Hot Best Seller

Red Dragon

Availability: Ready to download

A second family has been massacred by the terrifying serial killer the press has christened "The Tooth Fairy." Special Agent Jack Crawford turns to the one man who can help restart a failed investigation: Will Graham. Graham is the greatest profiler the FBI ever had, but the physical and mental scars of capturing Hannibal Lecter have caused Graham to go into early retireme A second family has been massacred by the terrifying serial killer the press has christened "The Tooth Fairy." Special Agent Jack Crawford turns to the one man who can help restart a failed investigation: Will Graham. Graham is the greatest profiler the FBI ever had, but the physical and mental scars of capturing Hannibal Lecter have caused Graham to go into early retirement. Now, Graham must turn to Lecter for help.


Compare

A second family has been massacred by the terrifying serial killer the press has christened "The Tooth Fairy." Special Agent Jack Crawford turns to the one man who can help restart a failed investigation: Will Graham. Graham is the greatest profiler the FBI ever had, but the physical and mental scars of capturing Hannibal Lecter have caused Graham to go into early retireme A second family has been massacred by the terrifying serial killer the press has christened "The Tooth Fairy." Special Agent Jack Crawford turns to the one man who can help restart a failed investigation: Will Graham. Graham is the greatest profiler the FBI ever had, but the physical and mental scars of capturing Hannibal Lecter have caused Graham to go into early retirement. Now, Graham must turn to Lecter for help.

30 review for Red Dragon

  1. 5 out of 5

    Kemper

    When it comes to Hannibal Lecter, I’m like one of those music hipster douche bags that everyone hates because I’ll snootily declare that I knew about him long before most people did and that he’s sucked ever since he got really famous. I’d read this years before the book of The Silence of the Lambs came out and led to the excellent film adaptation that skyrocketed Hannibal to the top of pop culture villains. Hell, I’m so Hannibal-hip that I’d caught Brian Cox playing him in Michael Mann’s adapta When it comes to Hannibal Lecter, I’m like one of those music hipster douche bags that everyone hates because I’ll snootily declare that I knew about him long before most people did and that he’s sucked ever since he got really famous. I’d read this years before the book of The Silence of the Lambs came out and led to the excellent film adaptation that skyrocketed Hannibal to the top of pop culture villains. Hell, I’m so Hannibal-hip that I’d caught Brian Cox playing him in Michael Mann’s adaptation Manhunter, and I didn’t just see it on VHS like all the other late-comers, I actually saw it in the theater. Twice! (I’m pretty sure this is the literary equivalent of claiming to have seen a band in a bar with eleven other people long before their first record deal.) So after Thomas Harris and Hollywood ran the character into the ground after the second movie, it’s been years of shaking my head and saying, “Man, nothing’s been the same since Anthony Hopkins gave his Oscar acceptance speech.” Since I felt like Harris was just cashing in and had pretty much ruined Hannibal in the process, I hadn’t felt the urge to revisit Red Dragon or The Silence of the Lambs in some time. I was more than skeptical about the NBC prequel TV series Hannibal, but great reviews and the involvement of Bryan Fuller got me to check it out. Not only has it been incredibly good and returned Hannibal Lecter to his creepy best, it’s clever use of events referenced as backstory in Red Dragon had me digging out my copy to refresh my memory. Even better, the show has given me a new appreciation for an old favorite and reminded me what I found compelling about it to begin with. Will Graham was a profiler for the FBI until he was badly injured while identifying a certain gourmet serial killer whose name conveniently rhymes with ‘cannibal’ which certainly made life easier for the people writing tabloid headlines. Will has retired to a happy new life with a wife and stepson in Florida until his old boss Jack Crawford comes calling and asks for help. There’s a brutal new killer dubbed the Tooth Fairy by the cops due to his habit of biting his victims. He’s killed two families after breaking into their homes and seems to be on schedule to do it again at the next full moon. Will is reluctant to come back not just because he’s already been gutted once by a madman. He also fears that trying to think like a mass murderer isn’t the best thing for his mental health. It turns out that his concerns are justified after a tabloid journalist essentially paints a target on his back for the Tooth Fairy. Even worse, Will has to confront the man who nearly killed him and being confined to a cell doesn’t mean that Dr. Lecter can’t still do some serious damage. Even as someone who was on the Hannibal bandwagon for a quarter of a century, it’s shocking to re-read this and realize how small of a part he actually plays in the story. Yes, he’s terrifying and his presence hangs over Will like a dark cloud, but he’s still a supporting player. Francis Dolarhyde (a/k/a The Red Dragon a/k/a The Tooth Fairy) may not have Hannibal’s culinary skills, but he’s one damn scary and slightly tragic villain while Will Graham makes for a damaged but compelling hero in the story. I think one of the things I love best is just how much time is spent on how Will thinks. As a man with extremely high levels of empathy and a vivid imagination, Will’s ability to put himself in someone else’s shoes is a gift and a curse. Thinking like deranged killers has left him questioning if he might not be one of them, and it spills over all his emotions like a toxic oil spill. By understanding their madness, Will can find the logic in their thinking, and it’s following that internal logic that allows Will to find the evidence they need. The breakthrough Will eventually makes is one of my all-time favorite examples of pure detection in the genre. It was in front of the reader the entire time, but it’s such an elegant solution that fits together so perfectly that Harris doesn’t have to engage in obscuring it with red herrings. As a thriller that led to countless rip-offs and even the eventual collapse of the franchise due to it’s own success, it’s been often imitated but rarely equaled. Check out my review of the Hannibal TV series at Shelf Inflicted. Cross posted at Kemper's Book Blog.

  2. 3 out of 5

    Ana

    “What made him do it, how was he crazy?” “He did it because he liked it. Still does. Dr. Lecter is not crazy, in any common way we think of being crazy. He did some hideous things because he enjoyed them. But he can function perfectly when he wants to.” Enjoyed it even more the second time! Let me break this down for you really quickly. Francis Dolarhyde goes a little cray-cray and thinks he is becoming the Red Dragon. Basically, he is going to take what is his with fire and blood. Err, somethin “What made him do it, how was he crazy?” “He did it because he liked it. Still does. Dr. Lecter is not crazy, in any common way we think of being crazy. He did some hideous things because he enjoyed them. But he can function perfectly when he wants to.” Enjoyed it even more the second time! Let me break this down for you really quickly. Francis Dolarhyde goes a little cray-cray and thinks he is becoming the Red Dragon. Basically, he is going to take what is his with fire and blood. Err, something like that. Will Graham is emo asf. Dr Lecter is just trolling everyone at this point. What's not to love? My only gripe however... is the ending. Ok, this isn't Disney. I get it. I wasn't expecting sunsets and flowers... but geez. Thomas Harris could have ended it on a lighter note. Will Graham deserved better than this. (view spoiler)[ Will is such a tragic character. He has been through so much. He deserves some happiness. In The Silence of the Lambs, Clarice indicates he's become an alcoholic living alone somewhere in the Florida Keys. Not the happy ending I had hoped for Will and Molly. How could you be so heartless, Thomas Harris? (hide spoiler)]

