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on 5 March 2015
This book, the first in a series, was adapted reasonably faithfully as these things go, into the first season of the television programme `Dexter'. Later Seasons of the TV programme took a different direction from the books (the second book in the series is probably too 'strong' for television) but at this stage they are sufficiently similar that some of what I say here also appears in my review of Dexter Season 1 in DVD/Blu Ray.

Both book and television programme are good. If you experience both it probably works better to see the programme first and then read the book, but on balance I think the book is better. In the book the author's often clever and witty turn of phrase adds something to the experience that is different from watching the programme. However, I shall not quote from it here as Dexter's asides in the book work less well taken out of context.

If I describe this excellent book it will sound worse than it is so please do not be put off from trying it.

Dexter, a forensic `blood splatter analyst' for the Miami Police, is a secret `controlled sociopath'.

A sociopath is a person with a currently untreatable mental condition whereby they have no conscience, remorse or sympathy to restrain selfish, destructive or violent impulses. It is of course easy for someone like that to become a criminal and many do. However, many others, the controlled sociopaths like Dexter, while realising they are different, learn to live mostly unnoticed among us, mimicking our behaviour so as not to stand out. Such people are restrained in their conduct not by any solid sense of morality or sympathy for others, but by learning that life is easier if they work within society's laws and morality; or at least, to seem to do so enough not to be caught.

In Dexter's case his adoptive father, a policeman, recognised early on that Dexter was a sociopath, but instead of disowning him taught him to direct his more violent and destructive impulses in a way that is, arguably, better both for Dexter and for society than if he had become a straight criminal. By night he secretly tracks down and eliminates murderers, rapists and such like he encounters in his day job as a scientist with the Miami Police Department, choosing those who are clearly guilty but who cannot be convicted under the law with all its procedural safeguards.

I know that probably sounds terrible, but, as I have said, it will sound worse than it is so please do not be put off from trying Dexter. Indeed while you might not expect to like a serial killer, you may well find you like Dexter.

There are two main women in Dexter's life: his shy, somewhat naïve girlfriend Rita and his policewoman sister Deborah (proper Biblical spelling of her name in the book, for some reason wrongly spelled Debra in the TV Series. She also has bigger breasts in the book!) Both of them care about Dexter but neither of them knows about his darker, secret life. Like many sociopaths, knowing most people could not take the truth about him, hiding in plain sight has become second nature to Dexter.

Anyone who becomes interested in the subject of controlled sociopaths may want to read.Confessions of a Sociopath: A Life Spent Hiding In Plain Sight by Thomas. M. E. ( 2013 ) Paperback and her blog sociopathworld.com. She is a former assistant professor of law who is a diagnosed controlled sociopath herself. She found Dexter, while not 100% accurate, was pretty close.
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on 11 November 2013
I watched the first season of Dexter recently and fell in love with it (as well as falling in love with Dexter or maybe just Michael C. Hall?) so when I found they were originally books I thought I'd give it a go...

From the second I began reading I was amazed at how perfectly they'd created the show from the book... It was practically word for word or at least scene for scene and it pleased me to know they had taken something so beautiful and kept it how it was intended unlike so many TV/Movie adaptations these days...

After a while I began to wonder whether I'd actually enjoy the book after already seeing the show and knowing what was coming, but something about Dexter's charm and wit kept me reading and soon enough I discovered that that show actually did take a slight detour from the book and so there were plenty of little surprises to get me excited for the grand finale!

Overall, I think this is a book to read for both fans of the show and just general fans of this genre.

The others in the series have definitely been added to my "to-read" list.
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on 13 November 2012
Darkly Dreaming Dexter is the first of a sequence of books about Miami serial killer Dexter Morgan, upon which the US series "Dexter" is based. I have seen the first season of Dexter and read the book on that basis. This isn't something I generally like doing (in this order) because if you see someone else's interpretation of a novel before you read it, it is liable to stick with you and effect your feelings about the book during the reading. This happened with Darkly Dreaming Dexter which is why I always try to read the book first.

I really enjoyed the first season of Dexter and so I thought I'd enjoy it equally in written form, I've often wished that The Wire or Breaking Bad textually rich series original to the small screen had novelisations so suited are they to a literary form that they are visual novels.

Dexter Morgan isn't any old serial killer hiding in the shadows, Dexter is the adopted son of a cop, who works in the forensic department of the local police, he has a girlfriend, named Rita, a sister named Debra, also a cop in the same force, and a Code, the Code given to him by his father Harry, who recognised that Dexter had a dark desire in him, a Dark Passenger, which couldn't be tamed, but might be controlled.

Harry, a jaded cop who has seen too many people get away with murder, or be too lightly sentenced, instills in Dexter that he can kill, but he must only ever kill bad people.
So that's the premise, and it's a good, original, one. The writing quality is solidly good, I particularly liked the opening paragraphs beginning with :

Moon. Glorious Moon. Full fat, reddish, moon, the night as light as day, the moonlight flooding down across the land, and bringing joy, joy, joy. Bringing too the full throated call of the tropical night, the soft and wild voice of the wind roaring through the hairs on your arm, the hollow wail of starlight, the teeth grinding bellow of the moonlight off the water.

Dexter may be a killer, but his voice is often a poetic one. What is amusing and perhaps disturbing is that there is a feature on the Kindle which shows which sections of the novel have been most highlighted. All Darkly, Dreaming Dexter's most highlighted are insights into the disconnect from normality experienced by the sociopath, so clearly there is a readership out there identifying with the character! I liked some of these asides, also used as voice over "If I had feelings I'd have them for Deb". Somehow Dexter does have feelings, he just doesn't realise it himself

To begin with the novel more or less follows the series, but a huge deviation occurs at the midway point when, though the outcome is roughly the same, the road it takes to that outcome massively differs from on screen. Having had both versions, dare I say it that the series brought us to the conclusion in a much more believable way.

