Darkly Dreaming Dexter
|Darkly Dreaming Dexter|
Cover of the 2004 edition
|Publication date||July 2004|
|Media type||Print (Hardback & Paperback)|
|Followed by||Dearly Devoted Dexter|
Darkly Dreaming Dexter is a 2004 novel by Jeff Lindsay, the first in his series about serial killer Dexter Morgan. It formed the basis of the Showtime television series Dexter and won the 2005 Dilys Award and the 2007 'Book to TV' award.
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 who kills murderers, rapists, and other undesirables he believes have escaped, are escaping, or will ultimately escape justice.
Dexter's murders are directed by an inner voice he refers to as the "Dark Passenger" who keeps prodding Dexter to satisfy his homicidal urges on a regular basis. Once he has done so, the voice is placated for a while, but it always eventually comes back.
Flashbacks reveal that his foster father, a police detective named Harry Morgan, recognized early on that Dexter was a violent sociopath with an innate need to kill, and 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 also taught the boy to be a careful and 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 his idyll is disturbed when he becomes involved in the investigation of a series of killings of prostitutes. The "Tamiami Slasher" has committed at least 3 murders already as the novel opens. Dexter's sister, Deborah, wants out of Vice and into Homicide, and knowing that her brother has eerie "hunches" asks him for help in solving the case.
Although Dexter admires the killer's style, he eventually decides to help Deborah due to "the Code of Harry". As the case progresses he still feels a compelling pull to the killer due to similar wants - Dexter admits to himself readily that the bloodless and neat corpses appeal to him, as does the idea of cold and narrow spaces. After a lucid dream, Dexter drives around Miami late one night when he spots a refrigerated truck and begins to follow it intently. A severed head is thrown at his car, indicating the Killer knows Dexter was following him. The killer begins sending messages to Dexter, who finds the series of terrifying crimes engrossing and fascinating. Dexter is torn between helping Deborah catch the killer and a desire to sit back and admire the artistry and skill of a fellow monster's work, despite his earlier agreement to help his sister.
Darkly Dreaming Dexter features 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 foster sister Deborah, his girlfriend Rita (whom he supposedly dates solely to gain the appearance of a normal social life), and Rita's 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.
Dexter's narration is marked by black humor, even as the story turns grim. He also uses numerous alliterative phrases, typically featuring three prominent D sounds (e.g. Darkly Dreaming Dexter, The Dark DefenDer).
The novel was the basis for a TV series on the cable network Showtime. Whereas the first season largely followed the plot of the original book, subsequent seasons featured original storylines not directly based on subsequent "Dexter" novels.
Differences between the book and the television series
|The character of LaGuerta is named Migdia LaGuerta and is a detective. She is more forceful with her feelings for Dexter and after he spurns her advances, she catches him looking for Deborah at the ship yard.||She is named María LaGuerta and is a lieutenant. She has a slight crush on Doakes, who is the one who catches Dexter at the ship yard after having followed him. Later he catches Dexter in the midst of disposing of the man who killed his mother, by planting a GPS chip on his boat.|
|Deborah seems to suspect that there is something "wrong" about Dexter and eventually discovers his secret.||In the beginning, Deborah only knows that Dexter is hiding something.|
|Brian Moser kidnaps Deborah, coerces Dexter into LaGuerta and escapes.||Brian Moser dates Deborah (renamed Debra in this series), proposes to her and then kidnaps her so that he and Dexter can kill her together, which Dexter refuses to do. Dexter kills Brian.|
|The string of prostitute murders are committed by the Tamiami Butcher.||The killer is named the Ice Truck Killer.|
|In the book the kids have a dark past.||In the TV series the kids are normal as Rita had sheltered them from their father's abuse.|
Awards and nominations