  3. 3 out of 5

    Karla

    WARNING: Shameless Hannibal fangirl GIFspam. Since I've become a fan of the TV show Hannibal, I thought it was appropo to re-read the book that inspired it. It's been years, and I'd forgotten practically everything about both the book and the Edward Norton/Ralph Fiennes movie. Even so, it wasn't like I was reading it fresh. Hannibal Lecter's become such a part of the pop culture that I had expectations, also intensified by the fact that Hannibal kicks total ass. (WATCH EEEEEET!) Comparing the show WARNING: Shameless Hannibal fangirl GIFspam. Since I've become a fan of the TV show Hannibal, I thought it was appropo to re-read the book that inspired it. It's been years, and I'd forgotten practically everything about both the book and the Edward Norton/Ralph Fiennes movie. Even so, it wasn't like I was reading it fresh. Hannibal Lecter's become such a part of the pop culture that I had expectations, also intensified by the fact that Hannibal kicks total ass. (WATCH EEEEEET!) Comparing the show to the novel was a lot of fun, because you can see the pieces that have been lifted, altered and paid homage to by Bryan Fuller & Co. Bits of dialogue, minor characters, etc. It's very much like fanfiction, probably one of the best examples I can name of something that has the "inspired by/adapted from/based on" label. Whereas the show focuses heavily on Will Graham and Hannibal Lecter, their intricate personalities and evolving (or devolving) relationship, the book's emphasis is on the serial killer, especially in the latter half. Lecter only has a couple scenes, and Graham wasn't nearly as interesting as how Hugh Dancy portrays him. I didn't get the same amount of happy happies from his snarky charm. Or feelz from his incredible angst. You're breaking my heart! D: Or the happy that is really screaming and dying inside: I could post Will!feelz all day* Instead of being tortured and tormented by his awful gift of empathy and making me want to corner the market on hugs so I can donate them all to the poor dear, book!Will came off as a bit of a snippy asshole with his wife (though she's not a big help) and somewhat of a typical detective on the scent who is clueless for far too long. (I wanted to yell at him to make the obvious connection of the home movies between the various victims.) But he was an engaging enough protagonist. And even though I was prepared for his general absence, I still really missed lots of face time with this glorious bastard. And stuff like this goes without saying: This'll definitely stay on my keeper shelf because the last half galloped along once Harris turned the plot's focus on to Francis Dolarhyde as a person instead of the killer in the background (and I had uninterrupted time to read and really get into the story - funny how that works). I got the sense that Harris felt he was the most interesting character and poured the story's emotion and understanding into creating him. I certainly felt like he was the deepest character out of the entire cast. Overall, I think what Red Dragon has inspired is generally better than the book itself as a whole, but it's still a very worthwhile read. 3 1/2 stars, closer to 4. * = All dedicated to Rachel, who made me see the beauty and addictiveness of Hugh!Will feelz. :D

  4. 4 out of 5

    Leo .

    Great book! The Zodiac Killer. Ross Sullivan. Maybe. Who knows? Just finished watching a documentary decoding the Zodiac Killer. A librarian, six foot two, two hundred and fifty pounds, very studious. A cryptologist. Bit of a loaner, very intelligent. Played cat and mouse with the FBI. No sexual motive. Shy around females. Left clues. Red Dragon. Francis Dolarhyde. The Tooth Fairy. A very tall man, worked in photography, bit of a loaner, very studious, very intelligent. Played cat and mouse with FB Great book! The Zodiac Killer. Ross Sullivan. Maybe. Who knows? Just finished watching a documentary decoding the Zodiac Killer. A librarian, six foot two, two hundred and fifty pounds, very studious. A cryptologist. Bit of a loaner, very intelligent. Played cat and mouse with the FBI. No sexual motive. Shy around females. Left clues. Red Dragon. Francis Dolarhyde. The Tooth Fairy. A very tall man, worked in photography, bit of a loaner, very studious, very intelligent. Played cat and mouse with FBI. No sexual motive. Shy around females. Put glass in their eyes. Left clues. Hmmmmmm! Interesting. Thomas Harris great researcher. Similarities? Maybe most serial killers fit this profile. Unassuming, and innocuous but, like wolves amongst sheep. Predators like tigers hunting in the woods.🐯👍 William Blake. 1757–1827   TIGER, tiger, burning bright  In the forests of the night,  What immortal hand or eye  Could frame thy fearful symmetry?   In what distant deeps or skies  Burnt the fire of thine eyes?  On what wings dare he aspire?  What the hand dare seize the fire?   And what shoulder and what art  Could twist the sinews of thy heart?   And when thy heart began to beat,  What dread hand and what dread feet?   What the hammer? what the chain?  In what furnace was thy brain?  What the anvil? What dread grasp   Dare its deadly terrors clasp?   When the stars threw down their spears,  And water'd heaven with their tears,  Did He smile His work to see?  Did He who made the lamb make thee?   Tiger, tiger, burning bright In the forests of the night,  What immortal hand or eye  Dare frame thy fearful symmetry? 

  5. 5 out of 5

    Alejandro

    Hannibal Lecter rises! This is the first novel about Dr. Hannibal Lecter, introducing the character. MINDS ALIKE You never know what path a novel will take, specially when this becomes the beginning of a book series. When you're reading you could think that Will Graham would be the "hero" of this book series, but the tremendous success of Dr. Hannibal Lecter, even before the filming of The Silence of the Lambs (based on the sequel book), it was clear that the "good guy" won't the "hero" of this Hannibal Lecter rises! This is the first novel about Dr. Hannibal Lecter, introducing the character. MINDS ALIKE You never know what path a novel will take, specially when this becomes the beginning of a book series. When you're reading you could think that Will Graham would be the "hero" of this book series, but the tremendous success of Dr. Hannibal Lecter, even before the filming of The Silence of the Lambs (based on the sequel book), it was clear that the "good guy" won't the "hero" of this book series but... ...the Bad Guy! And you won't find badder guy than Dr. Hannibal Lecter, since he isn't just a psychopath, but he's a psychiatrist, therefore he knows all the tricks that criminal profilers do, and he knows all the tricks of the psychologists whom try to treat him... ...oh, and if that wasn't enough... ...he eats his victims, with the best cuisine techniques! How, Will Graham, special investigator of the FBI was able to catch him? That's where things got creepy... ...since Will Graham thinks too much alike as Lecter. To catch a madman, you need a madman. And the worse of that? When the madman needs the help of the other madman. That's where things get creepier... ...and bloodier!!! EVIL KNOWS EVIL Will Graham got three dangeours serial killers, including the infamous Dr. Hannibal Lecter... ...but at a great cost... ...so he decided to leave all that behind and having a quiet life with his family. But evil never takes vacations... ...the Tooth Fairy, a new and twisted serial killer rises and entire families are paying the price. Special Agent Jack Crawford, in charge of the Behavioral Science Unit of the FBI, knows that the Tooth Fairy not only is something out of the regular serial killers, but also it's on a bloody spree, so there's little time to avoid more massacres... ...so he needs to call again Will Graham. Nobody can gets into the minds of serial killers like Graham. However, since the Tooth Fairy is a menace racing against time... ...Will Graham needs to get into contact of Dr. Hannibal Lecter to ask for his help in the case... ...the game is on again... ...and Dr. Hannibal Lecter enjoys to play!

