Crime is fatal and if the criminal walks away scot-free, then that’s injustice, and just to set the wrong right, there is a sociopath serial killer who takes them down one at a time. Sounds familiar, doesn’t it? This Buzzle article gives a chronological order of Jeff Lindsay’s famous Dexter novels which went on to become a hit TV series.
Author Jeff Lindsay is seen in a brief cameo playing a cop in the hit TV series ‘Dexter’ in Episode 10 “Go Your Own Way”, Season 3. Angel talks to him before going into the hospital room to see Gianna.
Dexter Morgan, the anti-hero of the Dexter novel series, is a forensic technician with the Miami-Dade Police Department and when he is not working on criminals, he is killing them. He suffers from schizoid personality disorder that makes him feel like an outsider to humanity and human emotions. His lives by the ‘Harry Code’ that he adapted from his adopted father ‘Harry’, which makes him kill psychopaths who have evaded the justice system. He kills them in a symbolically selected spot which is, in some way, connected with the victims and the crime they have committed.
There are only two rules he follows: 1.Kill only if there is a strong evidence against the criminal and 2. Leave no trace of the murder. So, here you have a serial killer with a difference, he works by his own moral codes for the better of the society.
About the Author
Jeffry P. Freundlich was born on July 14, 1952, in Miami. He published and co-authored books in his earlier career with his wife Hilary Hemingway, niece of Ernest Hemingway. He wrote the Dexter series under the pen name Jeff Lindsay, which instantly became a hit. He currently lives in Cape Coral, Florida, with his family.
● Darkly Dreaming Dexter
Published – 2004
“I’m a very neat monster.”
The first in the series, Darkly Dreaming Dexter shows the anti-hero comfortably managing his dual life; one as a forensic technician with the Miami-Dade Police Department and other as the sociopath serial killer who kills only criminals. Dexter is devoid of human emotions and listens only to the voice in his head, whom he has named as ‘Dark Passenger’, which urges him to kill Father Donovan, a gentle priest who teaches young children but later kills them. Father Donovan becomes Dexter’s 37th victim when he kills him in exactly the same spot he killed the children. A new psychopath serial killer catches the attention of Dexter, known as the ‘Tamiami Butcher’ who murders very skillfully and artistically the prostitutes of Miami. On one hand, Dexter admires his precision and skillfulness, while on the other, he feels the need to help his foster sister Deborah to catch the killer. Deborah later gets kidnapped by the serial killer, and Dexter has to race against time between saving his foster sister and satisfying his urge to kill.
● Dearly Devoted Dexter
Published – 2005
“You can’t use logic on human behavior.”
Dexter finds himself face to face with an evil killer named ‘Dr. Danco’ who kidnaps victims and pumps their body with sedatives, then mutilates them mercilessly in front of a huge mirror by playing a word game similar to hangman. The psychopath killer has a shadowy past from the Salvadoran Civil War and preys only on those people associated with it. When Dexter learns that his foster sister’s boyfriend, Kyle Chutsky, is on Dr. Danco’s hit list, he has to find a way to stop the killer.
● Dexter in the Dark
Published – 2007
“You can’t use logic on human behavior.”
Dexter is petrified and confused as he finds out that the voice in his head is actually a dark entity, the ancient God Moloch. A double homicide case in Miami University catches his attention, where two girls are found burnt and beheaded with the heads replaced by ceramic bulls. Dexter learns that a dark cult named ‘The Cult of Moloch’ are responsible for the killings. The book traces Astor and Cody, the soon-to-be-stepchildren of Dexter, who are going through a similar kill-urge phase in their lives, and Dexter guides them through the same ‘Harry Code’. Later, the Cult of Moloch kidnaps the stepchildren, and Dexter launches a head-on fight with the cult members. Cody kills the main priest of the cult with the ceremonial knife stating that he is ready, according to the ‘Harry Code’. In the end, Dexter feels morose with the voice in his head no longer there, but is surprised when it returns as it feeds on his suffering.
● Dexter by Design
Published – 2009
“And as we should all know by now, anytime you predict failure you have an excellent chance of being right.”
Dexter is caught between the life of normalcy as a married man and that of a killer. He finds his relationship with his foster sister Deborah has strained as she has learned about his dual life. During his honeymoon in Paris, he is fascinated with the avant-garde artwork of an artist who cuts her own limbs and places them for display in the art gallery known as ‘Jennifer’s Legs’. Back at work, he is called in to investigate a gruesome tableau that mimics the body parts artwork. It is left to Dexter to find the killer and stop him.
● Dexter Is Delicious
Published – 2010
“No big deal. We all have blood in us, the trick is keeping it inside.”
Dexter finds the joy of parenthood and comes closest to experiencing emotions as a normal human with the birth of his daughter, and vows to stop being the emotionless killer. But soon he is called on the mysterious and bizarre case of a high-school girl named Samantha who has gone missing. Running investigations with his foster sister Deb, they uncover a cannibal coven named ‘Fangs’, owned by Bobby Acoste, in guise of a nightclub. Their hunt leads them to a refrigerated Samantha in the coven, who desires to be eaten by the cannibals as a fetish. Dexter and Samantha are kidnapped by the coven members only to be rescued by Deb. Later, Samantha runs away again and is found in another coven run by Alana Acoste, Bobby’s stepmother. Samantha dies of her injuries inflicted on her by the cannibalistic ritual, and Dexter is saved by his brother Brian, who now returns to life with his family. The book ends with Deb realizing that she is pregnant and preparing to give birth despite the fact that her boyfriend has vanished, and Dexter realizing that it is time to once again listen to his inner dark voice.
● Double Dexter
Published – 2011
“I really am guilty, of many somethings, all of them lethal and very enjoyable and technically not quite legal.”
A cop-killer is on the loose who kills cops with a hammer. Deb is successful in catching the cop-killer Richard Kovasik. He, in return, tries to frame Dexter. There are a series of copycat cop killings, and Dexter is suspended. It is revealed that Bernard Elan is the killer, and he kidnaps Dexter’s stepchildren on the pretext of being their scout troop leader and takes them in a speedboat. Dexter and Bernard fight it out, and the latter is thrown off the boat by Astor to the hungry sharks.
● Dexter’s Final Cut
Published – 2013
“Life teaches us that human thought almost never walks hand in hand with logic, and it is usually counterproductive to raise the point.”
Dexter is lured into the land of fame and paparazzi when megastar Robert Chase, well-known for researching and losing himself in his characters, gets fixated with Dexter during his character research for a movie. To perfect his role, Robert shadows Dex’s every move. The only problem is, Dex has to keep his sociopath killer life away from the prying eyes of paparazzi and Hollywood.
If you enjoy reading good crime fiction with an anti-hero twist, then the Dexter series are definitely a worth read.