I joined the Dexter bandwagon a little late in the game. I managed to watch the first four seasons during winter break in 2009. I dragged my mother along for the ride, as well. Isn't that what Dexter is about? Family values?
And while I knew that the show was based off characters created by Jeff Lindsay, I strayed from reading the novels due to bad reviews I read on Amazon. Of course, reviews are always misleading - especially those on Amazon where several people base their reviews on the covers, titles and miscellaneous details without actually opening the novel. Still, I managed to bide my time just knowing that the first novel alone was adapted into a season, while the following seasons were independent from Lindsay's prose.
While I'm still technically reading God Is Not One, I decided to hold off on the nonfiction piece by Stephen Prothero for a bit and read the first novel, which introduced America's favorite serial killer to the world. And while I'm quite sure I liked the first season - which is based off the first novel, Darkly Dreaming Dexter - much more than the book, I do have an appreciation for it.
Much like the series, the novel opens up as Dexter hunts for a kill - in this case, Father Donovan. (I remember the series starting similarly, but I cannot remember the priest/child murder's name. The dialogue, which was the source of the bad reviews, seemed a little pointless - "'No,' he said. 'Yes,' I said. 'Oh, no,' he said. 'Oh, yes,' I said. He screamed, NOOOO!'" It felt like something one would find in a first year Creative Writing course. Something a professor might have pointed out to the class in a heartbeat.
And while our beloved characters are present, they take on other roles. Angel, rather than being a detective, is a lab geek like Dexter and Vince Masuka and rarely has any spoken words. Vince Masuka, while still seemingly creepy as hell, wasn't conceived with the same humor; there is even a case where Dexter describes him as a fake. LaGuerta is a petty detective, crushing on Dexter and rather venomous. It's her, not Doakes - who was the only character to carried his personality into the TV world - that uncovers that Dexter is hiding something, though her friend is very much in the know.
It felt as if Lindsay was plot-motivated rather than character motivated. While Dexter can't know it all - the novel is written in first person - it seemed that several of the supporting characters were a little too hollow. The writing was also fast paced, never reallying leaving you at the edge of your seat, though I might be biased because I watched the first season before I ever picked up the book.
The novel, however, isn't without its value. It's still worth reading, especially if you're a fan of the show. All in all, the novel gets a three star rating.