  6. 3 out of 5

    Stephanie *Very Stable Genius*

    Now that I’ve just finished reading this book, I feel the need to scrub parts of my brain with steel wool for the purpose of removing certain scenes that Thomas Harris has so rudely embedded there. Thanks a bunch Tom! Will Graham has the rotten luck at being really good at his job. He is a profiler for the FBI and while he was on the job catching Dr. Hannibal Lecter, Lecter caught him with a big sharp knife. Will decides that was enough for him, so he makes the wise decision to retire. But nooo! Now that I’ve just finished reading this book, I feel the need to scrub parts of my brain with steel wool for the purpose of removing certain scenes that Thomas Harris has so rudely embedded there. Thanks a bunch Tom! Will Graham has the rotten luck at being really good at his job. He is a profiler for the FBI and while he was on the job catching Dr. Hannibal Lecter, Lecter caught him with a big sharp knife. Will decides that was enough for him, so he makes the wise decision to retire. But nooo! Jack Crawford, Will’s former boss, shows up at his house asking for help on a new case of a new serial killer dubbed the Tooth Fairy, because the creep likes to bite his victims. Here’s how the conversation goes between the two, broken down to its simplest form. Jack: Hey I need your help with a case because you’re the best at what you do. Will: But I don’t want to on account I was nearly gutted last time I helped you. Jack: But you’re really good at your job. Will: Okay…..since you put it that way, I’ll help. Francis Dolarhyde, or the Tooth Fairy/the Dragon, had a pretty awful childhood (to put it mildly.) Born to a mother who rejects him because of a deformity, a hare lip, then raised by a sadistic grandmother who adopts him for the sole purpose to get revenge on her daughter (not because she loves the boy). As a result of growing devoid of all love, he turns out a little off. Surprise!! Where Dolarhyde has no empathy, Will has too much. This is what makes him a good profiler; he is able to almost ‘become’ the person he is hunting, to understand them. “Graham had a lot of trouble with taste. Often his thoughts were not tasty. There were no effective partitions in his mind. What he saw and learned touched everything else he knew. Some of the combinations were hard to live with. But he could not anticipate them, could not block and repress. His learned values of decency and propriety tagged along, shocked at his associations, appalled at his dreams; sorry that in the bone arena of his skull there were no forts for what he loved. His associations came at the speed of light. His value judgments were at the pace of a responsive reading. They could never keep up and direct his thinking. He viewed his own mentality as grotesque but useful, like a chair made of antlers. There was nothing he could do about it.” That’s pretty dark stuff to deal with and still fight to maintain sanity. When all was said and done I suppose I ‘enjoyed’ this book. But yet I didn’t enjoy it at all. It was very well done……it kept my attention throughout, but I don’t think this type of book is all that good for me. While I love dark books, I seem to need them to be a bit fanciful…….not of the real world. All the stuff that happens in the real world is depressing enough, bombings, school shootings, and kids shooting other kids to death, I feel the need to escape from that. Books like this are just more of that. Oddly enough though, I think the new TV show is fantastic. I now am reading a book about the Tao de Ching (that has an unfortunate title) hoping it will clean up my brain…….. Also posted on Shelfinflicted

  7. 5 out of 5

    7jane

    In which Jack Crawford thinks it's a good idea to get help from Will Graham in a 'just one more case' style. A serial killed, named 'the Tooth Fairy' (at first) has killed two families, and he's asking Graham's help in finding the killer before he strikes again. Some help comes from the killer Graham caught before, one named Hannibal Lecter (this is not the novel where he shows up a lot, but I can see how he became popular already from here). I have seen the older movie of this book, though I don In which Jack Crawford thinks it's a good idea to get help from Will Graham in a 'just one more case' style. A serial killed, named 'the Tooth Fairy' (at first) has killed two families, and he's asking Graham's help in finding the killer before he strikes again. Some help comes from the killer Graham caught before, one named Hannibal Lecter (this is not the novel where he shows up a lot, but I can see how he became popular already from here). I have seen the older movie of this book, though I don't remember much (apart from what happens with certain Lounds person and his (view spoiler)[horrific death, which is pretty much as it was in the movie (hide spoiler)] ). The killer appears properly the first time in chapter 9, but some things point already at his killer-name: the red fingerprint powder - "Dragon's Blood" and the (view spoiler)[carved sign the killer got from his grandmother's Mah Johngg piece - Red Dragon (hide spoiler)] . The name also shows up in two other things later: the name of(view spoiler)[ a firework in Hong Kong: 'The Dragon Sows His Pearls', and of course in the painting that inspired our killer, who then also gets a huge back tattoo of it on himself - painting later eaten by him *nomnom* (hide spoiler)] . I also found it a bit funny when the killer visited the museum in (view spoiler)[New York to get to the painting: there he briefly in a dark place saw a picture of George Washington and thought he was looking at the portrait of his grandmother (hide spoiler)] !! XD But I'll try not to get stuck in details here... I think the story flowed very well. A few surprise turns, a good use of practiced skills. There was also a few things that stuck in my mind, things that make this book more than 'hunt the serial killer': I found the fate of Will Graham tragic. I'm sure that even if Crawford wouldn't have contacted him for this he would've gone down the same path, though more gradually. Now he just (view spoiler)[ends up losing the people he's attached to, and losing the battle with drinking, very quickly, due to the killer's last attack. I have read that Crawford felt much regret about the whole thing. (hide spoiler)] . The whole things is thus also horror of this. Much better story than I expected. The point of time shows in some things, like the obvious communication ways, but also in the asbestos suits of firemen (asbestos! but this was 70s/80s point of time). On the other hand the character of Reba McClane is such a positive sight: even after all that's happened, I think she will believe Crawford's supporting advice (and I hope her later life was happier). I liked her a lot. This is a quick-flowing story, a tragic story, and a certain will think about it for a long time. And it will certainly be reread at some point, again. :)

