Red Dragon Paperback – Jan 6 2009
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Lying on a cot in his cell with Alexandre Dumas's Le Grand Dictionnaire de Cuisine open on his chest, Hannibal "The Cannibal" Lecter makes his debut in this legendary horror novel, which is even better than its sequel, The Silence of the Lambs. As in Silence, the pulse-pounding suspense plot involves a hypersensitive FBI sleuth who consults psycho psychiatrist Lecter for clues to catching a killer on the loose.
The sleuth, Will Graham, actually quit the FBI after nearly getting killed by Lecter while nabbing him, but fear isn't what bugs him about crime busting. It's just too creepy to get inside a killer's twisted mind. But he comes back to stop a madman who's been butchering entire families. The FBI needs Graham's insight, and Graham needs Lecter's genius. But Lecter is a clever fiend, and he manipulates both Graham and the killer at large from his cell.
That killer, Francis Dolarhyde, works in a film lab, where he picks his victims by studying their home movies. He's obsessed with William Blake's bizarre painting The Great Red Dragon and the Woman Clothed with the Sun, believing there's a red dragon within him, the personification of his demonic drives. Flashbacks to Dolarhyde's terrifying childhood and superb stream-of-consciousness prose get us right there inside his head. When Dolarhyde does weird things, we understand why. We sympathize when the voice of the cruel dead grandma who raised and crazed him urges him to mayhem--she's way scarier than that old bat in Psycho. When he falls in love with a blind girl at the lab, we hope he doesn't give in to Grandma's violent advice.
This book is awesomely detailed, ingeniously plotted, judiciously gory, and fantastically imagined. If you haven't read it, you've never had the creeps. --Tim Appelo --This text refers to the Mass Market Paperback edition.
Acclaim for the novels of Thomas Harris:
For Black Sunday:
"Frighteningly believable."—Chicago Tribune
"Suspenseful, nightmarish."—Los Angeles Times
"Breathtaking. All forces converge with an apocalyptic bang!"— New York Times
"Fast-paced, all too realistic... with a shattering climax."—Kirkus Reviews
"A spellbinder... The race to save the Super Bowl is hair-raising, one that will keep you rooted to your chair."—Hartford Courant
For Red Dragon:
"Red Dragon is an engine designed for one purpose—to make the pulse pound, the heart palpitate, the fear glands secrete."—New York Times Book Review
"A gruesome, graphic, gripping thriller... Extraordinarily harrowing."—Plain Dealer, Cleveland
"Want to faint with fright? Want to have your hair stand on end? Want to read an unforgettable thriller with equal parts of horror and suspense? Harris was obviously only warming up with his best seller Black Sunday."—Daily News, New York
"Irresistible... A shattering thriller... Readers should buckle themselves in for a long night's read because from the first pages... Harris grabs hold."—Publishers Weekly
"The scariest book of the season."—Washington Post Book World
"Easily the crime novel of the year."—Newsday
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Top Customer Reviews
In this book the villain is Francis Dolarhyde, a man with an exceptionally shocking past. I especially liked the inclusion of several chapters about his childhood because they accomplish the seemingly impossible, to make you feel real sympathy for him because the cruelty he suffered as a boy was horrific. The sections of the book where Dolarhyde is alone with Reba McClane really got my pulse racing because Reba's blindness made her extremely vulnerable to him. The plot was excellent and very twisted, involving several shocking and uncomfortable developments which had me biting my nails rather a lot! Will Graham, the FBI investigator, was also a well developed character and I was willing him to succeed throughout.
