Darkly Dreaming Dexter

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Darkly Dreaming Dexter  

Cover of the 2004 edition
Author Jeff Lindsay
Country United States
Language English
Genre(s) Crime novel
Publication date 2004
Media type print (hardback & paperback)
Followed by Dearly Devoted Dexter

Darkly Dreaming Dexter is a 2004 novel by Jeff Lindsay. It has formed the basis of the Showtime television series Dexter. It won the 2005 Dilys Award.


[edit] Plot summary

The novel's protagonist, Dexter Morgan, works for the Miami-Dade Police Department as a forensic blood spatter pattern analyst. In his spare time, Dexter is a serial killer with a catch: he only kills murderers that he believes have escaped judicial punishment.

Dexter's murders are directed by an inner voice he refers to as the "Dark Passenger", who keeps prodding Dexter to kill something. Once he has done so, the voice is satisfied for a while, but always comes back.

Flashbacks reveal that his foster father, a police detective named Harry Morgan, taught him how to kill people who have gotten away with murder as a way to channel his homicidal urges in a "positive" direction. Harry taught young Dexter to be a careful, meticulous killer, to leave no clues, and to be absolutely sure his victims are guilty before killing them. Dexter calls these rules "the code of Harry".

Dexter manages his double life reasonably well for years, but is unprepared when a serial killer with an artistic and playful style that impresses Dexter starts terrorizing Miami's prostitutes. As the "Tamiami Butcher" rampages through the city, he begins sending messages to Dexter, who finds the series of terrifying crimes engrossing and fascinating. Meanwhile, his sister, Deborah, sees the series of murders as her ticket out of the Vice unit and into Homicide, and has asked Dexter to help her in her ambitions. Dexter is torn between helping his sister to catch the killer and a desire to sit back and admire the artistry and skill of a fellow killer's work.

[edit] Narrative style

Darkly Dreaming Dexter provides a first-person story narrated by a serial killer.

Dexter claims to be devoid of human emotion, but he does harbor feelings of a sort for the people in his life, including his sister, Deborah, as well as his girlfriend, Rita, and her children, Astor and Cody. By the novel's climax, he admits to himself that he is "fond" of them, the closest he can get to feeling love.

As a narrator, Dexter tries to maintain a sense of black humor while telling the story, even when it turns grim. He also uses numerous alliterative phrases, typically featuring three prominent D sounds (e.g. Darkly Dreaming Dexter, The Dark DefenDer).

[edit] Television series

The novel was the basis for an original TV series on Showtime. Whereas the first season largely followed the plot lines of Darkly Dreaming Dexter, the second and third seasons contained original storylines not directly based on the novel. A fourth season is near production, and is expected to air in late 2009.

Darkly Dreaming Dexter was featured on an episode of Booked, a Canadian television series that investigates crime fiction novels through the eyes of real CSI experts.[1]

[edit] Awards and nominations

Darkly Dreaming Dexter won the 2005 Dilys Award presented by the Independent Mystery Booksellers Association.[2]

[edit] Notes

  1. ^ * Booked.TV
  2. ^ "The Dilys Award". Archived from the original on 2008-08-26. http://www.webcitation.org/5aMnQELWH. Retrieved on 2008-08-26. 

[edit] External links

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