  8. 4 out of 5

    Ahmad Sharabiani

    Red Dragon (Hannibal Lecter #1), Thomas Harris عنوانها: اژدهای سرخ، پیش از داستان سکوت بره ها؛ نویسنده: توماس هریس؛ تاریخ نخستین خوانش: بیست و هفتم دسامبر سال 1997 میلادی عنوان: اژدهای سرخ، نویسنده: توماس هریس؛ مترجم: فرهاد بدری زاده؛ تهران، نشر چکاوک؛ 1374؛ در 621 ص؛ چاپ دوم 1377؛ شابک: 9646043054؛ چاپ سوم 1388؛ شابک: 978964604353؛ چاپ دیگر: تهران، زرین کلک؛ 1379؛ در 621 ص؛ شابک: ایکس - 964917043؛ موضوع: داستانهای نویسندگان امریکایی - قرن 20 م عنوان: اژدهای سرخ، نویسنده: توماس هریس؛ مترجم: سهیل صف Red Dragon (Hannibal Lecter #1), Thomas Harris عنوانها: اژدهای سرخ، پیش از داستان سکوت بره ها؛ نویسنده: توماس هریس؛ تاریخ نخستین خوانش: بیست و هفتم دسامبر سال 1997 میلادی عنوان: اژدهای سرخ، نویسنده: توماس هریس؛ مترجم: فرهاد بدری زاده؛ تهران، نشر چکاوک؛ 1374؛ در 621 ص؛ چاپ دوم 1377؛ شابک: 9646043054؛ چاپ سوم 1388؛ شابک: 978964604353؛ چاپ دیگر: تهران، زرین کلک؛ 1379؛ در 621 ص؛ شابک: ایکس - 964917043؛ موضوع: داستانهای نویسندگان امریکایی - قرن 20 م عنوان: اژدهای سرخ، نویسنده: توماس هریس؛ مترجم: سهیل صفاری؛ تهران، نشر دایره، 1388؛ در 549 ص؛ شابک: 9789646839977؛ عنوان دیگر: پیش از داستان سکوت بره ها؛ داستان اژدهای سرخ داستان قاتل روانی به نام: فرانسیس دلارهاید؛ با گرایش‌های سرکوب شده ی همجنسگرایانه است؛ که در یک مؤسسه ظهور فیلم در سنت لوییس آمریکا مشغول به کار است؛ و به واسطه ی شغلش به فیلمهای خانگی که از نقاط مختلف آمریکا برای آنجا ارسال می‌شود دسترسی داشته و از آن طریق قربانیان خود را انتخاب می‌کند. او در جنایات خود با تصویر اژدهایی در یکی از آثار: ویلیام بلیک، شاعر و نقاش آمریکایی قرن 18 میلادی به نام (اژدهای سرخ کبیر و زن ژنده پوش) همزاد پنداری کرده، و اینگونه به خود تلقین می‌کند، که قربانیان در حقیقت توسط اژدها انتخاب و به تعالی می‌رسند. او در هنگام تولد با نقص زایشی لب شکری، و نداشتن سقف دهان به این دنیا آمده، و مادرش در بیمارستان او را رها کرده، و تا سن پنج سالگی که سرپرستی او را مادربزرگ مادرش میپذیرد، در نوانخانه‌ ای زندگی کرده، و به خاطر نقص جسمی که داشته مورد تمسخر و آزار و اذیت دیگران بوده. داستان اژدهای سرخ در ابتدا با حضور دو مأمور اف‌.بی‌.آی. آغاز می‌شود. ادامه داستان اژدهای سرخ را در کتابهای: سکوت بره ها؛ و سپس در کتاب هانیبال بخوانید. ا. شربیانی

  9. 3 out of 5

    Brad

    Is it heresy to say that I liked both film versions better than I liked the book? Probably, but it's true. Thomas Harris isn't the finest writer in the world, and I think even he'd acknowledge that, but he is full of great ideas, and Red Dragon is absolutely one of his best. I think the mark of how great his ideas are is that they almost always make a compelling transfer to the screen, and Red Dragon has made that transition twice: once as Michael Mann's Manhunter and once as the more faithful Re Is it heresy to say that I liked both film versions better than I liked the book? Probably, but it's true. Thomas Harris isn't the finest writer in the world, and I think even he'd acknowledge that, but he is full of great ideas, and Red Dragon is absolutely one of his best. I think the mark of how great his ideas are is that they almost always make a compelling transfer to the screen, and Red Dragon has made that transition twice: once as Michael Mann's Manhunter and once as the more faithful Red Dragon. Each film provides a different take on Harris' most famous character, Hannibal Lecter, both films provide a chilling effect on the viewer's emotions, and both films offer up a frightening -- though very different -- Francis Dolarhyde. Harris' writing is cinematic in structure and quality, making his books easy to transfer to the screen. Characters, settings and even action can be dropped or rolled into others or completely altered without harming the telling of the tale. Much of this is about the mood Harris creates. There is an underlying suspense and oppression in his books that gives a screen writer or director a sound compass for adaptation, allowing him/her to do justice to a Harris book by maintaining the spirit of the story -- no matter what changes are required by the shift to cinema. Still, as a novel Red Dragon is merely enjoyable. A rather twisted and macabre diversion, but a diversion nonetheless. It is one of those late night, make you uncomfortable reads, or a dreary, rainy, wish you were at the beach reads. There is much to like in Red Dragon, but it is essentially high end pulp, which is a good thing. And more than enough to recommend it to anyone who likes something a little twisted, with just a hint of the anti-hero.

  10. 3 out of 5

    Amelia

    Amazing, as always!

  11. 5 out of 5

    Erin

    I was a huge fan of the underrated & underappreciated tv show Hannibal. Which served as a prequel to the Hannibal Lecter series. It explored the relationship between Will Graham an F.B.I. profiler and Dr. Hannibal Lecter the gentleman cannibal & serial killer. I loved the cat & mouse game between the two, it a much more fascinating and complex relationship than the more famous relationship between Hannibal & Clarice Starling. I hadn't watched the movie version of Red Dragon(the o I was a huge fan of the underrated & underappreciated tv show Hannibal. Which served as a prequel to the Hannibal Lecter series. It explored the relationship between Will Graham an F.B.I. profiler and Dr. Hannibal Lecter the gentleman cannibal & serial killer. I loved the cat & mouse game between the two, it a much more fascinating and complex relationship than the more famous relationship between Hannibal & Clarice Starling. I hadn't watched the movie version of Red Dragon(the one named Red Dragon, not the earlier movie named Mindhunter) until a couple months ago. The movie stays pretty close to book although I did picture the tv version of Will Graham and of course Anthony Hopkins as Lecter. Red Dragon is the novel that introduced us to the iconic character Hannibal Lecter. The only problem I had with this book is there wasn't enough Lecter. This book is fantastically written. I've read other reviews that disliked The Tooth Fairy(I'm calling him that because he would hate it) grandmother subplot but I like it when the villains background is fleshed out. I will let you know that I thought the book lost steam at the 300 page count but it finished strong. P.S. If you get a chance Google The New York Times reviews of the book written by Christopher Lehmann, its a weird a different take on book. Apparently he felt the author is making fun of Liberals and doesn't take childhood trauma serious. Its a funny read. I would recommend Red Dragon to fans of the movie The Silence of the Lambs and readers who love a twisted villain.

