Darkly Dreaming Dexter, by Jeff Lindsay (8 July — 10 July)

Back in the day when I could easily creatively acquire television shows (ahem), I watched a lot of TV. Possibly too much. But one of the shows I dearly loved was Dexter, a show about a serial killer who kills serial killers. It was interesting and quirky and starred Michael C. Hall, and I would still be watching it today (it’s still on, right?) if I wanted to pay for Showtime. Which I don’t. Maybe I’ll be able to grab the seasons from the library, but that is for the future.

Anyway. Where was I? Oh, yes. This excellent show is based on the book Darkly Dreaming Dexter, a short-ish novel about, well, a serial killer who kills serial killers. Shocking. Dexter is a blood-spatter analyst for Miami Dade, working alongside his foster sister, Deborah/Deb/Debs/Debbie, a vice cop looking to move up to homicide. Deb’s father, Harry, was a cop himself, and took Dexter in after finding him at some crime scene that he kept a secret from Dexter even in his death. All Dexter knows is that he’s emotionless (sort of), not-quite-human, and carries a “Dark Passenger” inside him that likes to kill people. But Dex follows his foster dad’s advice and keeps the DP at bay by killing only people who really deserve it. But then, one day, another serial killer pops up with an M.O. rather like Dexter’s for disposing of bodies, and Dexter’s world goes a little lopsided.

This book is not for the faint of heart, though it’s a bit less graphic than the series. Also, while it covers the same time span as the first season and is pretty much the same plotline, it has a rather different ending, so don’t feel like you’ll be spoiled too much.

Unfortunately, the ending is my one big beef with the novel — not that it’s different, of course, because that’s allowed, but because Lindsay leaves a couple of my questions unanswered (like [spoiler alert] what the heck happens to the killer and how Dexter convinced Deb to be okay with any of what just happened to her [end spoiler alert]), after he complained about LaGuerta not asking questions and therefore being a bad detective. Whatever. My recommendation: read this first, then go watch the series and love every bit that doesn’t have Lilah in it.

Rating: 6.5/10

Cadillac Beach, by Tim Dorsey (29 December — 4 January)

Yes. Well. I read this book because my dear friend Pat told me it was awesome. I can definitely understand why he would find it awesome, but it was definitely not the right fit for me.

This book is weird. No, WEIRD. The plot, what there is of one, is that the main character, Serge, is out to solve the mystery of his grandfather’s death. It was ruled a suicide, but Serge just knows that it had something to do with the theft of a bunch of jewels from a museum. He sets off to find some answers and ends up creating a tour company, getting on the outs with the mob and the police when some of his customers kill a mob boss who is ratting and going into witness protection, and creating an invasion that sort of happens but doesn’t but makes everyone like him again.

It doesn’t make any sense. It’s pretty funny in parts, when you see all the threads of all the different stories that are going on start to come together, and when Serge does things like threaten someone with a leaf blower. But I just couldn’t hold all of those plotlines in my head and still figure out what each sentence meant. Sorry, Pat, but I think I’m going to take a pass on Tim Dorsey.

Rating: 3/10
(Countdown Challenge: 2004)