Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Review: Darkly Dreaming Dexter (Audio)

Summary: Jeff Lindsay is one of the most exciting voices to explode onto the literary scene in quite some time. From his boundless imagination comes the tale of a serial killer like no other, hailed by Booklist in a starred review as "one of the genre's most original, compelling characters to appear in years".

Dexter Morgan appears to be the perfect gentleman. He is handsome and polite, and has been in a relationship for nearly a year and a half. Yet appearances can be deceiving, for Dexter is a serial killer who has slain many people. But in this tale, he's the good guy, for there is one little twist: Dexter only snuffs out other murderers. When another serial killer, with an eerily similar style, starts grabbing headlines, Dexter has a fairly morbid thought. Am I being challenged?

Darkly Dreaming Dexter is macabre yet wickedly funny, a wildly inventive novel that entertains from beginning to end.-- Recorded Books

I finally finished my first audio book! It was DARKLY DREAMING DEXTER by Jeff Lindsay and narrated by Nick Landrum. I am a huge fan of the television series Dexter -- I mean a huge fan, so when I was able to download a free audio book, I decided to try DARKLY DREAMING DEXTER. I've always been curious about how the books compare to the television series, and I've been wanting to try an audio book. I thought it was a win-win situation!

I tried to listen to this book while working out each morning. I'm not sure that was the best way to start my audio book hobby. I was fine when I was just walking, but when I started running again, I really missed my music. It took a few weeks, but I finally got in the groove listening to this book and I even found myself looking forward to it each morning.

Since this is my first audio book review, I'm not sure I know where to start (or that I'm even qualified to review it!) But I'll begin with the book itself. I really, really liked it; and I found the entire premise to be just brilliant! I'm sure most of you are familiar with the concept, but Dexter Morgan is a blood spatter analyst who appears to be relatively normal on the outside -- he is a good employee, devoted brother, and even maintains a relationship with a woman. However, he also happens to have urges to kill people. Now, as bad as that sounds, Dexter tries to control his "inner voice" and only murders people who actually "deserve" to be killed -- other murderers.

I think DARKLY DREAMING DEXTER lends itself very well to an audio book because of the author's writing style. The story is told in first person narrative by Dexter, and Dexter (besides being a serial killer) is very smart and witty. Needless to say, he isn't quite right so his insights into normal human experiences are hilarious. He also uses lots of alliteration which I think comes across better on audio than it would in books. The author also uses a lot of descriptions so I was able to picture the scenes perfectly.

This novel definitely had an intriguing mystery element with lots of twists and turns. I particularly enjoyed how Dexter not only helped to solve the crime, but how he was also forced to examine him own behavior. When it became obvious that Dexter was somehow linked to the murder spree, Dexter even had to question just how he was involved.

The first half (and maybe 2/3s) of the book was extremely similar to the first season of the show. The storyline was pretty darn close and all of the main characters seemed to have the same traits. But then....oh mama! The ending was so different! Each morning, I came back from my run and couldn't wait to tell my husband what was happening and how different it was from the show. I was very satisfied with the ending in the book, but I think anytime I have expectations that are rocked, it takes me a little while to process them!

I don't know if I can really speak to the narrator's skills because I don't have anything to compare them against; however, I think he did a great job. I will say that it took me almost the entire first half of the book to get used to Dexter's voice not being actor Michael C. Hall's voice. But once I got past that, I found that he was a great storyteller. I loved his tone and sarcasm and I really thought he captured the essence of Dexter's character.

Now, I'll admit that I'm not sure I'm entirely sold on audio books. I still prefer actually reading books, but I do like having a little extra reading time each day -- I think it even makes my workout less painful. What I do know for sure is that I enjoyed DARKLY DREAMING DEXTER enough that I went right out and got the next book in the series. Part of the reason was because I wanted to see what happened next to Dexter, but I also think I might be slowly becoming a convert to audio books!

6 comments:

rhapsodyinbooks said...

I have never even watched the show but it sounds pretty good. I guess I have to find the show or the book - one or the other, at least!

Audra said...

(argh, original comment eaten by blogger!) Thanks for this review -- I adore the tv show and have been v cool on the idea of reading the books -- but I am soooo curious now about the deviation of the ending!!

I've found I can't incorporate audio books into my workout but I'm going to try with my commute! It's not v long but long enough, I think, to enjoy someone reading to me! :)

Audra said...

(argh, original comment eaten by blogger!) Thanks for this review -- I adore the tv show and have been v cool on the idea of reading the books -- but I am soooo curious now about the deviation of the ending!!

I've found I can't incorporate audio books into my workout but I'm going to try with my commute! It's not v long but long enough, I think, to enjoy someone reading to me! :)

bermudaonion said...

Carl and Vance love Dexter too! Vance has read the book and really liked it. I love audio books when I drive to my parents - it makes the trip go by so much faster.

Peppermint Ph.D. said...

I'm listening to my 2nd audio book and like you, I have enjoyed my listening experiences so far but am not ready to completely give up my books yet. I LOVE Dexter and couldn't decide whether or not to read the books since I was pretty deeply involved in the show before I realized the books even existed! Your review has made me decide to take the final plunge! Thanks!

Leela said...

I "read" it as audiobook too. It's cool that it diverges from the TV show. Poor Laguerta! How much does Debra know??? I hope there's more Doakes in the next book.(sp? One issue with audio books is you never know how to spell the names.)

Have you read any of the Sookie Stackhouse books?