  12. 3 out of 5

    Benjamin Stahl

    I think I recall Stephen King - or somebody - once writing that Thomas Harris could tell a great story, but that he was a terrible writer. When I began this book, I could not agree more. Things start off very slowly, and the book's thriller/suspense engine seems to be running flat. The villain (can we really call him a "villain" though?) is the only character that feels at all interesting - and I guess Hannibal is good, but I prefer the Hopkins version in the films. But after a little while, if I think I recall Stephen King - or somebody - once writing that Thomas Harris could tell a great story, but that he was a terrible writer. When I began this book, I could not agree more. Things start off very slowly, and the book's thriller/suspense engine seems to be running flat. The villain (can we really call him a "villain" though?) is the only character that feels at all interesting - and I guess Hannibal is good, but I prefer the Hopkins version in the films. But after a little while, if you manage to hold on and wage through the tedious openings and uninteresting back-story, 'Red Dragon' does eventually come together, and although it isn't the best thriller I have read (I think Peter Straub's "Koko" would come under that title)it does certainly pull you into it, enough so that the lackadaisical prose and occasional overflow of pointless descriptions, does become less noticeable, and you find yourself eager to see how everything turns out. Perhaps I should mention, in respect to this book, that I had already seen (and loved) the movie many times, but nevertheless I was quite immersed into the storyline anyway. So that's my rating: not the greatest novel, not particularly memorable, but rather good fun nonetheless...

  13. 4 out of 5

    Ashish Iyer

    Mine is a late entry into the world of Hannibal Lecter, and I regret it, but better late than never. Brilliant narration from Thomas Harris, kept me on the edge. I was fervently perusing the pages, hoping against hope that the Tooth Fairy, pardon me, Dragon, would not hunt down Graham. The pacing was perfect and never for a moment did Harris digress from the plot and neither it lead to the dreary repetition of psychological/crime thrillers. Eagerly looking forward to read the rest of the novels i Mine is a late entry into the world of Hannibal Lecter, and I regret it, but better late than never. Brilliant narration from Thomas Harris, kept me on the edge. I was fervently perusing the pages, hoping against hope that the Tooth Fairy, pardon me, Dragon, would not hunt down Graham. The pacing was perfect and never for a moment did Harris digress from the plot and neither it lead to the dreary repetition of psychological/crime thrillers. Eagerly looking forward to read the rest of the novels in the series. Must Read.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Edward Lorn

    I read Red Dragon over a decade ago, and, while I have no need to reread it (I remember every little cringe-inducing detail), it has popped up on my 17 Books for People Who Hate People Reading Challenge. So here's a review. I don't think there's a single bad thing to be said about Red Dragon. It's one of the only thrillers that ever truly scared me. The killer and his "becoming" has stayed with me for ten-plus years, and I firmly believe it's the best book in the Hannibal Lecter series. Silence o I read Red Dragon over a decade ago, and, while I have no need to reread it (I remember every little cringe-inducing detail), it has popped up on my 17 Books for People Who Hate People Reading Challenge. So here's a review. I don't think there's a single bad thing to be said about Red Dragon. It's one of the only thrillers that ever truly scared me. The killer and his "becoming" has stayed with me for ten-plus years, and I firmly believe it's the best book in the Hannibal Lecter series. Silence of the Lambs is tame by comparison, and Hannibal left me wanting. It left me wanting so much that I refused to read the final book, Hannibal Rising. In summation: One of the best thrillers I've read, and better than future books in the series. High recommended. Final Judgment: Lip-smacking good.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Erin ☕ *Proud Book Hoarder*

    Meet Will Graham, the man known as the one who finally nabbed the infamous Hannibal Lecter, coined Hannibal the Cannibal by the press and public. Almost killed in that line of glory, he has taken to retirement - a peaceful existence with woman, child, and beachfront. Crawford comes in to stir up the happy home, convincing Will to come into the dark shadows one more time so that he can nab a new killer. After overdosing on the show Hannibal for two weeks, I was excited to dig into this book, hopin Meet Will Graham, the man known as the one who finally nabbed the infamous Hannibal Lecter, coined Hannibal the Cannibal by the press and public. Almost killed in that line of glory, he has taken to retirement - a peaceful existence with woman, child, and beachfront. Crawford comes in to stir up the happy home, convincing Will to come into the dark shadows one more time so that he can nab a new killer. After overdosing on the show Hannibal for two weeks, I was excited to dig into this book, hoping it would tell some of the back story the show dishes out. The opposite is true, as Red Dragon is after the events of Lecter being caught, with the forensics specialist Will using his grey cells to hunt down another dangerous madman. When I saw this, I was hoping for a similar psychological warfare play like in Silence of the Lambs but, alas, Will and Hannibal only meet face-to-face one mere time. The main character in this book is the serial killer known as The Red Dragon. Will is the second focus, digging into the head of the man who caught Hannibal Lecter and who has agreed to come out of retirement one more time. Very little focus is on Lecter; he's in the background sometimes, with few actual scenes. We are in his head one small glimpse. The Red Dragon didn't grab me much as that interesting at first, but his morbid history and insanity slowly grew on me, especially when Harris finally dug into his pitiful past and why he started becoming what he became. While at first he seemed like any other serial killer, after the revelation of his childhood, it's shown how shattered his mind really is. Harris added different twists when he introduces a woman into the fray; it was a nifty touch and lifted it from being just another serial killer, madman tale into something a little bit more. The ending was a small surprise. Will is interesting and I do wish he didn't disappear from the book series. After seeing the show, though, I realize how little was actually done with him in this book, more of a small whisper of what could have been. Potential the character holds is solid. Since the story is focusing mainly on the twisted tale of another killer, it makes sense that he is here mainly as a tool to be utilized in that capture, his own psychological crumbling only a side serving. While I would have been more intrigued if he was made a bigger focus, it obviously wasn't what Harris intended. Violent and brutal, the book holds enough intensity to stay steadily paced. It's interesting, although not fascinating, for serial killers stories aren't really my thing. I like the bizarre and unusual more - The Red Dragon is completely unusual, but not in a way that typically draws me. Will is slightly layered, but there is more there that only hints at being explored. Lecter is creepy and twisted, recycling a lot of the same already seen in Silence of the Lambs (punishments at the hospital, mentions of him being unable to be tested), so it was interesting like before but nothing new was offered. Not the best in the series, but intelligent and worth reading.

