Presumably everyone here already knows what this one is about, consider how big the TV show is. Dexter is one of my absolute favourite TV shows. But I didn't decide to pick up the book 'til recently (after already having watched 6 seasons of the show). I wasn't in a hurry to read it, as most of the revewiers seem to be of the opinion that the books just aren't as good as the series. But I thought I'd fancy making my own opinion on it.
Spoiler note: my spoilers only apply if you HAVENT seen the tv series (season 1), if you HAVe seen it, feel free to read all...
Dexter works as a blood splatter analyst for the Miami Police department. He also happens to be a serial killer. But he follows a code given to him by his late father Harry (who was the only person ever to know Dexter's secret), which allows him to continue his secret life without getting caught, and the code also states that he only kills 'bad guys'. Basically he cleans up anyone that slips through the net of the judicial system.
In Darkly Dreaming Dexter
the Miami police are investigating a series of particularly creepy murders. Dexter's sister Deborah really wants to be on the case, but is stuck on duty posing as a hooker. Deborah knows Dexter has a particularly good knack for figuring out homicide cases (but she never guesses why), So she gets Dexter to let her in on any of his 'hunches' so she can use the information to help her police career. Meanwhile Dexter gets the distinct impression that this particular killer is directing his crime scenes AT Dexter. It's a like a kind of creepy serial-killer love-notes that only Dexter can read. And he's not sure if he actually wants these cases solved.
If you've seen the tv show, it's basically the condensed plot of the first season. But there are notable differences. Dexter is a notably odd character, not that he isn't in the show, thats pretty much the appeal of him. And yet here, he's actually a little harder to relate to. He waxes poetic a lot, particularly about the moon, but only to himself. His outward character, whatever everyone else sees of him, is very easy-going and jovial, in fact he's always cracking jokes. But much too many smart-ass jokes. I mean really, maybe he'd do better fitting in if he just kept a bit quiet sometimes? But then I suppose its ridiculous of me to expect such a short novel to show many insights into a character that's I've seen be developed through 6 series of a television show. And of course Michael C Hall is such a phenomenal actor on the show, not suprising the original written character can't compete with him.
As I say, the book is fairly short compared to the series, there isn't much side plot to speak of. Dexter's relationship with his girlfriend Rita is included, and provides some interesting moments highlighting Dexter's strangeness of character. But it's only a brief part of a short novel. There is absolutely no side plot with Deborah and Rudy. In fact there is no Rudy. The killer is aways a mysterious character until Dexter discovers his identity. Which kind of lessened the tension slightly. But presumably thats also to do with the fact I already knew that Rudy/Brian is Dexter's brother. Although an interesting point that cropped up is that in the novel Brian looks remarkably similar to Dexter (which causes complications the one time Brian is caught on security cameras), which is something they obviously didn't pull off in the series.
I guess the main reason why I didn't really enjoy this novel is probably because I've seen the tv series, which kind of spoils the mystery. But now I'm pretty damn impressed with the production of the show, because they really have improved upon the novel so much. The show really is better than the book! But much kudos to Jeff Lindsay for the original concept, I'm sure it would have recieved 3 or 4 stars if I'd have read it first.
Don't think I'm going to bother reading the other novels. I don't have to, theres 2 more series of Dexter already in the contract! I can't wait.