Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Dexter 01: Darkly Dreaming Dexter (Jeff Lindsay)

Rating: 4
Year: 2004
Genre: Thriller
Read again? Yes

Dexter Morgan is a blood-splatter analyst for the Miami Police Department. In his spare time, he's a serial killer--but one with a mission. He only kills bad people who have it coming.

Dexter lives by a code named for his adoptive father, Harry. Harry's Code is a set of rules his father put together to keep Dex from ending up on death row. He'd seen the homicidal impulses in his son even at a young age, so he started sharpening Dex to use as a weapon against the bad guys who so often escape justice because Justice is hemmed in by too many rules.

As the book opens, Dex is stalking a priest who abuses and murders children.

Dex abuses and murders him. Then he buries the bastard in his own graveyard, right next to his victims.

Dexter's sister Debbie is a cop, stuck out of the way in Vice where she works as bait for horny johns. Someone has started killing hookers, cutting them up and leaving their bodies on public display.

As soon as he sees the first corpse, Dexter recognizes the work of a fellow murder artist. But he has a dilemma: does he do his job and help the police catch the baddie...or does he hold back and enjoy the artistry?

"Darkly Dreaming" covers much of the first season of the "Dexter" TV series. I tend to like the show more, probably because that's where I started. Most of the character dynamics are the same: Dexter's got a friendly public mask to hide behind, including a relationship with an emotionally-damaged woman (Rita) who isn't likely to want intimacy. She's just part of his disguise. Dex is respected by most of the cops in Homicide, seeing him as a lab nerd who knows his stuff. There's one cop--Doakes--who sees through all of Dexter's camouflage. Doakes is a killer who recognizes another.

That said, the books and the show don't spend a lot of time together once we're past "Darkly Dreaming."

I read this book several months ago, but I don't remember anything in Lindsay's style that would keep me from reading the rest of the series.