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Dexter Books In Order

Updated on September 17, 2014

Reading Dexter Books In Order Of Release?

Before we answer the question whether we should read the Dexter books in order, I'm sure most of us are familiar with the cute, adorable and almost to fall in love with Dexter Morgan from the same named TV series. But I've met a few people who had no idea that a series of Dexter books even existed, and that the TV show has been made based on the books.

The Dexter Morgan series was created by the author Jeff Lindsay. It is a very quirky series, one that really raised lots of eyebrows starting right from the first book. The reason is because we are all programmed to hate serial killers with a vengeance, but here comes one that you simply can't but like, there's just no way around it.

I was totally overjoyed when the TV series started a few years ago, and I've kept reading all the Dexter books in order of publication to see what was Dexter up to next. Enjoy reading the reviews below and yes, I personally think one should read the books in publication order, because there is a timeline associated with the story as it unfolds.

Overview Of Dexter Books In Order

All The Dexter Books In Publication Order

  • Darkly Dreaming Dexter (Dexter #1)

    This is the first Dexter Morgan book, published in 2004 in hardcover. Of course once the TV show started, several new editions of this book have been released to feature the actor playing Dexter Morgan in the TV series.

  • Dearly Devoted Dexter (Dexter #2)

    Dearly Devoted Dexter is the second book in the famous serial killer novel series, published in 2005.

  • Dexter in the Dark (Dexter #3)

    The third book in the popular series is Dexter in the Dark, published in 2007.

  • Dexter by Design (Dexter #4)

    Book #4, Dexter by Design has been published in 2009.

  • Dexter Is Delicious (Dexter #5)

    The fifth book in the Dexter Morgan series was first published in 2010.

  • Double Dexter (Dexter #6)

    Next come Double Dexter, the 6th book published in 2011.

  • Dexter's Debut (Dexter #7)

    The latest book in the Dexter Morgan series, Dexter's Debut is available since summer 2013. Sadly this is the last in the Dexter series featuring Dexter Morgan, the enchanting serial killer.

Darkly Dreaming Dexter (Book #1)

Darkly Dreaming Dexter is the first book in the widely acclaimed series involving the adorable serial killer Dexter Morgan. Dexter is working at the Miami police department as a blood splatter expert analyzing crime scenes.

He is charming, cute, adorable and easy to fall far. But he is also a serial killer, one with a code of honor: only kill bad guys who have slipped through the cracks of the justice system and have been let free even though they are serial killers or hardened criminals themselves.

Of course having this job with the police makes it extremely easy for him to find his next victim. However when a series of killings has shocked the city with their cruel nature, Dexter can't but think that he might be doing these killings in his sleep. For the killings MO ise strikingly similar to his own style...

I am unlovable...I have tried to involve myself in other people, in relationships, and even - in my sillier moments - in love. But it doesn't work. Something in me is broken or missing and sooner or later the other person catches me Acting or one of Those Nights comes along.

— Dexter in Darkly Dreaming Dexter

Dearly Devoted Dexter (Book #2)

Dexter Morgan, the ethical serial killer returns for a second round. This is why you need to read the Dexter books in order, because here the storyline follows closely that of the first book.

After what happened in the first novel, Sergeant Doakes grows a strong suspicion that Dexter is the sought after serial killer, so Dexter has to do something about it...or him.

First of all he needs to get a good cover, so he spends lots of time with his girlfriend Rita and her cute kids. He is, afterall, just a regular guy, to throw Doakes off his scent while he trails him around wherever he goes.

In this second novel the storyline is not as dark and bloody as the second TV series, however the book is just as entertaining as the first. We get a good glimpse into how Dexter's mind works, how he tries to keep his Dark Passenger at bay and how he tries to mimic how people feel and react when he in fact does none of the above.

A man who discovers his pants are on fire tends to have very little time to worry about somebody else's box of matches .

— Dexter in Dearly Devoted Dexter

Dexter In The Dark (Book #3)

This is where the story of the Dexter the book is completely different from Dexter the TV series. As compared to the second Dexter book, here the story continues, albeit touching on a weird supernatural level, something that several fans of Dexter have heavily criticized. I personally liked it, but not everyone is the same.

Dexter is trying go blend in, is preparing for his marriage to Rita and getting closer to her 2 kids.

In this third book, Dexter's Dark Passanger, that inner voice that pushes him to kill, suddenly disappears, and Dexter feels very lonely and confused without it. Afterall it's been with him since he can remember. I loved this book as it was full of fun and giggles - despite being so dark. I really laughed out loud a couple of times.

hat's what I love about these books, they're gory, sick and dark, but fun at the same time, with a character that you simply have to agree with every time he talks to himself about the need to kill yet another criminal.

