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Darkly Dreaming Dexter, by first time author Jeff Lindsay is a book about a serial killer, Dexter Morgan. Dexter is not your typical serial killer; he's a killer with a conscience. He only kills those who deserve to die: other serial killers. Dexter's day job is with the Miami police force where he works as a blood spatter analyst. The story takes a turn when a copycat killer shows up and leaves dismembered limbs of innocent Miami victims as mocking clues for the police and ultimately for Dexter as if saying "catch me if you can".

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Paul Bergen
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Kathy Grieve
Member of the Law Enforcement Review Board
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Darkly Dreaming Dexter plays on how intrigued we are by vigilantes. We're frustrated by the people who get away with it, and wish there was an easy way to deal with problems. In terms of society, vigilantism is not a good thing. The chance of error is too great. But you know, from time to time, there might be an occasion where vigilantism works out for the best.

I was frustrated by this book. Dexter has this internal monologue where he talks about how dead he is, and yet he professes to be fond of his sister. He's as caring about the victims as anybody else in the book - no one in the book has any feelings at all.

The thing about mysteries and thrillers, is that they have this nice narrative engine that keeps you going, and it doesn't take much to keep you in the game. If Dexter was in a different genre, I might not have finished it.

This would make a better movie than it does a book. I'm not intrigued enough to continue reading the series.

Other reviews by Paul Bergen:
Blood Memory
He Who Fears the Wolf
Shock Wave
Strange Affair


This book is seductively simple. It's an easy read, and I would take it on the beach. I got hooked on the formula in that each chapter ends in a way that makes me want to read the next chapter.

Other than Dexter, there is no dimension to any of the characters, particularly the women characters, which is a sore spot for me. If you look at the statistics in most of our police services, there are very few women, and very few in supervisory positions, where Deb is ghettoized. I disagree with Curtis in that I don't believe the police environment - especially the competitiveness - is greatly sensationalized.

I had some issues with the accuracy in the book. Dexter's portrayal of the press and media all over a crime scene is not anything close to the reality that I experienced. An investigating officer does not stand on the scene and make pronouncements about what's happened; the police commissioner would be the one answering questions. The fact is that a real investigation would have been jeopardized by some of the comments that Lindsay's officers make.

I also found accuracy to be an issue in the length of time it took to find the first murder suspect. That really does not jive with how long it takes to do an investigation.

I'll pick up the paperback of the next Dexter book. I'd like to see what happened to Detective Dokes, and see if Dexter gets his just desserts.

Other reviews by Kathy Grieve:
The Closers
The Torment of Others