dimples is getting married.  Hitched to the wagon of bliss pulled by the lovely Rita, who has turned out to have a lifelong passion to see Paris.

…  Can we really see a suddenly sober and simpering slasher at the altar of an actual church, in Fred Astaire tie and tails, slipping the ring onto a white-wrapped finger while the congregation sniffles and beams?  And then Demon Dexter in madras shorts, gawking at the Eiffel Tower and snarfing cafe au lait at the Arc de Triomphe?  Holding hands and trundling giddily along the Seine, staring vacantly at ever gaudy trinket in the Louvre?

Of course, I suppose I could make a pilgrimage to the Rue Morgue, a sacred site for serial slashers.

But let us be just a tiny bit serious for a moment:  Dexter in Paris?  For starters, are Americans still allowed to go to France?  and for finishers, Dexter in Paris?  On a honeymoon?  How can someone of Dexter’s midnight persuasions possibly consider anything so ordinary?  How can someone who considers sex as interesting as deficit accounting enter into marriage?  In short, how by all that is unholy, dark, and deadly can Dexter really mean to do this?

… Dexter can go through with this because he must, in part to maintain and even upgrade his necessary disguise, which prevents the world at large from seeing him for what he is, which is at best not something one would really like to have sitting across the table when the lights go out – especially if there is silverware present.  And quite naturally, it takes a great deal of careful work to make sure it is not generally known that Dexter is driven by his Dark Passenger, a whispery-silk voice in the shaded backseat that from time to time climbs into the front seat to take the wheel and drive us to the Theme Park of the Unthinkable.  It would never do to have the sheep see that Dexter is the wolf among them.

-Dexter in the Darkby Jeff Lindsay, pages 5-7

Dexter Morgan is an attractive, charming blood spatter expert in the Miami Police forensics department.  He is engaged to sweet Rita, soon-to-be-step-dad to her two children Astor and Cody.  His sister Don’t-call-me-Debbie-Deborah is a Sergent in homicide, and uses her eldest-sibling status to order and bully Dexter (as much as one could bully him) around crime scenes and investigating the cases.  He is the son of legendary Harry, a now-deceased hero of the force, who taught fledgling Dexter all he knows and trained him in the Harry Code.  Oh yes… and Dexter is also host to what he calls “The Dark Passenger,” a sibilant voice that drives him in an urgent need to kill; Dexter Morgan is a serial killer.

Dexter in the Dark by Jeff Lindsay is the third in the Dexter series.  I first found out about the books when I watched Dexter, a television series now in its third season on Showtime.  After watching the first couple shows, I caught the book’s title and author in the end credits and ran to my local Waldenbooks… who, unfortunately, only carried Dexter in the Dark, and, even more to my woe, have closed their doors for good, leaving my town bookstore-less.

Scene from Showtime’s Dexter(the show is rated TVMA, and this clip is at least TV-14):

Because I have had the previous experience of the show, starting up with the third book wasn’t too traumatic a beginning.  The Dark Passenger isn’t mentioned much, if at all, in the TV show, and there were a few major curves as a result from events unknown to me as a result of lacking the information provided by the first two books… Dexter’s upcoming nuptials being a MAJOR surprise (I’ve only seen the first season thus far).  However, Lindsay does a fairly good job of catching the reader up to speed on these occasions, though I would definitely recommend reading them in order, instead, as the “getting-to-know-and-like-the-charming-serial-killer-good-guy” would be found in book one.

As far as writing style goes, I enjoyed Lindsay’s playful alliterations and snarky internal dialogue of the narrator:  I headed out the door for my date with Deborah’s paramour.(p. 272)  Lindsay also toes the line, and occasionally steps over it, with his near-offensive, non-P.C., perverse and irreverent humor, from the xenophobic, misogynistic rant of an elderly witness, to description of the intense and utter pain and agony felt by Dexter Downtroadden at the altar… awaiting his fate as if he were Dexter on Death Row.

I am looking forward to reading the rest of the Dexters, but I do want Darkly Dreaming Dexter next.   I think I’ve missed something by starting in the middle of the series, despite seeing the show.  It’s possible I would rate this book higher had I read them in order, as it is I’m going to give Dexter in the Dark by Jeff Lindsay 3 1/2 out of 5 stars.  I really did enjoy it, but felt it was lacking something (probably books 1 and 2).

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