Friday 12 August 2011

News of An Exclusive Interview with Dexter Creator Jeff Lindsay, and a Review of Dexter is Delicious (Orion, 2010 / 2011)

Well if you read the previous post (on Anthony Price's Tomorrow's Ghost), you might have already guessed the identity of the author I hinted about having an exclusive interview with (following my recent two-part chin-wag with the aforementioned Mr. Price). It is, of course, Jeff Lindsay, creator of the massively successful series of novels starring sardonic serial killer Dexter Morgan – and by extension of the equally massively successful spin-off TV show. The interview took the form of a short Q&A, with my questions kindly ferried to Mr. Lindsay – in the process becoming rather garbled, which makes for amusing reading – by the ever-helpful folk at his British publisher, Orion, and was arranged to mark the publication in paperback next week of his fifth Dexter novel, Dexter is Delicious. Jeff is actually embarking on a British blog tour to promote the book, and, gratifyingly, Existential Ennui will be the first stop on that tour, followed by a guest post from Mr. Lindsay on Blogomatic 3000 on Tuesday, an excerpt from the novel on Another Cookie Crumbles on Wednesday, and a Dexter competition on the Shots blog on Thursday. So make sure to stop by on Monday for an unintentionally nonsensical interview with Jeff Lindsay!

Ahead of that, though, I thought it might be an idea to review the novel itself. I've touched on the Dexter books before, primarily in this post (still the most popular post on Existential Ennui, with well over 2,000 hits to date), in which I compared them to the television series and gently suggested the TV show may well be the superior beast, especially in Michael C. Hall's portrayal of the murderous, conscienceless, yet still strangely empathetic Mr. Morgan. Some of that, I reasoned, was down to the fact that I came to the show before the books, but some of it was also down, I think, to the Dexter novel I'd just read, 2009's Dexter by Design. Because although I enjoyed that novel, at the time I found Hall's version of Dexter more vivid somehow than Lindsay's one. Where the TV Dexter was becoming more rounded – fatherhood and the horrific events at the end of Season Five causing him to question his Dark Passenger – the novel Dexter seemed slightly stuck.

What's striking about Dexter is Delicious – which was originally published back in 2010 – is how, for me, it almost reverses that conclusion. In this outing, Dexter really struggles with his murderous urges, determining to stay on the straight and narrow now that he is – as in the TV show – a father, with a new baby, Lily Anne, to watch over. Consequently there's an added depth to his narration, something that was slightly lacking in Dexter by Design, although the novel is still littered with the expected sarcastic asides and one-liners. There's more meat on the bones of the plot as well, which concerns a cabal of cannibals operating in the Miami area. And there's a delightful additional wrinkle, in the shape of Dexter's brother, Brian.

Now, if you've only been following the television series, you'll be under the impression that Brian – himself a serial killer of some note (except without Dexter's warped "kill only criminals" code) – copped it at the end of Season One. And so he did. But in the books, Brian merely vanished at the end of the first novel, Darkly Dreaming Dexter (2004). It's not spoiling much to reveal that Brian is back in full force in Dexter is Delicious, messing with Dexter's family set-up by befriending Astor and Cody, the children of Dexter's partner, Rita, and encouraging their nascent Dark Passengers. It's an intriguing subplot to go along with the main man-eating action, and is left unresolved at the book's close, boding well for the future.

That central cannibal storyline is certainly more compelling than the commentary on contemporary art (particularly art installations) which characterized Dexter by Design. Bringing to mind the infamous 2003 case of the man who volunteered to be eaten by a German cannibal, Lindsay takes great pleasure in depositing Dexter in some extremely uncomfortable situations, notably in one sequence where Dexter is imprisoned with a willing, er... dinee...? Eatee...? Snackee...? Whatever: a very young lady who wishes to be eaten. The pair are dosed with a potent cocktail of ecstasy and other drugs and wind up, well, becoming rather close, an event – along with its attendant aftermath – that's distinctly squirm-inducing. But there's some solid police procedural and behind-the-scenes cop business as well – largely centring on Dexter's sister, the glamorous but hard-assed Deborah – including one scene involving bribery which to me felt very authentic.

Lindsay's next Dexter novel, Double Dexter, is due in October, and if the author maintains the excellence of Dexter is Delicious, I reckon we're in for another treat. But of course, we don't have to wait until then for more from Mr. Lindsay – oh dear me, no. He'll be along at the start of next week, right here on this very blog. So join me on Monday for a short interview with Jeff Lindsay!

1 comment:

  1. Loving this blog, the feel, the reviews and other posts. Do pay me a visit when you are chanced, and be careful for you might not want to leave. I am an author and a blogger, and would be honored to do a guest post on your blog, and maybe an interview