Rectory always sounded to me like a place you would find a proctologist.

— Dexter in Dexter in the Dark

Dexter By Design (Book #4)

Dexter by Design is book #4 in the popular series featuring the lovely serial killer Dexter Morgan. Here he returns for another round, this time happily married (in Paris, no less). When he returns from his honeymoon, a series of bizarre killings are waiting for him back home. The corpses are weirdly posed, which of course make him interested in the killings.

Afterall he's been keeping his Dark Passenger at bay for long enough already, it's time to get back to business.

The killings are especially display of the body parts are weird, almost like a dark art, much too similar to what he saw in Paris while visiting it with Rita on his honeymoon. When he's back home Deb, his detective sister asks for his help in solving these killings, and Dexter is just too happy to oblige.

Another dark, twisted and great novel with humor thrown in between for a lighter touch. Finally the Dexter we love is back!

"Detective, I don't know where the boyfriend is, really," I said. And it was true, considering tide, current, and the habits of marine scavengers.

— Dexter in Dexter By Design

Do You Like Dexter Best In The Books Or TV Series?

Do You Like Dexter Best In The Books Or TV Series?

See results

Dexter Is Delicious (Book #5)

The fifth book in the series follows the 4th one exactly 9 months after. Again, a good reason to read the Dexter books in order to follow what happens next. Here we see Lily Anne Morgan, a new baby girl of Dexter and Rita, who's just been born.

For the first time in the book Dexter actually feels something, feels real emotion. And this is in fact one of the traits of this particular book in the series: Dexter talking about his new found feelings, whimpering and his inner monologue.

Combined with these homey feelings are the scenes of cannibalism in the book, which makes it the weird and fun book that it is. In normal settings you just can't imagine the two together, yet here they are, beautifully woven together by Jeff Lindsay. Of course all Dexter's plans to stop the killings and devote himself to his family fall flat when Samantha Aldovar is kidnapped and eventually murdered.

And just to make things even more interesting, Dexter's brother Brian (the ice truck killer) shows up and tries to integrate himself within his family. What a mess!

No big deal. We all have blood in us, the trick is keeping it inside.

— Dexter in Dexter Is Delicious

Double Dexter (Book #6)

So far the latest published book in the Dexter Morgan series starts with a bang. We get to see Dexter kill and dismember a known pedophile. So far so good. The problem is, this killing is noticed by someone who drives away fast, so now Dexter has to find this witness before it's too late.

In the meantime Deb asks Dexter for help with a case of police officers killed with their bones broken. The cop killer is found, and during the press conference, Dexter's photo is also published, which of course will be seen by the witness who now can recognize Dexter. This book definitely starts with a major bang and goes on at just the same pace.

Finally here Dexter is fully back to his old serial killer self, even with his constant internal monologues that leave us chuckling at the least probably times. Some of the things he's saying to himself left me literally laugh out loud in the living room where I was reading the book.

However don't think that this book is less dark than the previous ones. In fact I think it's one of the darkest yet, with Dexter and the witness plotting heavily against each other. It's seriously fun, and now I'm left to wait for #7 which will be available sometimes next year, in 2013.

"Goddamn it," she said before she was even all the way in the room, "I need something from you!"

"Maybe a sedative?" Vince suggested, and for once I thought he was right on the money.

— Double Dexter

And here is the last book in the Dexter series, Dexter's Final Cut. What a fitting title!

Having read the book, I have to say: What happened? I don't recognize the author's writing. I used to love the Dexter books, but this one fell flat. It's like the author couldn't wait to finish the series and really didn't give much thought to the series followers.

It was not a bad read, but for a Dexter book, I give this one a major thumbs down.

Dexter Books vs the Dexter TV Series

While the first season of Dexter follows loosely the first book, Dexter in the Dark, from book 2 and season 2, the story lines are quite different.

I've read them all and watched all Dexter TV episodes right to the very end of the series (ending with Season 8), and there are not many matching things. So watch the TV show and read the books for a fun experience, but don't try to compare them too much. You'll be disappointed.

© 2012 Marika

Welcome To The Dexter Books In Order Guestbook

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    • profile image


      5 years ago

      I prefer him in books!

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      haven't seen the book nor watch the tv series, i'll try that one of these days

    • Camden1 profile image


      5 years ago

      Count me as one of those who did not that the TV series was based on books - I'll need to check these out!

    • Gerald McConway profile image

      Gerald McConway 

      5 years ago

      Love the show, have not yet read the books, but will be checking them out soon.


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