Tuesday Toss-Up

How to Have a Good Sick Day

sick dayThis week, I’m feeling a little under the weather. I’m not circling the drain or anything but I don’t exactly feel like climbing any mountains either. Or climbing off the couch, for that matter. Bruno Mars pretty much sums it up.

Except for, you know, the guy-specific stuff. And the birthday suit part…I got kiddos around here.

And dogs. Dogs are not shy about where they try to sniff when you’re under-dressed.

AnywayContinue reading “How to Have a Good Sick Day”

Uncategorized

What Gets Your Pulse Pounding?

hiding under the bed
I am NOT hiding under the bed. I’m…um…looking for dust bunnies.

With the smell of Halloween still in the air (that is chocolate on your hands, right?), it’s good time to ask you about the stories that thrill you the most.

Heart pounding. Heavy breathing. Laying awake at night, scenarios running through your head.

Be they action, thriller, disaster, suspense, horror or whatnot, which books, movies and/or tv shows get you going? Continue reading “What Gets Your Pulse Pounding?”

Tuesday Toss-Up

A Tale of Two Closers

How Does Major Crimes Sharon Raydor Stack up to The Closer Brenda Leigh Johnson?

The first season of TNT’s Major Crimes has wrapped and the question for The Closer fans is can we love Sharon the way we loved Brenda Leigh?

I’d venture to say “no” but for all the right reasons.

Buttoned-down Captain Sharon Raydor (Mary McDonnell) couldn’t be more different from spitfire Deputy Chief Brenda Leigh Johnson (Kyra Sedgwick) but they are identical in their passion for the mission, to protect the innocent and bring the guilty to justice. Continue reading “A Tale of Two Closers”

Killer Thursdays

Are You Ready for Fall Chills?

Fall is officially here. If the continued hot weather has you confused, just check out the sudden blossoming of Halloween decorations and candy displays in all the stores. Actually, the Halloween stuff’s probably been up since August. I’m expecting Thanksgiving stuff to start popping up by next week.

Anyway, it’s Fall and you know what that means…the return of some of our favorite tv shows. Dexter is already set up for a fascinating season and, in just about two weeks, American Horror Story and The Walking Dead are creeping back to tv screens everywhere.

Are you ready? Continue reading “Are You Ready for Fall Chills?”

Tuesday Toss-Up

How Much Should Be Left to the Imagination in Fiction?

Some time ago, I came across this TED video with J.J. Abrams talking about what drives his creativity.

He talks about the Mystery Box, the idea that what we don’t need to know every detail about a story to enjoy it. In fact it’s what’s left to the imagination that really makes the story. The monster we don’t see. The conversation we see but can’t overhear. The closed door. Continue reading “How Much Should Be Left to the Imagination in Fiction?”

Killer Thursdays

Mr. Popular: Do We Like Dexter Morgan Too Much?

If you’re just joining us, you can find more on Dexter in Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3 of this series .

Dexter Morgan is arguably one of the most fascinating, well-written characters in the history of fiction. In both his TV and novel incarnations, he draws us in, makes us care and terrifies us. And, whether we like him or not, we can’t help but want more of him.

If you just can’t get enough of Dexter, you can also shop for Dexter merchandise. Going out on the town but have nothing to wear? You can get the Official Dexter Kill Shirt. Keep your keys in style with the Dexter Blood Slide Key Chain. Got some *ahem* trash to take out? Try the Dexter Trash Bags. For the twisted kid in all of us, there’s the Dexter Action Figure. Continue reading “Mr. Popular: Do We Like Dexter Morgan Too Much?”

Parallel Tuesdays

Got Apocalypse?

Apocalypse?I have, in the past, admitted a predilection for both disaster and horror flicks. And since a good many movies from either of those genres fall into the apocalyptic and post-apocalyptic categories, it follows that I would also have a twisted obsession interest in apocalyptic and post-apocalyptic stories.

Just what is it about the apocalypse that makes (some of) our hearts go pitter patter?

I suspect it’s the same reason that disaster flicks and horror movies are so appealing. Giant odds and hope. Throw ordinary people into the worst possible situation and watch them rise to the occasion (or die trying).

And maybe we also love it because, on some level, we all worry about the end of everything. We wonder whether will survive. We wonder whether our loved ones will survive. And we hope there’s a hero inside of us instead of a monster. Continue reading “Got Apocalypse?”

Killer Thursdays

What Really Drives Dexter Morgan?

After six novels and six seasons on Showtime, Dexter is still one of the most fascinating fictional characters. The joy he takes in killing is monstrous, however vile his victims. Yet, we cannot help but be drawn in by Dexter’s dark, somewhat clumsy charm.

What is Dexter, exactly? And what drives him?

*originally posted 9/16/11, slightly modified and updated here*

*warning – the following contains spoilers from the first three Dexter novels. Given that the novels have been out for some time and the television show is approaching its 7th season, I doubt these spoilers will negatively impact your enjoyment of either. Still, you’ve been warned. ;)*

Driving Mr. Dexter

sharp knife bladeDexter Morgan. Forensic blood spatter analyst and friendly neighborhood serial killer.

