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‘Dexter Is Dead’ and author Jeff Lindsay is moving on

Author Jeff Lindsay
Hilary Hemingway

If you’re one of the thousands of die-hard fans of Dexter Morgan, vigilante serial killer, you may not be familiar with Jeff Lindsay; but you nevertheless owe him quite a lot.

Lindsay is the author of the original books from which the immensely popular Showtime series “Dexter” are based, and the creator of the series’ anti-hero. He spoke on “Cityscape” about Dexter’s final book, “Dexter Is Dead,” and about his experience as the author of its murderous but oddly beloved main character.

While Lindsay consulted for a while on the first season of Showtime’s spinoff (and snagged a brief role in the third), the “Dexter” TV show went its own way from the books before too long. The divergent plots didn’t bother Lindsay, who says he was luckier than other authors he knows whose work has made it to the screen. “The adaptation they did was very faithful in spirit, and very well done. So I got no complaints at all about Showtime.”

Lindsay is puzzled, however, by the fact that so many people like his character. In general, Dexter kills people who are themselves awful; but Lindsay says he often wonders, “What’s wrong with people? Because you should remember that he’s a bad guy, he’s a serial killer. And no one seems to get that.”

It seems, too, that some forget that Dexter Morgan is fictional. Lindsay told Don that he’s been threatened and harassed by readers and show-watchers unhappy with the end of the show or, inexplicably, with him—to the extent that “it makes me a little nervous from time to time.” But despite unwanted attention in that respect, he is happy with having ended the series and looking forward to next steps.

“I have a couple of things out there,” Lindsay said, acknowledging that despite a collaboration with Marvel Comics on Dexter graphic novels, “I’m still sort of at the ‘throw things at the wall and see if they stick’ phase.”

Lindsay also touched on differences in the publishing world since he began his series with “Darkly Dreaming Dexter” and has some unconventional advice for aspiring writers.

“I have two pieces of advice. The first is, don’t do it—find something else to waste your time on. And the second piece is, if you have to—which is the only excuse, if you can’t help it—learn to arc weld. Because you’re gonna have to have a semi-independent profession…to pay the rent until the unlikely event that lightning strikes and you can support yourself with writing. It’s a lot harder now.”

“Cityscape” is produced by Mary Edwards and Alex Heuer and sponsored in part by the MissouriArts Council, the Regional Arts Commission, and the Arts and Education Council of Greater St. Louis.