BOOK & BLOG
September 23, 2007
Book & Movie of the Week
Im reading the newest Jeff Lindsay Dexter book, DEXTER IN THE DARK. For those of you who havent read the previous two books or seen the series on Showtime, Dexter Morgan, Lindsays protagonist, is a serial killer who takes delight in his work. Dexter works in the Miami crime lab, since he comes from a law enforcement background; his foster father was a police officer who taught Dexter how to handle his homicidal tendencies, how to focus them in a way that benefits society. Dexter murders only other serial killers.
Dexter is careful to maintain his façade as a normal human being, but its all an act for him. However, life keeps happening to Dexter, and in IN THE DARK hes about to be married to the oblivious Rita, whose two little children know Dexter for what he really is.
After reading the first Dexter book (DARKLY DREAMING DEXTER) I wasnt sure Lindsay should attempt a follow-up. The danger that this wonderful character would be diluted really appalled me. But DEEPLY DEVOTED DEXTER was really good, if not quite as brilliant as DARKLY DREAMING. I could hardly wait to read the third installment. Theres even more trouble for Dexter, whos mostly moved into Ritas home. Dexter is trying to cope with the oncoming wedding, and Rita is deep into frantic bride mode. Then the most catastrophic event in Dexters inner life occurs; he loses his Dark Passenger, the killer part of himself. Dexter is in no way qualified to get through life as a regular human being. For the first time, he feels fear.
If you havent tried this series, you should at least dip into DARKLY DREAMING DEXTER to see if you can get into it. I am full of admiration for Lindsay every time I think of the concept.
Continuing in the bloodthirsty vein, I went to see EASTERN PROMISES. Its the Russian mobster movie with Viggo Mortensen and Naomi Watts. Warning: this movie is incredibly violent, and the violence is incredibly graphic. So have your stomach in the right place before you go.
The premise is that Watts, a midwife in a London hospital, retrieves the diary of a patient who dies after being brought in by ambulance from a pharmacy. The girl is very young, and the baby survives. Watts hopes to track the girls relations from the diary, so she tries to get her Russian immigrant uncle to translate it; but from a business card she finds in the diary, she approaches the owner of a Russian restaurant (played by Armin Mueller-Stahl, brilliantly) to see if he can identify the girl, whose name appears to be Tatiana. As it turns out, this is a huge mistake. The restaurant owner is a Russian mafia boss who is grooming his son to take a place in his empire. The sons driver, Nicolai, is played by Mortensen. Nicolai appears to be playing a deeper game than anyone imagines.
The script and the acting are really brilliant, and Mortensen and Mueller-Stahl definitely deserve Oscar nods for EASTERN PROMISES. The violence is really very shocking; especially the fight in a Russian bathhouse, in which Mortensen is naked and weaponless against two armed (and clothed) attackers.
This Book and Blog will have to serve for two weeks, since Im going to be traveling during the whole next week. Ill return home on October 1, exhausted. Thats a very safe prediction.
As those of you who follow my calendar know, Tuesday Ill be in Houston for the debut of AN ICE COLD GRAVE, the third Harper Connelly novel. Im very excited about this book; it was some hard work, and I hope that readers think the result was worth the effort. Murder by the Book is hosting one of their famous author luncheons for me, and if you really want a signed copy, you can order one from them; Ill be signing stock before the luncheon. As an added bonus, my friend Dean James (Jimmy Ruth Evans), the former store manager, will be introducing me at the luncheon, so Ill get to visit with him.
Directly from the store, I go to the airport to fly to Alaska for Bouchercon. I am really pumped about this Bouchercon. Not only have I never been to Alaska before, but thats where our middle child is stationed. I am really hoping to see him, if he can get a weekend pass. Ill be very disappointed if this doesnt happen, but I do have many friends coming to Alaska. I wont have a single moment that doesnt hold some fun.
For starters, Im getting the Crimespree magazine Reacher Award, which is both fun and flattering. Jon and Ruth Jordan, who run Crimespree, have made my year. Its the only award I know thats presented in a bar. More importantly, quite a few friends are up for Edgar awards this year; unfortunately, a flock of them are nominated for the SAME award, best short story. So I have to prepare a variety of faces. When Toni Kelner, Dana Cameron, Elaine Viets, and Bill Crider are all up, what do you do? And Dana is also nominated for best paper back original. Geez Louise. And in that category shes up against one of my favorite writers, Charlie Huston. Though I dont personally know Huston, I know almost all the other nominees in every category, and theres no safe line to tread . . . except to wish them all luck.
Itll take me about fourteen hours to get back from Alaska, so I dont expect to make much sense for a couple of days. Thats why Im begging off my Book & Blog next week. Ill try to touch base on this website, depending on the hotels wireless capabilities, and Ill let you know whats happening if I have some free time. Have a great week, and Ill be back.
© 2009 Charlaine Harris