  16. 3 out of 5

    Alex ☣ Deranged KittyCat ☣

    Once upon a time, there was a little girl who saw The Silence of the Lambs. I don't know what her parents were thinking letting her watch such a movie, but she never forgot the opening scene, with Clarice running. She did not have the stomach to watch the more gruesome scenes, and I don't blame her. She wasn't even 10 (seriously, she has some effed up parents). But the little girl grew into a deranged teenager who fell in love with Hannibal Lecter. So she read everything she could about him. But Once upon a time, there was a little girl who saw The Silence of the Lambs. I don't know what her parents were thinking letting her watch such a movie, but she never forgot the opening scene, with Clarice running. She did not have the stomach to watch the more gruesome scenes, and I don't blame her. She wasn't even 10 (seriously, she has some effed up parents). But the little girl grew into a deranged teenager who fell in love with Hannibal Lecter. So she read everything she could about him. But enough of that. I'm fascinated with the criminally insane. Make them a a highly intelligent and charismatic gentleman who only eats the rude and I melt. Don't get me wrong. I fell a little for Francis Dolarhyde, too. I mean there's Francis, a tormented soul with a hot body who falls in love for the first time in his life. And when I say love I'm not talking about Love, but the true feeling, the one that makes him fight his madness a little. I even found myself rooting for him and Reba.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Cody | codysbookshelf

    Like a poisonous snake on the attack, this novel bites again and again and again, leaving its victim shaken and disturbed. I am somehow one of the only people in the known universe who had never read anything by Thomas Harris — I’ve remedied that, and am now moving on to this book’s follow-up, Silence of the Lambs. Hard case mystery and bloody tale of the macabre in equal measure, Harris explores the sociopathic psychology without fear or hesitation: Frances Dolarhyde and Dr. Hannibal Lecter com Like a poisonous snake on the attack, this novel bites again and again and again, leaving its victim shaken and disturbed. I am somehow one of the only people in the known universe who had never read anything by Thomas Harris — I’ve remedied that, and am now moving on to this book’s follow-up, Silence of the Lambs. Hard case mystery and bloody tale of the macabre in equal measure, Harris explores the sociopathic psychology without fear or hesitation: Frances Dolarhyde and Dr. Hannibal Lecter come alive in a way that is all too rare in modern fiction. And this novel’s protagonist, troubled investigator Will Graham, is fully fleshed out — his attempts at overcoming his past are heartbreaking and intoxicating. One of the scariest books I’ve ever read, Red Dragon left me feeling throttled in a way dark fiction hasn’t made me feel in some time. This is worthy of all the praise it has received since its release in 1981. This one will stay with me for quite a while.

  18. 5 out of 5

    David - proud Gleeman in Branwen's adventuring party

    Most people were introduced to Dr. Hannibal Lecter by the "Silence of the Lambs" movie, but Lecter's legacy really began with this novel, and it's still my favorite of the series. A book that manages to be terrifying not through gore or supernatural occurrences, but simply by exploring the fractured minds of the criminally insane. People who only saw the Red Dragon movie and didn't read this yet should be warned in advance that Hannibal Lecter has little more than a cameo appearance in this nove Most people were introduced to Dr. Hannibal Lecter by the "Silence of the Lambs" movie, but Lecter's legacy really began with this novel, and it's still my favorite of the series. A book that manages to be terrifying not through gore or supernatural occurrences, but simply by exploring the fractured minds of the criminally insane. People who only saw the Red Dragon movie and didn't read this yet should be warned in advance that Hannibal Lecter has little more than a cameo appearance in this novel...the focus is definitely reserved for the bizarre "Red Dragon" killer and the man trying to catch him. Still, you won't be disappointed, as this book is an amazing read. Will Graham is so haunted, that he becomes far more fascinating and sympathetic than the usual protagonist. And the killer is so disturbing yet so mesmerizing, that the only thing worse than continuing to read more about him would be to NOT continue to read about him! The Hannibal Lecter movies featuring Anthony Hopkins were amazing, but for me, this book still trumps then all.

  19. 4 out of 5

    *TANYA*

    Really good, I should have gotten to this book sooner.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Willow

    I have been avoiding Thomas Harris’ books for years because I thought they would be too gruesome. But really, this book isn’t bad at all. Red Dragon starts out as a mystery, turns into a character study, and then ends up as kind of a thriller. I think Harris has kind of a ghoulish sense of humor which probably comes out the most in Hannibal Lector. Yet if you’re looking for Hannibal, he barely makes an appearance in this. Mostly the book about is about a very sympathetic serial killer (isn’t tha I have been avoiding Thomas Harris’ books for years because I thought they would be too gruesome. But really, this book isn’t bad at all. Red Dragon starts out as a mystery, turns into a character study, and then ends up as kind of a thriller. I think Harris has kind of a ghoulish sense of humor which probably comes out the most in Hannibal Lector. Yet if you’re looking for Hannibal, he barely makes an appearance in this. Mostly the book about is about a very sympathetic serial killer (isn’t that an oxymoron?) who kills families. Poor Francis had such a hellish childhood, I couldn’t help but feel sorry for him. Ralph Fiennes really nailed him in the movie too. I also felt a certain sympathy for Will Graham (who is haunted by his past) but I think a lot of it comes from the tortured performance of Hugh Dancy from the TV show, Hannibal. Karla said Hannibal was like Red Dragon fanfiction, and I think she’s right. All the characters from the show are there, they’ve just been altered a little bit. It was actually quite fun to see the differences. I think the show captures the tone and the feel of Red Dragon, but it’s left out some of the humor, which probably makes it too serious. (I still love the show.) Red Dragon seemed noticeably dated to me. Little things like Will’s wife, Molly, saving one stocking so she can put it with the other surprised me. I was thinking, huh? Women still wore guarder belts in 1981? I actually don’t think they did, unless they were doing a striptease. Francis’ memories seem really old too, with him talking about riding a horse and cart. I get the feeling that Harris had been working on Red Dragon for a long time, consequently the book has an older feel than the time period it was released. I enjoyed it though. I’m going to give Red Dragon 3 ½ stars. I think this series has become more than what it originally was, which is pretty cool. EDIT: Okay, I read the stocking part wrong. I thought if you cut off the leg to a pair of pantyhose, the only way you could wear them was by using a garter belt. I have now discovered though I was wrong. You can wear two pairs of pantyhose, each with a cut off leg. Eeeek! That’s so uncomfortable! I still think if Molly has enough time to wash them and hang them out, she’s got enough time to run to the store a buy a new pair? What's the problem? Is Will a tightwad?

