Tag Archives: serial killers

Darkly Dreaming Dexter – Jeff Lindsay

This is the novel that the Showtime TV show “Dexter” is based on. I always love when I get to read both the book and see the movie/TV show because when done well, both mediums are pretty awesome. With a movie, I can see someone else’s vision of what something should or could look like. Sometimes it’s a disappointment, and sometimes it’s more awesome than my imagination could comprehend (LoTR). I really liked watching the whole TV series (so far) and then reading the book, because the TV show is awesome, but with the book, I can get some of the prose and inner dialogue that would make a TV show dull.

What’s so cool about this book? AlmostĀ  until the very last chapter, the book is a true-to-the-show mirror. And the writing is gorgeous. It’s very difficult (I imagine) to write about the mentally ill. I have read a lot of books about serial killers (gothy teen, remember?) and it either comes across as super technical or woo-woo-stream of consciousness stuff. Lindsay does a great job with these appropriately placed, euphonic, alliterative phrases along with decent dialogue and great direction.

So, I loved it because I could replay the TV scenes in my head, and overlay it with what I was reading (does that even make sense?) but I also loved it because the last chapter or so is such a drastic departure from the show that I am looking forward to read his next book (I think there are 2 or 3) to see where this “alternative, though original” storyline will go. I want to puzzle out why the TV folks went in a direction. It’s kind of like really well written fan fic.

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Devil in the White City – Erik Larson

Really fascinating book – another narrative non-fiction choice that came highly recommended by Keren. It’s the story of the Chicago World’s Fair, laid over the absolutely chilling tale of America’s first known serial murderer. After growing up in Queens and literally living under the shadow of the Unisphere and other relics from our own World’s Fair, I had almost no knowledge or interest in Chicago’s – so it was enlightening, but not particularly compelling. What did surprise me is that I had never heard of Dr. H.H. Holmes.

Like any other good little goth girl, I had a morbid fascination with serial killers. I still do, I suppose – but somehow I never heard of this guy. He was a “doctor” in the late 1800’s who murdered women and children (probably 100+) generally by picking off boarders in his hotel (this is where the tie to the World’s Fair comes in. A lot of women, newly independent were coming to the fair and no one noticed their disappearances). He built this hotel, also known as the “Castle” and it was just a death funhouse. Trap doors, soundproof rooms, crematoria, gas chambers. Really horrifying stuff.

Anyway, while the book overall was interesting, I definitely skimmed through a lot of the World’s Fair stuff (lots of architecture stuff) and went right to the gore. I want to read more about this guy!

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