Dexter by Design – Jeff Lindsay

Jan 18

When I read a Dexter book by Jeff Lindsay, I am fondly reminded of our introduction.  It was several years ago at the annual Times Festival of Reading in St. Petersburg, Florida.  I attend this event every year with my mother.  Some years we are over excited to see someone (Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, James Patterson) and some years we are not familiar with the authors, so we just wing it based on the author descriptions, book summaries, and what time I roll out of bed.  This magical year the stars must have aligned.  We stumbled upon a noon time reading and Q & A with Mr. Lindsay.  I vividly remember sitting down and one of the first questions was, “Where did you come up with the idea for the Dexter character?”  Jeff Lindsay’s response was something along the lines of…..”Well, I was in a room full of lawyers.  I thought to myself; some people DO need some killing.”  I am not sure of the exact quote as I immediately dissolved into the wrong kind of giggles.  I also remember being fascinated at his “process”; he claims to read a novel DAILY.  Oh, you wonderful man.  I also recall him talking about the ShowTime deal….this was all pre-Dexter mania; the room maybe held 75 captive souls.  Fast forward to #4 in the series.  This adventure takes us from Paris to Miami to Havana.  This is one of the few books I have read where I savor every single paragraph.  Dexter’s inner dialogue will always entertain me with his dry wit and his attempts at fitting in with the rest of the humans.  The storyline is decidedly art centered.  As this is a Dexter novel, the boundaries of art are pushed to the macabre limit.  The villain in this case creates art…..using dead bodies as a canvas. (When he is interviewing a very upset witness, ….”it is clear she is not filled with the thrill of discovery.”  I laughed so hard I am pretty sure my neighbors heard me. )  Dexter actually feels some twinges of emotion when his sister Deb falls victim to an attack.  (Upon dealing with the paper pushers at the hospital….”….to come in and teach a workshop on the correct linguistic approach to impending doom.”)  At a certain point in the story Dexter becomes the hunted; with full scale YouTube videos of him in action.  He is self admittedly not on his A-game; being exposed is not in Dexter’s plan.  He is thrown and is not “used to having all the cleverness on the other side of a conversation.”  If you are a fan of the show, know that the characters are the same….but not the same.  From the second season forth the two series are completely separate entities.  (In this book Doakes is still alive, Cody and Astor are cultivating mini dark passengers, and Rita is still annoying us.)    This type of book reminds me of why I love to read..a complete departure from my own life, told in a fantastically smart and fresh way.  I will cherish my signed copy of Darkly Dreaming Dexter, and always reflect fondly on the day when I stumbled into the path of a humorous serial killer.

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