The Rambling Mann

Book reviews and occasional other thoughts from writer Richard Mann.

Friday, March 09, 2007

Darkly Dreaming Dexter
by Jeff Lindsay

Mass market paperback
Vintage; Reprint edition (June 28, 2005)
ISBN-10: 1400095913

Oh my goodness! For the last few months, I have been just marginally aware of a phenomenon called "Dexter." It was just a whisper in the back of my consciousness, a hint of something that I ought to know but don't know. I'd see references to it here and there as I read about mystery novels on the Web. So, I set out to find the book.

I put it on my wish list at (more about PBS in another post, eventually...). A month or two later, the book arrived in my mailbox. Wow.

I read the covers and thought, "Why would I want to read something about a guy who enjoys carving up serial killers?" Why indeed.

So I picked it up and began to read, just to satisfy myself that I wasn't going to like this so I could put it down and move on to something more appropriate. Ah, the best-laid plans....

I found myself in the mind of a handsome young creature who looks like a man, but isn't quite as human as he ought to be. He's quite charming, for a police-employed serial killer. How could I be comfortable in such an environment? Well, I couldn't be comfortable, but I could be interested, even fascinated.

I won't describe the story, but I have to tell you that even with my naturally sharp dislike for that which is immoral, evil, ...whatever... I was quite taken with Dexter. He's compelling, interesting, disturbing, logical, funny, and, well, scary.

I decided today, after finishing the book, to check and see what the phenomenon is. I found that there's a Showtime TV series about Dark Dexter, and I watched a couple of brief clips online. It looks interesting, but as a poor underpaid school teacher, I can't afford cable TV, so I won't get to watch it. (I just learned about Monk this year--he's only on cable, too--and I have to watch him on full-season DVDs we buy.) [Note, added months after the above was written: The series was so successful that it has come to network TV now. I have actually watched it. I can't say that I really enjoy it, unfortunately. The books--to me--are much better. That's no surprise, of course; books are almost always better than their movie or TV incarnations.]

So, my advice to you is to either get this book and read it and be discomfited in a fun way or run screaming away as fast as you can. Both are good plans.



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