Meet Dexter Morgan, a polite wolf in sheep's clothing. He's handsome and charming, but something in his past has made him abide by a different set of rules. He's a serial killer whose one golden rule makes him immensely likeable: he only kills bad people. And his job as a blood splatter expert for the Miami police department puts him in the perfect position to identify his victims. But when a series of brutal murders bearing a striking similarity to his own style start turning up, Dexter is caught between being flattered and being frightened-of himself or some other fiend.
It's been years since there's been a thriller debut as original as this one by Lindsay, who takes a tired subgenre the serial-killer novel and makes it as fresh as dawn. Lindsay's premise alone is worthy: narrator Dexter Morgan, a blood-spatter specialist for the Miami cops, is also a serial killer. But all his life, Dexter has followed the rules set down by his cop foster father (who knew of Dexter's proclivities), to indulge his passion only by slaying other serial killers. What makes this novel zing, though, is the narration humorous, self-deprecating, smart and sometimes lyrical, it's a macabre fun ride ("I thought about the nice clothes that I always wore. Well of course I did. I took pride in being the best-dressed monster in Dade County"). The story opens with Dexter at play, kidnapping and killing a priest who has murdered a number of children, then moves on to the main plot, a series of gruesome killings of prostitutes by an unknown madman. Dexter's foster sister is a Miami Vice Squad cop working on the killings, so Dexter decides to help her solve the case. This puts him in conflict with a dumb but ambitious female homicide detective as well as, soon enough, the killer himself, whose approach to serial killing mirrors Dexter's own, uncomfortably so. Might Dexter himself be the culprit The answer feels a bit contrived, but will surprise most readers, and it's a minor flaw in a gripping, deliciously offbeat novel that announces the arrival of a notable new talent. Agent, Nicholas Ellison. (On sale July 27) Forecast: Strong reviews on this title will alert readers, as will clever jacket art, depicting a smiley face painted in blood. Expect healthy sales.Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information. -- PUBLISHERS WEEKLY.
Showing 1-8 of the 8 most recent reviews
1 . Very Good
Posted July 17, 2011 by Proud Nerd , SouthMy better half is obsessed with the HBO Dexter series. They watched the entire series up to date within two days. Needless to say I was burned out on dear Dexter, until I came across the books. The saying is true, "The book is better than the movie." So much more detail than the show. Very hard to get lost in this book. The only downside, which maybe only me, is that after watching the show and reading the first book, I was getting confused with the little differences between the two. Mostly annoying difference that you can look past, but I like things consistent. Whether or not things are done by the same person. All and all it was a very good book. It leaves you hanging just like the show.
2 . As good as the TV series
Posted January 28, 2011 by Anna , Las Cruces, NMI really like the Dexter series. This first Dexter book gives more background than one gets from the series and the events are completely different than the TV episodes. I found the book to be just the right pace to keep me interested. The concept of a seriel killer who tries to control his urges by only killing bad guys is certainly unique. The investigation he does to make sure his victims are worthy lends a detective flavor to the story and his interaction with others keeps you thinking that eventually he will work through his compunctions and be a normal guy-but that will probably not happen--you think?
3 . Excellent Read
Posted November 10, 2010 by Grey Bird , KnoxvilleAlthough it's a bit different from the TV Series, it is really enjoyable to read. It's a book that kept me reading "just one more page" time after time. Dexter views his Dark Passenger more as a separate consciousness than in the series and the story line and some characters are somewhat different, but the book is just as good if not better than the series. I can't wait to read the next one.
4 . Awesome!!
Posted October 20, 2010 by MH , AtlantaI am a big Dexter fan and have watched all the episodes. I was happy to find this book as good as the TV show. In alot of ways i think its better. The characters and how they act are the same, but what happens to Dexter is different. I love it!!!
5 . Better.
Posted December 30, 2009 by Insipid Virus , NYI think that this novel was very well written. I have been a fan of the show since it's conception, and I must say I think this book was much better than the show. I am curious to read the rest of Jeff's series to continue this true version of what Dexter has in store. I love the show, and I love this novel. Now the show seems to be more of an alternate reality to this great book.
6 . I Love Dexter
Posted December 30, 2009 by Rosie , Port HopeThis is my second reading of Dexter. I read the books the first time before Dexter hit the screen and thought his character was mesmerizing. The book is well written and though I don't believe I know any serial killers personally, I think Mr. Lindsay hit the nail on the head with this one. You can't help but like Dexter. A great read!!!
7 . Good, but the TV version is more satisfying
Posted November 29, 2009 by Brian , London ON CanadaDelightful idea, to do a first person narative (which normally would be a bit childish) of a person who does not understand himself very well, nor understand people around him the way we 'normal' peoplpe do. This takes the youthful first person narative to a higher level as we puzzle out how Dexter is fitting into the world. I could do without the paranormal. Although minimal, it isn't necessary, and the threads at the end should be pulled together better, which the TV ending improves upon, I think. The reader is really left wondering how Debra and Rita ultimately accept him, Debra 'knowing', Rita not, but perhaps that is dealt with in later books.
The fact that I am going to now buy the next book (and probably the next, and the next...) does say it all, though. My criticisms are more personal than qualitative. It grabbed me and did';t let me go.
What else can a writer ask for?
8 . For the fan of the TV series
Posted December 24, 2008 by Stephane Thinel , Laval, Quebec, Canada2 weeks ago I've finish watching the 3rd season of the showtime's Dexter series. I just love it. Now wanting to wait another year for the 4th season, I decided to try the books. This is the first I read, and yes, we are indeed in full of the Dexter's world. It is a fast read, narrated by Dexter himself. I always find the end of season's of Dexter very fast, and this is the same in this book. But it is well written and balanced. Maybe it is a witting style. Even if you didn't see the tv show you will not be deceived.
June 27, 2005
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Excerpt from Darkly Dreaming Dexter by Jeff Lindsay
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.
I had been waiting and watching the priest for five weeks now. The Need had been prickling and teasing and prodding at me to find one, find the next, find this priest. For three weeks I had known he was it, he was next, we belonged to the Dark Passenger, he and I together. And that three weeks I had spent fighting the pressure, the growing Need, rising in me like a great wave that roars up and over the beach and does not recede, only swells more with every tick of the bright night's clock.
But it was careful time, too, time spent making sure. Not making sure of the priest, no, I was long sure of him. Time spent to be certain that it could be done right, made neat, all the corners folded, all squared away. I could not be caught, not now. I had worked too hard, too long, to make this work for me, to protect my happy little life.
And I was having too much fun to stop now.
And so I was always careful. Always tidy. Always prepared ahead of time so it would be right. And when it was right, take extra time to be sure. It was the Harry way, God bless him, that farsighted perfect policeman, my foster father. Always be sure, be careful, be exact, he had said, and for a week now I had been sure that everything was just as Harry-right as it could be. And when I left work this night, I knew this was it. This night was the Night. This night felt different. This night it would happen, had to happen. Just as it had happened before. Just as it would happen again, and again