Review originally posted [here].
**This review contains spoilers**
Darkly Dreaming Dexter is one of the rare occasions where the television show (or movie) is better than the book. DDD falls extremely flat when compared to its television counterpart. Jeff Lindsay is not an expertise writer, he fails to build suspense during some of the most dramatic story plots (for example, Deb’s disappearance!!) and gives little character development or page time to any character that isn’t Dexter. This wouldn’t be a problem if Book Dexter wasn’t so...so...boring really. Book Dexter is boring and quite conceded when talking about his peers. Lindsay leaves half contemplated ideas on the page that causes Book Dexter to fall flat. The writing is very easy to read and comes off a bit elementary (the style, not the violent material or some of the vocabulary). Also, the plot is a bit boring, especially compared to the show which has twists and turns, romance, character interaction, and much more. The show builds a kind of family out of the Metro Dade Homicide Department - one that is filled with banter, fighting, love. laughter - everything that makes a family, a family. The book fails to do that completely. The show builds up to LaGuerta being a power hungry political animal rather than the book, where it is just pointed out and where she proceeds to come off as a manipulative, unintelligent woman who uses her body for power. This is not the strong female constantly having to prove herself to her male superiors in a male dominated work place that the show provides us with. In the book, Deb is weak and relies on Dexter to do all the heaving lifting detective work for her, while in the show Debra earns her badge due to her own hard work and dedication. Also, Lindsay’s use of Dexter’s dreams, “lizard brain”, and voice in hid mind just seemed like an easy way to get out of creating a plot with connections that actually made sense (the show succeeded brilliantly at doing this). Dexter appears to just miraculously come to the realization that “something nameless was born born in this place, something that lived in the darkest hidey-hole of the thing that was Dexter” (p. 265) with absolutely no logical thought process or clues or anything that would realistically lead him to this conclusion.
Over all, I’d give this book a 3 out of 5 rating. Dexter is definitely a unique character and one to remember. Lindsay had a good idea. However, the show does a much better job of captivating it’s audience and telling the story well. Lindsay is not much of a writer, but rather a guy with a creative imagination who fails to put it all down on paper effectively. He fails to develop his idea. I’m not sure if I’ll read the second book - it goes in a different direction than the show and that, along with the book being a fast read, really would be my only reasons for the series to still hold my interest.
(Also, the use of the word faggot and a gay rape joke by LaGuerta (p. 261) was definitely unnecessary.)