So, while television may in fact take up a lot of my time, I do occasionally get a chance to get in some light reading. And so, in the same vein as Calum over at Small Victories, I want to take a moment to ponder what I am reading at the moment. You’ll be perhaps unsurprised to learn that it is actually a book upon which a television series is based.

Jeff Lindsay’s Darkly Dreaming Dexter, thus far, is impossible to separate from Showtime’s series of a similar but shortened name (“Dexter”, which is in Emmy Contention). The book delves into the mind of Dexter Morgan, a vigilante serial killer who takes out his murderous urges on criminals who have fallen through the cracks in the justice system. Incapable of the most basic of emotions, Dexter learned at a young age how to fake interest, love, empathy, and even to an extent sexual attraction. He is a walking lie, a dark soul masquerading as just another forensic analyst in sunny Miami, Florida.

But what the novel does is throw everything he knows into a state of confusion, as Dexter begins to find himself fascinated by another serial killer who is killing prostitutes and doing amazing things in disposing of the bodies. Dexter has to keep that fascination and his connection with the killer hidden while his sister and his boss are on the case. Not only that, but his girlfriend Rita (A beard, he admits so himself) begins to actually develop feelings for him.

What I find interesting in reading this novel is how much it differs from the series despite not differing at all. Thus far, it has followed the series’ narrative note for note, barely missing a beat. However, there are no sideplots, and no need to develop the supporting characters too far. The novel is Dexter’s story, and we are inside his mind as he manipulates his way through various scenarios.

What I love about Lindsay’s writing is that Dexter is a rather wry and sarcastic serial killer, and it makes the novel worth reading. Even though I know the plot, I felt like the series often turned away from Dexter to try to stretch the story into twelve episodes. Here, we’re allowed to move at a fast pace, and Dexter’s own feelings and emotions drive each point home in effective and powerful ways. For anyone looking for something a bit dark and yet not dark at all, I’d say Darkly Dreaming Dexter is worth a read. Or, just watch the series, which is also just as good.

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