My good friends, I have finished a book!
It has taken me over two months to finish this 288-page mystery novel.
Anyway, I liked this book. It was nothing special. The characters were mildly interesting. I was kind of disappointed that Jeff Lindsay made Deborah so dumb, but I guess that was his choice.
For those who don't know, Darkly Dreaming Dexter is a mystery novel about a serial killer whose policeman father discovered his homicidal tendencies at a young age, and trained him to suppress them. Dexter's father coached Dexter to only kill the people that deserved it. Dexter grew up to become a blood spatter analyst for the Miami Police Department, and the plot of the novel centers around one particular case: a serial killer who catches Dexter's interest with his creative and alluring murders, through which Dexter believes the killer is trying to communicate with him.
Let me know if that made any sense.
The book started out well enough. Dexter's background is interesting enough, and the constant conflict between his vocation and his hobby keeps you reading. The author, speaking as Dexter, writes very nonchalantly about his penchant for killing and utter lack of human feelings. Dexter constantly refers to himself, without remorse, as non-human. It's a very different perspective, and an enjoyable read, if you can separate yourself enough from your morals to truly relate to a serial killer.
The book gets boring towards the end, when Dexter starts to get too introspective. he keeps doddering back and forth between two possible solutions, essentially repeating himself. I got really sick of reading Dexter's thoughts, because there weren't very many of them, despite how superintelligent he claimed to be.
And speaking of intelligence, it bothered me how Jeff Lindsay made Deborah, Dexter's foster sister (and an officer in the Department), so dumb. One of the reasons why Dexter and Deborah despised Detective Laguerta (their boss and something of a sub-antagonist in the book) is that she was a stupid cop. I expected Lindsay to provide some contrast between the villain, Laguerta, and one of our heroes, Deborah, but in my opinion, they were both kind of bad at picking up on certain things and following a simple train of thought. It took Dexter too long to explain things to Deborah.
But what really aggravated me was the ending . The book starts to get interesting when Dexter starts dreaming the murders before the other serial killer commits them. At first, the dreams are vague notions of what happens in the murder, but then, finite details turn up, and Dexter starts to worry. Has he finally snapped? Is he committing these murders in his sleep without knowing it? Dexter considers this possibility, which of course means that it can't be the case, or else it would be a lousy mystery. So you start to wonder what possible explanation could there be. Then a video turns up of Dexter entering the scene of one of the crimes on the night it happened. The plot thickens. I started having doubts. Is there magic involved? What will the incredible resolution be?
It turns out that the man caught on tape was not Dexter, but his long-lost biological brother he apparently forgot about, and with whom he shares a striking resemblance. Dexter's brother is also a homicidal freak, and after all these years, he decided all of a sudden to commit a series of murders to lure Dexter to him. Somehow, this familial relationship enabled Dexter to have clairvoyant dreams, and also led Dexter right to his brother on the night of the final murder with nary a viable clue as to where he was. Please.
So the ending was kind of ridiculous, but I suppose I enjoyed the book overall. It's nice to indulge in some genre-fiction every once in a while.