Darkly Dreaming Dexter, by Jeff Lindsay
This book (and its sequels) inspired the Showtime TV series “Dexter,” which Econo Man and I have watched and enjoyed via Netflix. I’d heard good things about the first Dexter book in particular, so when I saw it at the Harvard Co-Op on the 3-for-2 table, I decided to pick it up for honeymoon reading.
I’ll be the first to admit that this is an odd choice for beach reading. Normal people pick up Confessions of a Shopaholic or Bridget Jones’s Diary.* Not me. I grab the book written from the point of view of a serial killer.
Wait! It’s not as bad as you think. Dexter is a serial killer, but he only kills bad guys. By day, he works as a forensic expert for the Miami-Dade police department. By night, he satisfies his drive to kill by hunting down other murderers who have, for one reason or another, escaped the law. But when the book begins, Dexter is facing a challenge unlike anything he’s ever seen: another serial killer is at large in Miami, with methods and fixations disturbingly similar to Dexter’s own.
The book is absolutely worth a read even if you’ve watched the first season of “Dexter” — the prose is macabre, witty, and eminently readable, and there are interesting differences between the show and the book. However, the identity of the second killer remains the same, and I think knowing the mystery’s solution robbed the book of some of its tension for me.
I would recommend this book to anyone who likes clever, slightly twisted mysteries, and that recommendation goes double for those who haven’t yet seen “Dexter” the TV show. As a bonus, if you find yourself surrounded by overly talkative fellow tourists/cruise ship passengers, nothing deters them from striking up a conversation quite like a book whose cover shows a man thoughtfully resting his chin on a corpse hand.
* By way of starting discussion, I loved Bridget Jones, but hated Shopaholic.