Darkly, Dreaming Dexter by Jeff Lindsay is aptly titled. The protagonist of the story, Dexter Morgan is a blood splatter expert who is also a monster. A man with no humanity. No soul. A monster who kills only the bad people. The author wants us to believe that Dexter is a polite monster who lacks human emotion. Dexter’s childhood has scarred and destroyed his humanity. His adopted father, Harry Morgan raises him and sees the darkness inside of him. Eventually, Harry teaches Dexter how to control it. Dexter lives by the Harry code and tries to stick by that code: to ensure guilt before he kills those who deserve killing. Keep it neat, no fuss, no risk, no mess.
As a reader I was initially fascinated with what Dexter was: a self-professed monster. He is the narrator of the story which is set in Miami Dade, Florida. I was completely enthralled and inhaled the first seven chapters of this book. Dexter is a monster. A killer who only kills those who deserve it. The victims tend to be the scum of the earth and in the opening of the story, we see Dexter return justice to one of the worst. As the story progresses, we get to meet Dexter’s only family, his foster sister, Deborah Morgan. Deb seems to represent the human side of Dexter. After Harry’s death, the two have remained close. Like her father, Deb’s a cop who is itching to get out of vice and into homicide. Only she doesn’t know how to climb the political ladder to do so. Soon, a grisly murder presents Deb with opportunity and Dexter agrees to help her since he seems to have an intuitiveness for serial killers and their motive.
As entertaining as this story was, I thought the author missed the mark on Dexter’s character. Dexter comes off as being too sarcastic and charming. It just didn’t work for me for someone who was as dark as he was described to be. I felt he should have been much more sinister, which in the beginning of the story he was. Dexter also lacked depth to me. All you knew about Dexter was that he was a monster born from a traumatic childhood and that when all is explained, didn’t make much sense to me.
The author goes on and on, beating the reader over the head about Dexter’s lack of humanity: he has no soul, no emotion. Blah, blah, blah – enough already. The dream sequences were boring and I skipped them. A lot of the internal dialogue of darkly, dreaming Dex was boring and repetitive. The only highlights for me in the story was the police politics, making fun of Floridian culture and the barbs at the ineptitude of Detective LaGeurta. I enjoyed her character very much and the put downs she always had for Deb whenever Deb showed any sign of actually trying to solve the case. Now, those scenes were very funny.
I also enjoyed the cultural satire. Do Floridians really drive that bad? Unlike Bam, I did not find Dexter a hottie. I would have preferred him a bit more serious and sinister. Honestly, I didn’t really like Dexter all that much. He seemed too self-absorbed. As readers, we know Dexter’s thoughts, his motivations. Often, I was quite annoyed and amused with his thoughts about humanity, about people in general. I could have did without the dream sequences. Often, Dexter refers to himself in third person and I remember the first time that happened, it was distracting and…weird. In the end, I would like to think that Dexter gained just a little bit of his humanity back. The ending was a revelation of sorts that wasn’t all that original. Darkly, Dreaming Dexter was not a bad book. I enjoyed it for the most part but ultimately, it’s not a book I see myself re-reading again. My grade, B-.