  21. 4 out of 5

    Melissa Chung

    Well, I finished a day early. Gave myself a week to read this. 50 pages before the end, they got the guy and I knew there was no way I'd be able to go to sleep tonight not knowing. So, I read tomorrow's reading. I'll have to catch up with my other books, but it was so worth it. This book was a solid 4 stars. I'm not sure why it's not a 5, maybe it's because as a crime novel goes...I've read all of this before. However, I'm sure glad I finally started this series. Red Dragon is about two main char Well, I finished a day early. Gave myself a week to read this. 50 pages before the end, they got the guy and I knew there was no way I'd be able to go to sleep tonight not knowing. So, I read tomorrow's reading. I'll have to catch up with my other books, but it was so worth it. This book was a solid 4 stars. I'm not sure why it's not a 5, maybe it's because as a crime novel goes...I've read all of this before. However, I'm sure glad I finally started this series. Red Dragon is about two main characters. The protagonist, Will Graham and the antagonist, Francis Dolarhyde. Will used to be be a detective, he also worked for the F.B.I. as a consultant on profiling. He was able to see what the killer would do next. When Will learns about the murders, he is living in Florida, fixing boat motors and is retired. He gets a visit from an old friend asking for help in a new case. The big wigs got nothing and they NEED Graham to come and figure out who this guy is. The story goes from there. It's your typical murder investigation. Follow the evidence, locate the monster, solve the crime. Most murderers have a reason for why they kill and in Francis Dolarhyde's case it makes sense why he is the way he is. Although, we know what triggered his dark side, it was strange what maintained his evil ways. I found that to be the most interesting. There is a foreward in my copy of Red Dragon written by the author Thomas Harris. I liked that he discusses Will and Dr. Lector as real people. How he had to finally see this thing through. He didn't know what was going to happen in the middle of the book without letting them drive the story. Fascinating how authors work their stories out. Dr. Lector is touched upon in this book. He shows up and creates mischief and then is pushed aside. I can not wait to read the sequel "Silence of the Lambs". I have of course seen the movie many times and I know Dr. Lector is in the film quite a bit, so I'm looking forward to reading more about what makes him tick.

  22. 5 out of 5

    James Hartley

    A good, solid thriller -a little over-cooked in places but I love it for the character of Will Crawford and his double-edged-sword ability to be able to put himself in the mind of the psychos and criminals he is tracking. Reading this years ago (I remember where, Aix-en-Provence, France, was reminded of the place as I re-read), I loved the character and the treatment of his "gift". This time was just the same - although I found the book as a whole less convincing. Was interesting to see Lecter a A good, solid thriller -a little over-cooked in places but I love it for the character of Will Crawford and his double-edged-sword ability to be able to put himself in the mind of the psychos and criminals he is tracking. Reading this years ago (I remember where, Aix-en-Provence, France, was reminded of the place as I re-read), I loved the character and the treatment of his "gift". This time was just the same - although I found the book as a whole less convincing. Was interesting to see Lecter again - and some of the scenes are brilliantly wrought, but between that first and this reading I saw the so-so film and found it hard to conjure up my own images for the text. Finally: What the hell happened to Harris? Silence was great but Hannibal and Hannibal Rising are pitiful.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Wilier

    El mejor libro policíaco que he leído. La participación de Lecter es muy buena, el hada de los dientes no es nada fácil de atrapar es muy inteligente y astuto. Me encantó de principio a fin, uno de mis libros favoritos de siempre.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Elena

    Insane. And that's exactly why I loved it. Off to the next one.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Vanessa

    3.5 stars. I'm so glad I finally got around to reading some Thomas Harris, because I thoroughly enjoyed Red Dragon, the first in the famous Hannibal Lecter series. I was already somewhat familiar with the plot, having seen the film adaptation Manhunter many years ago, but as I knew it wasn't wholly loyal to the source text, I knew this was going to have to be a must-read. It took me a little while to get into this book, if I'm being completely honest. Thomas Harris clearly researches his subjects 3.5 stars. I'm so glad I finally got around to reading some Thomas Harris, because I thoroughly enjoyed Red Dragon, the first in the famous Hannibal Lecter series. I was already somewhat familiar with the plot, having seen the film adaptation Manhunter many years ago, but as I knew it wasn't wholly loyal to the source text, I knew this was going to have to be a must-read. It took me a little while to get into this book, if I'm being completely honest. Thomas Harris clearly researches his subjects well, and having had prior experience as a journalist covering the police beat for a local newspaper, he was obviously familiar with police procedural work. And there is a lot of that in this book. Once I got used to the more technical language, and the descriptions of forensic procedures, I was into it. Will Graham, the main protagonist, isn't the easiest person to get into the head of. He is very serious, very brooding, and is borderline obsessive about the serial killer subjects he follows. However, it was really interesting to see his thought processes develop, and how he pieced pictures of the puzzle together. However, the highlights of this book are of course the sections with Hannibal Lecter himself, and also of Francis Dolarhyde, the Red Dragon. Following, and getting in the mindset of the serial killers themselves was fascinating, and there were some truly brutal moments in this book, particularly with Dolarhyde himself. The background into his childhood was really interesting and definitely helped to flesh out his character a lot more. I did find that the ending was a little too rushed for my liking, and wasn't quite as exciting as I was hoping it would be, but Harris was brilliant at maintaining a real feeling of tension throughout the novel which I really appreciated. The same can't be said for the 2002 adaptation of this movie sadly, but oh well. Not all adaptations can be good. Overall I'm excited that I've finally read this, and to get to the second (and most famous) in the series, The Silence of the Lambs. I definitely have high hopes for that one, but this was a great start to the series!

  26. 5 out of 5

    Niki

    Basically everyone knows this book and what it is about, so no reason for a big detailed review for it. That, and the fact that I didn't care for it enough. It was alright, it was engaging while I was reading, but really didn't leave much of an impression. The movie had a much bigger impact on me.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Theresa

    How many books with twist endings can I read and still be so shocked? The ending of this book shook me to my core, what every great mystery book should do. Fair warning: the violence in this book is graphic, so tread lightly. I don't have all much to say on this book, because I am still blown away and still unable to sleep through the night since picking it up. Every little noise has been enough to make me jolt awake. This isn't a book about an alternate universe where things are screwed up, this How many books with twist endings can I read and still be so shocked? The ending of this book shook me to my core, what every great mystery book should do. Fair warning: the violence in this book is graphic, so tread lightly. I don't have all much to say on this book, because I am still blown away and still unable to sleep through the night since picking it up. Every little noise has been enough to make me jolt awake. This isn't a book about an alternate universe where things are screwed up, this story could actually happen. That's the scary part. Stories like this are why I had to stop watching Criminal Minds and the like. And that's really what this book is: a very long episode of Criminal Minds without the ever brilliant Spencer Reid. Any fan of true crime, mystery, or horror will enjoy this book. It is enough to make your skin crawl. Fortunately, this is all fiction, but people like this actually exist. Thankfully, detectives like Graham and Crawford also exist. Will Graham is an interesting character, because he can think exactly like Lector and this new serial killer. This is obviously something he struggles with in the book, and how could you not struggle with the fact you understand the thoughts and pleasure behind murder? Jack Crawford is kind of an ass. He has no qualms about putting other people at risk, as long as they catch their guy. He's also your stereotypical detective, jumping between thoughts with no pause in between. Reading some of the dialogue was difficult because of this, but it got easier. And what can I say about Hannibal Lector? As a psychiatrist himself, he can read just as much into these detectives as they can into him. He uses this power brilliantly, and I love it. He's not crazy, he's incredibly smart. And which, honestly, is worse? I won't say everyone should read this, because it's gruesome as all hell, but if you enjoy being scared out of your wits, have at it!

  28. 5 out of 5

    J.D. Barker

    Thomas Harris is an absolute master.

