Dexter- The Books, The Series, The Story- A Review Part 1
I am going to do a series of the Dexter Books by Jeff Lindsay compared to the series so far. As both are still progressing and changing I am going to do a comparative review of book to season. This will obviously contain a few spoilers if you are not in fact caught up with the books or the series, so you are warned.
5 books- 5 seasons
So far Jeff Lindsay has released 5 bestselling novels in the Dexter series, spawning a Showtime original series titled Dexter. The series follows a lovable serial killer who works for the Miami Metro Police Department, Homicide Division working as a blood-spatter analyst.
I fell in love with the T.V. series a few years ago, around the time the third season was ending. After watching a few episodes of season 3 I was hooked. By the Time season 4 was set to start I made it a point to catch up, and to my luck and the wonders of OnDemand T.V. I was able to do just that.
The T.V. series has followed Dexter, played by Michael C. Hall, from introduction, to Family life. As well as reveling key points in his past that has made him the charming monster he is today.
The Books run a little more fast paced and accelerated some of the plot, as well as twisting a few things around and going a completely different route. Running a series on television requires many different factors to meld together and create a story that is watchable and marketable to the viewers. Not always will a book transfer 100% to screen, that's obvious. Some liberties were taken here and there in correlation of the book to the television series and I will hit on a few plot points from each.
The Code of Harry
The Code Of Harry Morgan
"It's not about vengeance, not about retaliation, or balancing the books -- it's about something deep inside."
- Don't Get Caught
- Killing must serve a purpose, otherwise it's just plain murder.
- Be sure
- Blend in -- maintain appearances.
- Control urges, and channel them.
Darkly Dreaming Dexter-Season 1
Darkly Dreaming Dexter introduces Dexter to the world in the very first novel by Jeff Lindsay. It gives an in depth look at the sociopathic vigilant. If you are unfamiliar with the story line; Dexter was raised by a cop, Harry Morgan, who found out at a young age that his adoptive son had a hunger to kill. Deciding what he thought was best for Dexter, he chooses to teach him a Code to live by so that he may kill, but only those who deserve it. He instilled this Code so that when the justice system fails to catch their man, then the Code Of Harry can take over and Dexter can fulfill his urge to kill.
The first season of the series runs relatively parallel to the book with a few minor adjustments in character development.
The Main Plot
The main story throughout the series and the book is the story of the Ice Truck Killer. A murderer who drains the blood from his victims, prostitutes, and cuts them up neatly and packages them then hides them all over the city of Miami. Giving way to a wild goose chase for the Miami Metro PD.
We are introduced to Dexter's sister, Deborah Morgan (played by Jennifer Carpenter in the series), a police officer,working in vice, trying to make her way into homicide. Getting no respect from Lt. LaGuerta, she is pushed onto the street working undercover as a prostitute busting "Johns".
Deborah became a police officer as a way to get into her father's good graces when she noticed all his attention was put towards Dexter. Growing up in the same household, she never knew the kind of monster Dexter was as Harry was trying to protect her from the truth. Working with Dexter in private, teaching him the Code while taking him on hunting trips where he would kill animals to learn to "be a better monster". All the secrecy caused jealousy and resentment in Deborah, making the dynamic between the siblings go beyond sibling rivalry.
The Plot Thickens.....and Changes
The plot gets heavy when Dexter realizes the Ice Truck Killer has been leaving clues.... for him. Later revealing The Ice Truck Killer to be Dexter's biological brother, the plot changes radically from book to series.
In the book, Dexter falls off to sleep and dreams about what the killer is doing. Taking a more supernatural approach to the series. After seeing a blurry image of the killer, Dexter and Deborah both come to the conclusion that the killer may very well in fact be Dexter. Unable to account for his whereabouts during the killings...as he is always in bed dreaming about the killings as they happen, Deborah gives him a chance to prove he is innocent. During another sleep episode his sister goes missing. Unsure about whether she was taken by the killer, or by Dexter. He goes in search of her finding her in a Shipping Container in a set-up kill-room, not unlike one of his own. There he finds his "Irish Twin" Brian Moser, his biological older brother. With Deborah awake, Brian urges Dexter to join him and no longer hide the monster he is inside, by killing Deborah. This leaves Deborah knowing who Dexter really is.
In the television series, Dexter is lead by The Ice Truck Killer closer to finding out who he is, by him leaving clues with the body parts of a security guard. Reminiscing on Dexter's past through his old photo album and revisiting spots from Dexter's youth. Through the series you slowly learn that the new man in Deborah's life, Rudy Cooper, is actually none other than Brian Moser the Ice Truck Killer. With a suspicious Sgt. Doakes following close behind, Dexter finds out the history of the Shipping Container and turns up empty. Leading into a character developed plot that is the foundation for what is to come.
Later in the story Deborah goes out for what she thinks is a romantic dinner/marriage proposal with Rudy, but ends up being her own kidnapping and capture as the next victim of The Ice Truck Killer. The altercation with Dexter and his brother Brian ends up at their childhood home, when Dexter is in search of her sister. In a detached garage/shed behind the house they find Deborah in a similar situation as before. Brian waiting for Dexter to join him, by killing his "pretend sister". An unconscious Deborah wakes up just as Dexter changes his mind and stops Brian from trying to kill her as the police show up and break up the party.
A Quick Review
After watching all four previous seasons and in the middle of newest season five, I decided to read the books (on book four currently). In my mind after watching the television series I was able to grasp at the concept perfectly of Dexter being a well trained sociopath. Capable of blending in to normalcy and still fulfill his urge to kill, Michael C. Hall portrays him beautifully. Unable to truly understand emotions he learned to fake them really well. In the novel, Jeff Lindsay wrote Dexter as being a little less controlled in my opinion. In the chapter when Deborah was awake and Dexter was asked to kill her, he showed a weakness for killing that wasn't done as heavily as it was in the television series.
Knowing that he is a blood spatter analyst ,it is written that he hates blood, but the book takes this to a level where he is portrayed like a little girl being faced with something "icky"; whereas the series he is intrigued by it even though he dislikes it.
After reading through to the second book, it seems as though the book series takes a completely different turn character plot-wise. The story line doesn't seem as strong to me, and Dexter appears to be more weak as I turn the pages.
The first novel in the series I would rate a 5 out of 5. It is a great starting off point, you get to know your characters, and although Dexter is portrayed as a weaker character he still shines through as a charming, lovable sociopath. The book as a stand alone is well worth the read, as Jeff Lindsay does a wonderful job painting pictures in our heads.
The first season of the television series I would rate a 5 out of 5. It has an amazing cast of actors, and the character development is very in-depth. There is a ton of suspense, thrills, and a dash of witty humor thrown in that keeps you on the edge of your seat. The plot runs through consistently, foreshadowing what's to come in the seasons ahead. It is well worth a watch, and you will be hooked after season one.