Jeff Lindsay’s Dexter in the Dark

Jeff Lindsay stole my idea!  Well, he didn’t, really, but I’m amused that the central plot of his most recent book, Dexter in the Dark, is stunningly similar to a short story that’s been sitting on my computer half finished for years.  I’ve really got to start finishing my stories, though I’m not sure I could do it with quite the charm that Lindsay does.  Okay, enough personal musing:

Dexter in the Dark is the latest book in the highly successful series chronicling the exploits of Dexter Morgan, Miami crime scene investigator and serial killer.  The book series has inspired the Showtime television series Dexter, which has drawn rave reviews.  I first started reading the series the same way many people did: by picking up the book at the airport.  After that, I was hooked.  I gobbled up Darkly Dreaming Dexter and Dearly Devoted Dexter and eagerly awaited more.

Curiously, though, Dexter in the Dark takes a bit of a departure from the previous books: it introduces what can only be called a supernatural element to the storyline, as is clear from the very first chapter.

Dexter himself is a fascinating character.  He is a ‘heroic’ serial killer of the sort that people wanted to see in Hannibal Lecter: Dexter only hunts down and kills other serial killers.  This virtue was inspired in him by his adoptive father Harry, who recognized his killing streak at an early age and focused it towards the most positive ends possible.  Dexter himself doesn’t see things in terms of right or wrong, as he has little emotion of his own to speak of.  In fact, much of what makes Dexter compelling is his efforts to project as much an appearance of normalcy as possible, not to mention his wry sense of humor.  Ironically, he works as a blood spatter expert for the Miami police department, where he helps his sister Deborah, a police sergeant, solve cases using the insight gained by his ‘dark passenger’.

At the beginning of Dexter in the Dark, Dexter’s hobby draws the attention of a sinister, ancient power.  This power sends him a message, in the form of a pair of horribly burned bodies, their heads replaced with ceramic heads of bulls.  This message sends Dexter’s ‘dark passenger’ into hiding, which is surprising for both Dexter and the reader, as both have implicitly assumed that the passenger is only a metaphorical creation.  What follows is a curious game of cat and mouse, as Dexter attempts to understand the nature of his former ‘passenger’ and solve the murders, all while being stalked himself by a different sort of hunter.  On top of this, he’s got to plan for his wedding.

Lindsay was taking a big risk by introducing a supernatural element into his Dexter series.  The series has been highly successful as ‘straight’ crime/thrillers: changing the tone risked losing a lot of the fan base.  In fact, when I first bought the book months ago, I put it down after reading the first chapter.  Looking back, I was subconsciously concerned that Lindsay had ‘jumped the shark’ with Dexter.

I’m happy to say that this is not the case.  The supernatural aspects of the story are subtle and passive (no girls floating above their beds with their heads spinning around), and one can ignore those aspects entirely and treat the story as a straight crime tale, if desired.  The most important joys of the Dexter stories remain unchanged: his struggles to present a false front of humanity to his fiancée and his coworkers.  Furthermore, the book leaves open the possibility of continuing the Dexter saga.

I’m happy to say that Dexter in the Dark is a fun, fascinating continuation of the Dexter series by Lindsay, and I’m looking forward to seeing more by the author!

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1 Response to Jeff Lindsay’s Dexter in the Dark

  1. inachu says:

