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100 Books in a Year #72: Darkly Dreaming Dexter by Jeff Lindsay

By Brian Prisco | Books | April 22, 2009 |

By Brian Prisco | Books | April 22, 2009 |

Rarely do I say this about literature, but….

The TV show is so much better.

It’s a rare instance where a program is able to really develop characters in interesting ways, without totally devastating what made the novel so enjoyable. I mean, they’ve fucked the Sookie Stackhouse books into a goddamn telenovela. Only with sparkle porn and a mouthy black girl.

However, in the case of “Dexter,” the writers for the series essentially took every single one of Jeff Lindsay’s tragically underdeveloped and trite characters, polished them off, snipped off the ungodly terrible ending to the book, and then created a fascinating series based on the talent mostly of Michael C. Hall.

Lindsay’s Dexter is more of a legit sociopath, who follows the beck and call of a Dark Passenger who demands blood sacrifice and justice against the wrongdoers who hunt like Dex. While Hall plays Dexter as a bit of a pathological android, the Dexter of the novel is unlikable and savage. All the characters are poor shadows of what Showtime swells them into. LaGuerra is a slang spewing stooge, Deb is an enraged Barbie doll, and the black cop is played off like he’s a psycho, too. Instead of his chained bulldog, he’s more like a fart button, staring at Dexter and grunting “psycho” and “fucker” without any sort of rhyme or reason.

Now while they have to spread a story over several episodes to make a season, obviously the grand finale is bound to be modified to fit your DVD box. But the ending in the novel is so awful, so blindingly stupid that I won’t even risk spoiling it by typing it here. Suffice it to say, I want to read the other novels just to see how plaidly they clash with the stylish series. They’ve already fucked themselves into a boring little pickle, like Lindsay himself didn’t even trust that they were going to give him a chance to write more books. It’s an amazing adaptation, taking shit and turning into a gourmet shit sandwich. On foccacia!

This review is part of the Cannonball Read series. Details are here and the growing number of participants and their blogs are here.

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