Darkly Dreaming Dexter review

Darkly Dreaming Dexter

Darkly Dreaming Dexter

Darkly Dreaming Dexter is the first book in the Dexter series by Jeff Lindsay, and us the basis for the Showtime series of the same name, currently one of the most popular shows on the planet. Both series’ are currently holding strong at 5 (books and seasons, respectfully), and the series is one of my favorite if all time. Given my affinity for the written word, I thought I would treat myself to the source material.

… Oh God.

What the hell happened? I mean seriously, what the hell happened? This was one of the worst novels I have ever read! How did such awesomeness come from such horrid source material? How did this spawn 4+ sequels? What the hell? James Manos (the shows producer) must be a god.

Okay, but rather than just complaining, let’s see if I can articulate exactly what I have an issue with… And while I’m at it, let’s see if I can keep it to 10 pages or less.

First, the main character. Part of what makes the tv series work is the viewers affinity for the main character. Despite some of the things he does, we feel for him and we understand him. A lot of the credit for this goes to Micheal C. Hall, but not all. The show is gifted with astonishing writers. In the novel he’s horrible. It’s all told from his internal monolog, so it should be VERY easy to emphasize with him, but his internal thoughts are so stupid, self-absorbed, and downright ludicrous that its impossible to feel sympathy for him.

The plot is damn near unreadable. While in the series Dexter is the main character and is the lynchpin for all the events going on around him, in this he’s often a spectator simply watching the events of the Ice Truck Killer (sorry, Tamiami Butcher) investigation. Or, often, not even a spectator: he hears about events third hand. While this may be a more naturalistic approach, it violates Good Writing 101: it makes the main character frustratingly passive. It’s just plain ineffective storytelling.

And the last nail in the coffin is the supporting characters. While Deb appears mostly unchanged, the rest suffer. LeGuerta is homophobic and constantly spouting anti-gay slurs. Angel is almost absent. Doaks (one of my favorites from early episodes of the show) is only in a few scenes and is ridiculously one-dimensional. I hear he at least gets more screen-time in later books, but as it is I have to wonder why these characters are even HERE. They just appear, get named, then are never seen again. It’s like Lindsay knew there would be a far superior tv series based on this novel and wanted to give them enough characters to work with.

If I was judging the series it would get full marks, but I’m not. I’m judging the first book in a series I find offensive, wretched, and mind-numbingly stupid.

Darkly Dreaming Dexter (Dexter, #1)Darkly Dreaming Dexter by Jeff Lindsay

My rating: 1 of 5 stars

… Oh God.

What the hell happened? I mean seriously, what the hell happened? This was one of the worst novels I have ever read! How did such awesomeness come from such horrid source material? How did this spawn 4+ sequels? What the hell? James Manos (the shows producer) must be a god.

View all my reviews

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