Written by Jeff Lindsay, DDD has spawned the wildly successful Dexter Showtime drama. It is about a sociopathic/psychopathic serial murderer with a sense of justice.
WHY I PICKED IT UP:
I mentioned in a blog post last week I had been enjoying the TV show, and naturally I’m going to pick up the book upon which it was based shortly after.
WHAT I LIKED ABOUT IT:
The author clearly has a unique voice. I also applaud his knack for generating tension—I ended up finishing it in about two days or so.
WHAT COULD BE BETTER, IF ANYTHING:
I found the whole thing to be a little trite—despite the novelty of a serial killer main character. It follows a few too many clichés for my taste, right down to the spoiler identity of the main antagonist at the end. And it has always irked me in these types of books how they only focus on ONE killer until they catch him. It’s like every other criminal in the area goes on hiatus until the plot’s wrapped up.
Another of my major criticisms is many of the supporting characters are a little flat.
There was ALSO a big, hokey, prophetic dream plot device which is never adequately explained.
I actually found the TV show did a better job of telling the story in most respects, even though it didn’t follow the novel’s plot exactly. Also, the tension is nice, but I found the TV show actually does this better as well–utilizing more types of tension and from different sources to keep the audience hooked in layered subplots.
And after all of this, I have to wonder whether the author understands sociopathy OR psychopathy very well. One of the major themes herein is “The Dark Passenger,” a kind of alternate personality/command hallucination that guides Dexter’s actions when he gets homicidal. It’s a bit of a cop out though to say actions are out of a character’s control because of a mental health issue–although it’s okay to let your characters believe this, letting the audience beleive it falls somewhere between lazy and ignorant–I think this theme wasn’t adressed adquately.
I ALSO found the ending to be quite unsatisfying and a little gimmicky.
I read it. But I’m not planning to read the other ones. It’s very rare that I think a motion picture adaptation actually comes out better than the book, but this is one of those cases. Dexter the show tackles almost all of my issues with the book in a better way. I have OTHER issues with the show, but I won’t go into those here, because I’m not a TV critic.
So check them both out for yourself and tell me what you think in a comment!