(Warning: this WILL contain spoilers about the first book and possibly the series, if you haven't seen it and plan on watching.)
I love Dexter.
I was a bit late to the show, I admit. But one day I began watching the first season on my iPhone (Netflix instant viewing - love it!) out of curiosity and boredom, and was hooked. Line and sinker. I quickly went through the first two seasons (not being confined to my home was a boost to the speed factor) then bumped the discs for seasons 3 and 4 to the top of our queue, set the DVR to record season 5, which was starting soon. Of course, all that insta-Dexter makes it SO hard to wait until the next season comes out.
I learned early on that the series was based on a book, Darkly Dreaming Dexter by Jeff Lindsay, which is the first in a series of books about the character. For Christmas, my husband gave me two of the books. I was so excited, since I love reading. He didn't give me the first book, though, but the second and third. I had read earlier (I think on Twitter) that the first book and the first season of the show were extremely similar, so I didn't worry about it and picked up the second book and dove in.
On the second page, I find out how different they are - LaGuerta was killed in the first book! She is in all seasons of the show! So I did what any sane person would do - closed the book again, and bought the first book.
I read the book this week, and there are HUGE differences! Granted, a lot had to be added to stretch one novel into an entire season of a show, but I almost feel like the book left some things out! I still loved it, though, and between the story differences and the time since I watched the first season of the show, it was not at all like rereading anything. It was more like reading a new story about familiar characters.
I am interested to see how the big differences play out in the future novels, though. For one thing, the Ice Truck Killer (Dexter's brother) escapes at the end of the novel. The second season dealt a lot with Dexter's guilt over killing his brother, finding out about his family before he was adopted, and Harry's keeping it from him. Another huge difference? Deb (his adoptive sister) learns his secret at the end of the book and accepts it. Since that was literally the last pages, I cannot WAIT to get into the second book and see what direction that takes.
As I mentioned earlier, LaGuerta was killed at the end of this book. It is she, and not Doakes, who follows Dexter to the shipping container, and Brian was there with Deb, not at their old house. There is no engagement to Deb, he is not portraying a doctor named Rudy, as yet no mystery biological father leaving Dexter a house in his will. Also, no dramatic breakdown at the chainsaw crime scene; in fact, that particular crime only gets a couple lines in the book and does not relate at all to what happened to their mother!
I really think the series handled the whole "Surprise, you have a brother and he's a serial killer also" angle MUCH better than the book, but I suppose that is because the series had so much more time to work with. The relationship between Dexter and Deb is the same, though, and for that I'm glad. It is such a huge part of the series to me.
Another surprise? The book is shockingly NOT graphic at all. Each murder act, crime scene, and the two sexual acts (remember, this was the beginning of his relationship with Rita) are glossed over pretty quickly. Actually, the sex scenes are just implied. No graphic description of the kills. And since it's the Ice Truck Killer, there isn't any blood. Network TV is more graphic than this book.
I really enjoyed it, though, and am looking forward to reading the next one.