"Dexter" author offers latest tale of murder

Fri Sep 4, 2009 4:20pm EDT
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By Alex Dobuzinskis

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Author Jeff Lindsay found inspiration for a novel about a "good" serial killer in the fake smiles and insincere handshakes of people at a civic group meeting who, he thought, might want to kill each other.

What began as a dark idea for a novel has become a hit Showtime cable television drama called "Dexter" and a series of bestselling books about a forensics expert moonlighting as a serial killer. The fourth, "Dexter by Design," published by Random House, hits bookshelves this Tuesday.

In the late 1990s, Lindsay was at a Kiwanis Club meeting, a community service organization with chapters in many countries, giving a talk about writing, when he felt what could be described as fear and loathing, or at least loathing.

Attendees shared handshakes and compliments -- commonplace activity at a Kiwanis Club -- but Lindsay thought they were all insincere and jealous, and really wanted to do away with each other.

"The idea just popped into my head that serial murder isn't always necessarily a bad thing," said Lindsay, who lives in Florida.

He wrote notes on napkins and got home with the idea for a novel, what would be his first major success as a writer. But it took until 2004 to get "Darkly Dreaming Dexter" written and published, as Lindsay worked four odd jobs to pay the bills.

From the success of that first book sprang the hit cable TV show "Dexter," which first aired on the CBS Corp's Showtime network in 2006 with Michael C. Hall as the murderous antihero.

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