Overall I would recommend Red Dragon to those who like to read tense and beautifully written crime novels - and can put up with the gruesome and scary parts which are quite disturbing. Like The Silence of the Lambs, Red Dragon is a superior serial killer novel and a must read for crime fiction fans
The basic plot is typical: retired detective, Will Graham must return from blissful reclusivity for "one last case" to catch Francis Dolarhyde (aka: Tooth Fairy, Red Dragon) before the psycho kills his next victim. The nuanced characters and attention to detail elevate the book from being anything but standard crime fare. Will Graham, Francis Dolarhyde, Freddy Lounds, Hannibal Lecter, Reba McClane, Jack Crawford are each so different in perspective, psychological stability, and motive that the book becomes an interesting blend of contrasting personalities. I especially liked the way the book explored the character of sleazy journalist Freddy Lounds in a series of subtly moving flashbacks. In such passages, the book possesses an uncanny humanity.
That said, I hold a few qualms with some of the choices Harris makes towards the end of the book. Throughout the beginning and middle, Harris focuses much energy on the fascinating Dolarhyde: his deformed apperance, traumatic childhood, desires, fears. Undoubtedly, a believable, compelling vision of strangely sympathetic albeit twisted psychopathy emerges. However, as the book progresses in its later stages, Harris positions Dolarhyde's psychology as a rather simplistic form of schizophrenia. His alter ego, the titular "Dragon" speaks to Dolarhyde and tells him to murder people, while the *real* Dolarhyde helplessly obeys the Dragon.Read more ›
Perceptive to the point of being an empath, Will's thinking is what sets the tone for this story, and sets it apart from regular crime stories. Inspired by one of “The Great Red Dragon” paintings by William Blake, a delusional loner aspires to the great Becoming. Driven by ambition, yet snubbed for years to a point beyond humiliation, a sleazy tabloid reporter becomes a focal point in a massive manhunt. Bound and behind bars, a famous killer still manages to dramatically turn the ordinary course of an investigation.
This was more than a search for a killer. This was profiling a person's entire life from a sordid past to a brutal present. And that was what made this such a fantastic read - unique and credible all at once. Every character had shades of hero and villain in them, every incident was fraught with gruesome horror and tragic tones. And that is why I was truly fascinated by the story of the red dragon, as it travelled from mystery to terror to its final denouement.
Personally, I'm not very much into crime/horror/serial killer novels but I saw Red Dragon at the movies and loved it and the book certainly didn't disappoint. The characterisation is extremely graphic in terms of the reader really getting to know Graham and the killer intimately. The vividness of their demons is what gives this book it's intended creepiness, not the crimes themselves, brutal as they are.
The one thing I found was that the novel wasn't much better than the movie (in most adaptations I think the book tends to be better and more in depth) - I'm not sure whether it's that the film was made so well that it covered almost all of the book's content or the book's pop-prose style made it less tightly packed (or possibly both). Either way, it's a very good read and Harris deserves the popularity based on this work alone.
Most recent customer reviews
Overall the books condition is very acceptable, good even. There was a couple of bent pages and the books cover has seen better days but the hardcover it self is in great... Read morePublished 14 months ago by ALLKINDSOFTHINGS
decent story, the mystery is virtuely non existent but a large part of the novel takes polace from the killers point of veiw and tells his back story which was very interesting. Read morePublished 14 months ago by elliot wilson
A wonderful and thrilling introduction to one of the best literary monsters ever conceived, Red Dragon's greatest strength lies not in the origins of the Tooth Fairy, but in the... Read morePublished 16 months ago by Robert Josef Sharpe
Part 1 of the story follows Will Graham trying to catch the Tooth Fairy. In part 2 it follows The Fairy killer I personally preferred the story following him showing us a man who... Read morePublished 17 months ago by Abraham
Read this years ago but wanted to re-read after watching the Hannibal tv show. A real page turner, zipped through this in a couple of sittings. Good stuff!Published 20 months ago by M. Ward
I'd picked this up because I wanted a page-turner that wouldn't offend me inane prose and tedious cliff-hanger chapter breaks (Dan Brown, I'm looking at you). Read morePublished 23 months ago by Mad Dog
It starts off strongly but it eventually falls into some pretty predictable plot lines for this genre. Read morePublished on June 15 2004 by Sarah Sammis