I, like many others reviewing this book, have watched the show first and then was so impressed with it, felt compelled to read the book. I haven't felt this eager to read a book in a long time and I wasn't disappointed. What I am disappointed with is the largely negative reviews here.
Everyone's entitled to their opinions but I felt some of them must have been reading a different book to myself. Ok, I will admit that the book is not as big as I was expecting but then I don't feel it needed to be. The book is full of humour and the characters are interesting.
Some characters, such as Angel Batista, are not seen as much in the book as they are in tv show, but other characters such as Vince Masuoka are seen more. The producers of the show decided to show more of Batista than Masuoka and that is their perogative. I thought the characterisation of Masouka was good and showed that perhaps Dexter could have a friend, or at least someone to connect with.
Perhaps the criticism that has puzzled me the most is the theory that the character of Dexter is not likeable enough in the book. Correct me if I'm wrong, but considering the self-mocking tone displayed in the book as written from Dexter's perspective, it left me feeling like that was the point: Dexter knows what he is, and what he is isn't suppoosed to be likeable.
His constant references to not being human make him an anti-hero, not someone to be admired and revered for being righteous. If people choose to like Dexter (which they admittedly do and I am one of them), it's because we choose to, not because we're supposed to.
True, as it is written from Dexter's point of view, there is the sense that we are supposed to sympathise with Dexter but, after all, he is still a serial killer, and is in his own admission, a man with no guilt response.
The story is a lot shorter than the tv show but then a tv show's job is take something like Dexter and add their own spin on it: it's the same with Hollywood movies; I urge anyone to read Stephen King's The Shining and then see Stanley Kubrick's version and tell me just how different it is.
The obvious difference is the character of LaGuerta. In the show, she is a stronger, more competent character, however in the book she is shown as someone not particularly intelligent but displaying a hard edge at points. The main difference regarding LaGuerta is something I won't go into for fear of ruining the book for those who haven't read it.
The book has a lot of quirky humour and the story, although short, is still very interesting and inventive. Some characters have more depth than others and some are very different from the tv show. What I will say, to finish, is this: if you've seen the tv show first, please be aware it is quite different to the tv show but that shouldn't become a criticism of the book.
Television producers jobs are to take a book or script and tailor it to their own needs: they are two completely different mediums and one shouldn't be criticised because of the other.