Monday, March 07, 2011

Dexter Is Delicious

I have followed, and very much enjoyed, Showtime’s Dexter series from the start, but Dexter Is Delicious is my first exposure to Dexter in actual book form.  It is not like I have been unaware of Jeff Lindsay’s Dexter books all this time, however.  The only thing that kept me from reading one of them before now was my erroneous assumption that the books were little more than recaps of the same stories I had already watched on Showtime.  That is certainly not the case.

The books are TV Dexter’s alternate history (or should I phrase that the other way around?).  Dexter is basically the same likable serial killer we know from television but some of what he has experienced in that series has not happened to Printed-Word Dexter (and I assume that the opposite is also true).  Certain key characters have died television deaths but live on in the books.  Dexter’s new television son is his new daughter in Dexter Is Delicious.  His innocent young step-children from film are his not-very-innocent step-children in the books.

Dexter Is Delicious is a bizarre tale involving young Miami cannibals, a group that is, in its own special way, working to control the illegal immigrant population of that fine city.  However, only when two teen girls from an expensive private high school appear to have been kidnapped by the cannibals does the Miami Police Department get seriously involved.  The case falls into the lap of Dexter’s sister, Deb, who treats Dexter (a blood-splatter expert working for the same police department) as her personal employee, yanking him from the laboratory and running him all over the county in pursuit of the missing girls and those who might have them. 

Dexter, while he is perfectly willing to help Deb hunt the bad guys, is, at the same time, waging an internal battle brought on by the birth of his new baby girl.  He wants to rid himself of his Dark Passenger, that inner voice requiring him to kill on a regular basis.  Dexter wants nothing more than to feel the emotions any new father can be expected to feel.  To blend in despite being a sociopath, Dexter has already learned the proper things to do and say when around other people.  Now he is having longer and longer moments of actually feeling those emotions.  But what will his Dark Passenger think of all this?

Author Jeff Lindsay
The plot of Dexter Is Delicious is a bit farfetched, but that is unlikely to bother Dexter-regulars because this is nothing new.  From the point-of-view of someone who came to Dexter first via television, what did bug me was the limited, or even nonexistent roles played by some of Dexter’s fellow television cops.  Too, I kept  wondering how a blood-splatter expert could get away with running all over the Miami area for so long doing physical police work and only occasionally going in to the blood lab. 

The audio book version of Dexter Is Delicious, a nine-CD set, is read by its author, Jeff Lindsay, who does a good job giving voice to Dexter and Dexter’s sense of humor.  I was a little slow settling into Lindsay’s narrative style but by the second CD it all started to sound very natural, and in character, to me.  Anyone just willing to go with the flow of the story is going to have fun with this one.

Rated at: 3.5


  1. I think I had read the first three books before starting the TV show, and I'm still only 2 seasons into the show. As far as I know, the only season that closely follows any of the books is season 1, which is basically a padded version of book 1. Since the later books get really horrific at times, and, as you mentioned, the children turn out to be decidedly not innocent, it's not surprising that the TV series went in a different direction. I have to say, from the little I've seen, TV Dexter is a little more human-seeming than Book Dexter. I hadn't realized there was another book out - I'll have to put this on my TBR list.

  2. I have to agree, Library Girl. I "like" the TV Dexter more than the book Dexter. In this one book, he comes across as a little bit wimpy when compared to his more macho sister, Deb. Plus, the TV series treats his wife and other secondary characters a lot better than the book treats them. Still, I'll probably take a look at the earlier books (except that first one you described) just to see what they are all about.