Monday, 12 November 2012

Book #92 Darkly Dreaming Dexter by Jeff Lindsay

Darkly Dreaming Dexter

Darkly Dreaming Dexter is the first of a sequence of books about Miami serial killer Dexter Morgan, upon which the US series "Dexter" is based. I have seen the first season of Dexter and read the book on that basis. This isn't something I generally like doing (in this order) because if you see someone else's interpretation of a novel before you read it, it is liable to stick with you and effect your feelings about the book during the reading. This happened with Darkly Dreaming Dexter which is why I always try to read the book first. 

I really enjoyed the first season of Dexter and so I thought I'd enjoy it equally in written form, I've often wished that The Wire or Breaking Bad textually rich series original to the small screen had novelisations so suited are they to a literary form that they are visual novels.

Dexter Morgan isn't any old serial killer hiding in the shadows, Dexter is the adopted son of a cop, who works in the forensic department of the local police, he has a girlfriend, named Rita, a sister named Debra, also a cop in the same force, and a Code, the Code given to him by his father Harry, who recognised that Dexter had a dark desire in him, a Dark Passenger, which couldn't be tamed, but might be controlled.

Harry, a jaded cop who has seen too many people get away with murder, or be too lightly sentenced, instills in Dexter that he can kill, but he must only ever kill bad people.
So that's the premise, and it's a good, original, one. The writing quality is solidly good, I particularly liked the opening paragraphs beginning with :

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.  
Dexter may be a killer, but his voice is often a poetic one. What is amusing and perhaps disturbing is that there is a feature on the Kindle which shows which sections of the novel have been most highlighted. All Darkly, Dreaming Dexter's most highlighted are insights into the disconnect from normality experienced by the sociopath, so clearly there is a readership out there identifying with the character!  I liked some of these asides, also used as voice over "If I had feelings I'd have them for Deb". Somehow Dexter does have feelings, he just doesn't realise it himself

To begin with the novel more or less follows the series, but a huge deviation occurs at the midway point when, though the outcome is roughly the same, the road it takes to that outcome massively differs from on screen. Having had both versions, dare I say it that the series brought us to the conclusion in a much more believable way.

I dare say I will read the rest of the Dexter novels in time as I did enjoy it and it was well written 8/10

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