I dare say I will read the rest of the Dexter novels in time as I did enjoy it and it was well written 8/10
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on 25 March 2014
Fast paced and kept me wanting more. I understand after watching the first series of the TV show that the book is pretty different to it. Some people don't like this and actually berate the book for it. I actually found that I like both for totally different reasons.

Darkly Dreaming Dexter, was written well, I thought it was going to be harder to read than it was. The fact that it is all from Dexter's pov means that you get more of his humor and a bit more knowledge behind what he does and why.

If you want something humorous but with dark sides, I highly recommend this book, but please do not expect it to be word for word like the TV series, you will be highly disappointed otherwise.
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VINE VOICEon 23 November 2009
Dexter Morgan will be familiar to anyone who has seen the TV series, DEXTER (which is adapted from this series). For newcomers, he's a blood-splatter analyst for the Miami Police who applies Harry's Code (a moral code developed by his foster father) rein in the instincts of his Dark Passenger so that he only kills murderers who have escaped justice. To disguise his true nature, he's cultivated an aura of normalcy - his girlfriend is a woman with two children but doesn't want sex due to the brutality she suffered from her ex boyfriend and to his colleagues he's a friendly soul who brings in pastries. Life is going well until a new serial killer hits town - one who dismembers his victims and leaves them wrapped in small parcels, but who never leaves a trace of blood. Dexter's fascination with the case grows when the killer begins to leave messages for him, messages that suggest he knows what Dexter really is. Soon he finds himself caught between helping his sister, Debs, and her police colleagues catch the killer and wanting to help his achieve his vision and soon he's faced with a deadly choice that could change his life forever.

The pacing is tight, with Lindsay keeping the events rocketing alone. More to the point, it's darkly entertaining with Dexter's narration laced with self-mocking irony and twisted observations on the mystery and the people around him. Some of the humour is spectacularly dark, which may well put some readers off. It's because Dexter's voice is so vivid that the supporting cast pale in comparison. Of those worth noting, the most striking are LaGuerta, an untalented detective who's risen through the ranks through her political instincts; Debs, Dexter's foul-mouthed foster-sister who is determined to be a detective but who lacks the political skills to work the system to her advantage and Masouka, Dexter's fellow lab rat who doesn't quite fit in.

Fans of the tv show will be disappointed that Doakes, Angel and Rita don't feature more but there are some crucial differences in the plot that should hold their interest. I'm looking forward to reading more in the series.
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on 24 August 2009
Dexter is a blood spatter analyst with Miami Police Department, so his services are not required at the scene of a murder where, despite the body being dismembered, there is no blood spatter - in fact, there is no blood at all. Dexter is fascinated, he finds a certain beauty in the cleanliness of the act, and his own dark demon is more than fascinated. Because Dexter is not quite what he seems - a fact realised by Harry, his late foster father and a Miami cop himself, but instead of turning him in, Harry had trained him up and set him free on the nightcrawlers who feed on the weak and vulnerable.

Always careful, the continuing murders or prostitutes, and the unnerving feeling that he knows more than he realises, make Dexter start to take risks, and in his position, surrounded by cops on a daily basis, including his sister Deborah, that isn't something he can afford to do. Drawn into the murderer's finely crafted web, Dexter isn't certain if he is the spider or the fly, and when Debs disappears on her way to (possibly) arrest him, he isn't sure if he isn't actually the one responsible after all.

A well written book, probably best read if you haven't actually watched the TV series as Dexter's own contributions to the body toll don't match those in the TV show.

As a mass murderer Dexter is strangely likeable.
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on 24 September 2016
Whilst watching Dexter the series I decided to buy the books and see how Jeff Lindsay visualised him. Turns out it was slightly different to how we see him in the series, and it's refreshing. Arrived promptly and in excellent condition.
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on 16 September 2013
I loved Dexter the series, but having watched it the book is a complete let down. All credit to the people who made a fairly clunky and disjointed book, on a weird subject, into such a compelling TV series!

The characters are different, so it doesn't really work reading the book afterwards. Also, I suspect it was a shock to see the series having read the book. So I'd suggest indulging in one or the other and, very unusually for me, my preference is the TV version. And if you've watched that already, the books is one to avoid.
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on 9 November 2011
I loved this book. Watching popular TV series (and enjoying it) is what made me want to pick up and read this. Darkly Dreaming Dexter was gripping and I found that I wanted to keep reading and reading to find out what happened next. The storey line was loosely the same as the TV show BUT this did not take away anything from the book.

The only disappointment for me was the ending. I felt the ending was a little bit messy, there were a few loose ends that you couldn't even call cliff hangers. I have started reading the next book and its not fixing the lose ends, however it would not put me off recommending that you read this book. The next book in the series is good too.
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on 18 February 2011
I, like many others, have watched the Series before reading the book and became a huge Dexter Fan! Honestly, I wish I hadn't, as I feel like this Book has something missing from it. It's good, and it's pretty much exactly the same as the 1st Series, but for some reason I didn't enjoy this Book as much as I'd hoped I would. It really feels that it's missing a certain something to make it super-awesome! It's a fairly big read which is great, and the writing style is very easy and funny and keeps your concentration but... there is something missing in the Story! I hope the next Book is better, as so far I'm not as impressed as I am with the Series!
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