  29. 3 out of 5

    Quike

    Uzun zamandan beri 5 yıldız verdiğim tek kitap. Umarım serinin diğer kitaplarını da aynı keyifle okurum.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Sara

    So did I re-read this through the rose tinted glass of television's greatest unconsummated (and officially canon if you please) love story? Yes, yes I did. Does it change the fact that it remains one of (if not the) the most brilliantly constructed examples of the literary thriller/police procedural in modern literature? No, no it does not. I was first introduced to Dr. Hannibal Lecter (as I imagine many of us were) via Anthony Hopkins' tour de force (and well deserved Oscar caliber) performance So did I re-read this through the rose tinted glass of television's greatest unconsummated (and officially canon if you please) love story? Yes, yes I did. Does it change the fact that it remains one of (if not the) the most brilliantly constructed examples of the literary thriller/police procedural in modern literature? No, no it does not. I was first introduced to Dr. Hannibal Lecter (as I imagine many of us were) via Anthony Hopkins' tour de force (and well deserved Oscar caliber) performance in the brilliant film "Silence of the Lambs." I'm not sure if the cinematic world has had a more wonderful anti-hero to cheer on since Norman Bates. A brilliant mind matched with the tastes of Jack the Ripper, a cultured gourmet with impeccable manners and a fondness for beating police men to death while enjoying the Goldberg Variations (which I have never listened to the same way since seeing that scene). It wasn't just okay to love him, it was almost criminal not to. I remember reading the book sometime after seeing the film and being almost startled at his lack of a real presence in the narrative. The book is really much more of a story about a young FBI trainee proving herself as she navigated the murky, blood stained waters of her first real case. Sure Hannibal's there egging her on and growing increasingly more infatuated with her, but he's kind of an afterthought or dare I even say plot device who snarkily gets Ms. Starling where she needs to go. Still if anything it made me appreciate what Jonathan Demme and the "Silence" crew did with the film even more; fleshing out that relationship between criminal and agent, showcasing in the subtlest way possible their growing attraction and connection. Then I read Red Dragon and I think my reaction can best be described as; "Clarice who?" You see no one had ever bothered to tell me that Thomas Harris had already written the magnum opus of his career long before "Silence" ever graced the best seller shelves. And you can be damn sure no one thought to mention that "Silence" is for all intents and purposes a very poor echo of its beautiful, dark predecessor. Red Dragon is Thomas Harris' masterwork and if you haven't read it I can't sing its praises loud enough (or more off key, but I digress). As a "police procedural" its got some of the best, most intricately written scenes of the FBI Behavioral Analysis Unit doing their magic I've ever read. Yeah, yeah, yeah the methods are super out of date (oh my god they've got a fax machine!) and something called "VHS tapes" (look it up) play a major role in solving the case but its the tension and the brilliance of the agents as they race against time to stop the family annihilator who's known as "The Tooth Fairy" by those who would like to be next on his murder list and "The Red Dragon" by those who have the sense to be afraid of him. Watching them work like a finally oiled machine gives you a respect for them that just isn't common anymore. Harris also clearly understands the immense value of a supporting cast of characters. All of the odd balls and random's with vital clues have real, fleshed out personalities that are convincing. They're people rather than just plot devices. There's the detestable but weirdly sympathetic Freddie Lounds, a tabloid reporter hounding the FBI and the man who earns the Dragon's wrath when he coins the "Tooth Fairy" moniker. He's a smarmy, appalling parasite who you kind of can't help loving and feeling sorry for because no one deserves...the things that happen to him... Then there's the "Red Dragon" himself Francis Dolarhyde who is possibly the most sympathetic, truly horrible literary serial killers there is. Harris goes into so much horrid, heart breaking detail about poor Francis's early life that not only does the reader have the intense pleasure of understanding every bit of his methodology we also feel intensely for him. We're given tastes of the life he could have had if he'd simply had a different sort of childhood or turned right instead of left on the road to going bonkers. We feel so damn sorry for him but we also see him as he sees himself; the brilliant, burning, becoming Red Dragon. It goes without saying (though when has that ever stopped me) that the real prize here is the relationship between Special Agent Will Graham and the man who almost killed him before the book even begins, Hannibal Lecter, psychiatrist, genius, gourmet chef and of course cannibal. Harris makes the interesting choice to begin their story at the end. When first we meet them its as captor and convict and all we know is that at their last meeting Will almost died. But before that final, violent end they were colleagues, even friends. And it soon becomes clear that they have much unfinished business. Graham could be called Hannibal's last victim. Though he survived the encounter and even found a measure of peace with a wife and stepson following Hannibal's capture his thoughts have clearly never strayed far from the cell where Hannibal now spends his days. When Jack Crawford, the head of the task force hunting "the Dragon" comes to seek his help it doesn't exactly take much to convince him. Will is unique you see. He can walk into a crime scene and almost instantly step into the shoes of the killer. His total empathy for the people who commit such unspeakable atrocities makes him a monster to almost everyone, how else could you view a man who sees where Ted Bundy's coming from? But by the same token who else could hope to catch him? What Harris (and later Brian Fuller) figured out how to do was present two characters coming from completely opposite extremes (Will is overcome and almost driven mad by his affinity for everyone around him/Hannibal is completely given over to every single one of his desires with no thought to anyone) and created a "team" that were they to join forces would literally be able to destroy the world. They are drawn to each other because what the other has is so intoxicating. Will wants, on some level, to be able to disregard everything being asked of him and to just embrace the darkness he so easily slips in and out of and Hannibal clearly wants to know what it is to genuinely feel for another person. They're inability to meet somewhere in the middle (or really at all) makes for one of the most tension laden relationships ever. And yes it borders on the sexual. It would be weird if it didn't. How could you not be attracted to that one person who has literally everything you don't? The other amazing thing about this book is its lack of neatly tied bows clearing up all the loose ends and sending everyone home with happy ever afters. The Red Dragon is defeated but at a tremendous cost. Will's carefully built world is torn to shreds and the reader doesn't know if he'll be able to rebuild it. While a man called a psychopath simply because there isn't another word that comes close to describing what he is waits in his cage for a little bird to come calling for another quid pro quo. So in honor of finishing the delicious, sexy evil of "Hannibal" and in an effort to correct my gross negligence of this book (an offense I think someone would find very, very rude) I offer this review of one of the truly great thriller's of the modern literary age. So do me a favor. Do yourself a favor. I don't even care if you don't like horror novels or thrillers or cannibals. Because this isn't like those other scary books. This is delicious darkness, gourmet murder of the first order. Cooked to perfection and garnished with rare herbs and served up with panache to rival the table of Louis XVI. (and yes I might possibly have written the preceding paragraph while repeating it out loud in a Danish accent. Shut up.) Go on close your eyes and take a bite. No seriously close your eyes. Makes it easier to swallow....

Add a review

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Loading...
We use cookies to give you the best online experience. By using our website you agree to our use of cookies in accordance with our cookie policy.