    My birth

    I was a military brat who father left the infantry after 9 years.
    My father was for those many years a Drill Sgt. and after he left the service he started to work at Nabisco in New York.
    Even when I was still a baby in my diapers my father was a real hothead.
    As I was learning to speak I would parrot any word I heard happy that I could speak.
    As it turned out that those words I spoke were not very nice words at all and father would
    be running after me to beat me for saying those words. I would crawl under my crib as mother cries to keep him away
    telling him that I do not know what I said which at the time is true.
    Maybe I was a tortured soul. After all he was born in the same building where the Nuremburg trials were held.
    Years later finally after being potty trained my mom would then teach me how to fold clothes military basic training style. After I did my entire clothes then just like a Drill Sgt. My mom would dump all the clothes onto the floor and mess them up and make me fold them all over again. I was not even 6 years old and I sat there among my clean messy clothes sobbing in tears.
    One night after father comes home late from work mom woke me up to greet daddy from a hard days work. He comes home and opens the door. DADDY!!!! I jump to him and he picks me up. I hug him and he hugs me back. As I hugged daddy with my face at his neck I noticed lipstick. Daddy! you got lipstick on the collar! As I said that I did not know the implications of what it truly meant. At that moment mom put hands to her face and ran into the bedroom and started crying. Dad put me down and told me to get my belt. It was right there the downward spiral of my family into the darkness that I lived in.
    My father did not really know how to talk with people. He, Like I could only really talk about stuff we liked.
    In his life the only thing he liked to talk about was cars, engines, beer and sex.
    When alone with father in the car most of the time he would talk about sex with women to me as I laid my head against the window closing my eyes creating my own world shutting him out. So if it was not about the above subjects then my father was always in Drill Sgt. mode even towards my mother.
    As a family we tried to emulate a normal family.
    Back in the 70’s people still went on drives for fun to see the country side of upstate NY.
    We would go to the apple farm that let customers pick their own apples right off the tree.
    Mom and dad would pick us up and put us in the tree to find the best red apples.
    When it came to fighting Dad would never stop it and he would let the kid beat me up so that I learn how to fight.
    Once in a while he would come home and see holes in the front door.
    He would beat me up for letting the local town bully put holes in the door.
    That particular bully was 2 times bigger than me thus the reason I ran.
    At 14 I was already cold inside towards my dad. Sometimes I thought time could heal things but if anything time has made things worse.
    Then in 1984 my parents decide to divorce. One night father threw every food item from the fridge onto the walls in the living room. That was that and my mother moved out. Through the court system then my father left and mom got the house.
    Father moved to Arkansas and went from being a city guy into being a redneck.
    Now as an adult I cannot stop remembering way back when I was not even 6 years old and father putting me down telling me to go get my belt. After using the belt he would take me by my ankles and swing me around like a baseball bat and slam my body and head against the lamp and different walls in my bedroom. It was there while screaming in the air as I hit the wall I dreamt of a super hero to protect me. As I got older I knew the super hero I imagined was too fake and not real enough. I thought of real life hero’s how they would either kill my dad or somehow to verbally reason with him that this was the wrong path for him to take.
    But with the memory of me frozen in time as I remain in the air with my head about to smash the wall creating that large lump on my head that is still with me today I knew no hero would save me.
    I needed a killer who would kill with the same anger and rage or more that was directed at me.
    Creating the killer was a way for me to seek some inner justice against my father.
    To seek morally correct action against odds that were stacked against me.
    From all that cold harsh abuse It took me over 25 years to hone through pain and misery I present to you
    People who are reading this message of mine that I wanted to let people know of my pain and suffering.
    I decided to visit a website dedicated to new TV show ideas. I posted my idea of a serial killer who only kills other serial killers. Over 20 people shot down my idea how stupid it was that it would never work.
    But 3 to 5 other people asked that I give more detail in a new thread.
    I did so and one person (Jeff Lindsay)
    Was a pompous asshole and said he would change names and ideas and claim it as his own and that there was nothing I could do about it. In the web forum he even in a blink of an eye said he would claim to be inspired by being in meeting full of people with fake smiles as they exchange business cards. Where he gets the idea of Dexter. But as I type this I tell you people now that this is a total fabrication on his part.
    He stole my character away from me. Stealing the pain of my life that made me. Made Dexter who he truly was into an absurd lie.

    So there you have it. The truth as it really is. Dexter was born out of child abuse. My creation.
    My pain that still haunts me to this day. And now I hope and pray a real Dexter visits Jeff Lindsay.

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