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Mirkat

Mirkat Always Reading

I'm always reading something, usually multiple books at a time.

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Modern Romance
Aziz Ansari, Eric Klinenberg

Constantly Conveying Consonance

Darkly Dreaming Dexter  - Jeff Lindsay

For a while I was on the verge of giving this one three stars, but my opinion of the book deteriorated within the last quarter-third or so of the narrative. I wonder if I would have liked this book more if I'd read it before having watched seasons one through seven of the Showtime TV series based on these books, but I couldn't help comparing them as I read. One review I'd seen for this book mentioned that reading it was like reading season one of the series. It kind of was, at least for a while. But ultimately, I ended up feeling that show's writers and producers have infinitely improved upon their source material. To me, the TV version of Dexter has much more depth. The main mystery that this book deals with, I think, unfolded in a much more interesting way on the show.

I can't help making some more comparisons, and I will hide them behind "spoiler" tags, as my discussion will contain spoilers for both season one of Dexter as well as this book.

 

 

This is probably unfair, but it really bothered me that Jeff Lindsay had Dexter's brother Brian physically resemble Dexter. I much prefer the casting decision the show made when casting a Brian who looked nothing like Michael C. Hall. Of course, Dexter himself in the book does not resemble Michael C. Hall either, and I confess that I mentally jettisoned the physical description that Lindsay provides in favor of picturing Hall.


It's been a while since I've watched season one, but from what I recall, I preferred that Brian and Deb had a relationship before the reveal of Brian's identity occurred. The show's writers developing the idea that Brian came to be known as the "ice truck killer" based on his MO worked for me much more than the cops in the book never quite getting it when it came to what he was doing. Also, I recall that Dexter researching his own past and using actual detecting skills led him to figure out that this seemingly nice guy that Deb had been dating was the killer AND the brother he never knew he had. By contrast, in the book he only found his way to Brian poised to kill Deb through an implausible psychic connection he had to Brian, and then Brian gave him an infodump about their shared past. It also seemed to me that Dexter in the show had absorbed Harry's "code" much more deeply than book-Dexter did. Although his admiration for Brian's technique carried over into the show, as I recall there was never a sense that he'd be quite happy to help Brian kill innocent women, just so long as they weren't his sister Deb. I was also disgusted that Dexter in the book came so very close to actually killing Deb. It seems to me that in the show, this really wasn't a dilemma for him (or at least not much of one). And one detail that I appreciated in the show was that Brian had made a point of copying Dexter's MO (with the plastic sheeting and the table), but there was no sense of this in the book. And LaGuerta got killed! Boo!

As an aside, I will also mention that I am troubled by Lindsay's basic premise, that the traumatic event that Dexter and Brian witnessed would necessary turn them into soulless serial killers. That seems like a slap in the face to people who have witnessed such horrific crimes without being affected in that way. Oh, which reminds me--I much prefer that the show changed the back-story of Dexter's mother, so that she was a confidential informant who had been working with Harry, and that her being a "snitch" was what got her killed--instead of her trying "a little independent project with some product that strictly speaking did not actually belong to her," as Brian so ineloquently put it.

(show spoiler)



Something else that bothered me throughout the book was Dexter's constantly referring to Harry as his "foster father," even after revealing that Harry had legally adopted him. I could maybe see him using "adoptive father," but "foster father" just wasn't even accurate. And on a much more petty note, I will say that I got tired of Dexter's insistence on setting up alliterative phrases involving his name (see title; I know all of the books have D-alliterations with Dexter, but I had no idea that Dexter-as-narrator does this all the time as well).