Book Twenty-Nine: Darkly Dreaming Dexter

I did warn y’all that when I read cheesy mysteries, you’d hear about it. I read Darkly Dreaming Dexter when it first came out because I liked the idea of an ethical serial killer, and I recently watched the first season of Showtime’s Dexter, so I thought I would re-read the book and see what I thought about it now. Like most books in its genre, it’s a pretty quick read, and it is, damnit, entertaining.

I’ve never liked book snobs. I think that all books have a place on earth, even the bad ones, and sometimes it’s nice to clear your head with complete garbage before plunging into something deeper. And where does one draw the line between trashy books and fine literature? Some people might think of Stranger In A Strange Land as a trashy book, silly science fiction meant for pure entertainment, but the book has more depth than that. And maybe Darkly Dreaming Dexter does too, as it probes human nature and the things that make us humans (or monsters).

Anyway, without giving away too much of the plot, Dexter is a psychopathic serial killer with a heart, so to speak. He lives by the Code of Harry, a set of rules laid out by his foster father in his youth which dictate when and whom to kill. Dexter “takes out the garbage,” to speak, killing people who are dangerous to society and thereby satisfying his urges and doing society a favor.

Oh, and Dexter works for the crime lab. Doing blood spatter analysis.

Good times. Anyway, this is one of the books you can’t really talk about that much without giving away the plot, but I did think it’s interesting that the protagonist is named Dexter. I was talking about sinister and dexter with F the other day, because she’s left handed, and I find it fascinating that humans have had a problem with lefties for much of modern history.

Sinister means left, of course. Or harmful, unlucky, with evil intentions, depending on whether or not you speak Latin. Dexter, on the other hand, means right. Skillful. Good. Interesting that Lindsay should choose to make his monster “right” and “skillful,” isn’t it?


Darkly Dreaming Dexter, by Jess Lindsay. Published 2004, 240 pages. Fiction.