What’s that you say? Friendly and serial killer in the same sentence? Indeed.

See, Dexter isn’t your average homicidal maniac. Oh no. Dexter is a cut above all the rest. Because Dexter only kills people who really, really deserve it.

No, really.

So you see, as long as you’re one of the good guys, you’re perfectly safe with Tall, Dark and Deadly Dexter.

Dexter Morgan is the (anti)hero created by author Jeff Lindsay and first appearing in the novel Darkly Dreaming Dexter. Since then, he has starred in Dearly Devoted Dexter, Dexter in the Dark, Dexter by DesignDexter is Delicious and Double Dexter (whew, that’s a whole lotta Dex). Darkly Dreaming Dexter also inspired six seasons of the Showtime series Dexter, with Dexter Morgan being portrayed by Michael C. Hall.

As the character of Dexter Morgan in the novel differs in a few very important ways from the character in the television show, we’ll restrict our Dexterish explorations to Novel Dexter for Part 1 of this series.

The novels are narrated in Dexter’s playful and often euphoric voice. He’s prone to Capitalizing A Lot and is almost as fond of alliteration and nicknames as he is of Bavarian cream filled doughnuts, medianoche sandwiches and badito de mame milkshakes.

By day, Dexter is a mild-mannered forensic blood spatter analyst for Miami’sblood spatter Metro-Dade Police Department. While he finds blood extremely disturbing for reasons he doesn’t understand until late in the first novel, he does enjoy making sense of blood spatter at a crime scene and forcing the “vile sticky red stuff” to “behave.”

By night, when  the moon calls and the Need rises, Dexter goes a-hunting. Once he finds the perfect “playmate,” Dexter waits in a white silk mask with a noose of fishing line which he uses to subdue his victims until he can tape them to a work table in a carefully arranged killing room. He then spends a few hours in “happy exploration” before disposing of the victim in various creative ways.

Bloody HandprintAlthough Dexter feels an irresistible Need to kill, he doesn’t do so randomly or haphazardly. He always selects his victims from among the worst murderers, especially those that the justice system cannot put away, is careful to confirm their guilt, and always tidies up afterward.

How did Dexter come by such a work ethic?

His cop foster-father Harry Morgan discovered Dexter’s dark penchant and quickly got him “squared away.” Harry Morgan, a good man and a good cop, saw the darkness in his foster son and realized that, although it wasn’t curable, it might be used as a force for good (if you can call murder, even Dexter’s brand of murder, good). Dexter calls the set of rules that define his murder ritual the Harry Code. And he never deviates.

Well, almost never.

But how did Dexter come by his dark Need in the first place?

When Dexter was very young, he witnessed the brutal slaying of his mother and several men in a refrigerated storage container. The murder involved a chainsaw and copious amounts of blood. Afterwards, Dexter and his brother Brian, older by one year, were left for days in a lake of blood an inch thick. Dexter was rescued by Officer Harry Morgan and later adopted by Harry and his wife Doris. Brian was abandoned to the foster system.

Although Dexter blocks it out (until his brother Brian returns and forces him to remember), the incident in the storage container killed most of what was human in Dexter and let in something  that Dexter calls the Dark Passenger. It left him with a Need to kill.

gargoyle dark passenger

The Dark Passenger is described as another voice inside of Dexter, a dark, reptilian voice that guides Dexter and prods him into killing. Dexter refers to “letting the Dark Passenger” drive and often uses “we” statements when he’s in the grip of his Need.

While it might at first seem like the Dark Passenger is just a figment of Dexter’s twisted imagination, a way of filling some of the emptiness inside himself and passing off some of the blame, it quickly becomes clear that the Dark Passenger is Other. Some of the cold killers Dexter encounters, including his nemesis Sargeant Doakes, carry their own Dark Passenger. Those Dark Passengers and Dexter’s respond to each other with a flurry of invisible black wings and not-heard hisses.

The third novel in the series, Dexter in the Dark, makes it even clearer that the Dark Passenger is a real and separate being and goes deeper into its mythology. The story, the only one in the series so far to not be narrated exclusively in Dexter’s voice, traces the Dark Passenger’s origin from the first IT through the development of a brutal religion surrounding a god called Moloch and into the present day where a being called the Watcher is trying to revive the worship of Moloch in all it’s child-sacrificing, Dark Passenger-eating, and burnt-offering glory.

Stay tuned for Part 2 of the Dexter Morgan series where we’ll delve into Dexter’s softer side…

Have you read the Dexter novels? What about the differences between Novel Dexter and TV Dexter? What do you think of the Dark Passenger?  Was Harry’s Code really the right solution for young Dexter?

***

Photo Credit
Knife blade by The Ewan, on Flickr CC BY-SA 2.0
blood spatter by Matt Allworth, on Flickr CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
Bloody Handprint by Jessica Howard, on Flickr CC BY-NC 2.0
Gargoyle by Scott Duncan, on Flickr CC BY-NC-ND 2.0