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This book is still to this day the best book ive ever read,
Thomas Harris was the first ever author to focus on criminal profiling in a fiction book, criminal profiling is all about getting into the head of the criminal....thinking from his perspective. To portray this in a book you need believable characters...characters with depth and emotion, this is why no one has even come close to recreating the believability and raw power of this book. If you havnt read this book then stop reading my review, go and buy it. Its the kind of book you'd believe was 100% true, such is the raw authenticity of the characters, and the plot is just as intricate...slowly twisting and turning building to a real climax...if you think the criminal profiling aspect to this book means there'll be no gritty violence then im glad to say your mistaken, This books got it all.
JUST READ IT NOW!
Im gonna start by saying I normally dont enjoy prequels much but this one is different, I found it very enjoyable reading from both Will Grahams point of view and Francis Dolarhydes point of view as it worked a little outside the general model of these types of books where you only know what the protangonist is thinking as he tries to catch the antagonist. The multiple viewpoints really get across how the man that is supposed to be the villain feels his actions are justified. Another great thing about this book is how the Hannibal Lecter character isnt over used, when he is mentioned you can see the genius he is without really seeing the psychopath everyone thinks he is until he speaks and you see how disturbing he is, he states things simply but chillingly, leaving you thinking that anyone could be like him underneath what they show the world. The book overall is masterfully written until it comes to the end where to me things just seem a little rushed when the antagonist tries to kill the protagonist, other than that however I loved the book, it is probably the best psycological thriller Ive ever read and I would reccomend it to anyone.
Having been injured in the line of duty whilst capturing Hannibal Lector, Will Graham has retired to Florida to get away from it. When a new and gruesome killer strikes twice, it leaves the FBI's director Jack Crawford no choice but to convince Graham to help them on the case. The only help he can manage is to talk to his old enemy and using his relationship and history with Hannibal Graham tries to get to the bottom of yet another serial killer.
Having seen both of the previous Hannibal movies and read the books I decided to read this one after seeing the film adaptation of Red Dragon. This is the first book in the series from Thomas Harris that continues with Silence of the Lambs and Hannibal. It all takes place before the events of those two books and acts as a brief introduction to the character whilst focussing on the actions and victims of the Red Dragon.
Originally this wasn't a hit in the same vein as Silence of the Lambs and its first adaptation, Manhunter, passed by largely unnoticed before the more recent version in 2002. I've read a few of Thomas Harris's books and I have to admit that this one is probably my favourite one of them all. He hooks you from the start and by mixing in the interesting character of not only the villain in this book The Red Dragon, but also the personality of Lector it really draws you into the story.
In fact Harris has done such a good job with the characterisation that you really feel a part of this story and you can actually imagine the characters he's describing. This gives you the feeling whilst you read that you are actually in the Leeds family home while Graham is looking around for any clues or motives. I think that's the best thing about Harris in that he really sparks your imagination and gets you involved in the storyline. His descriptive ability is second to none and he really can set a scene with what seems to be relative ease.
I found that the insight into the characters and the flow of the plot keeps you hooked for the entire 480 pages. In fact it's one of those books that once you start reading you have to just read a little more and then a little more as he engages you in the story making you want to find out if Graham can solve the case. He also gives you a unique view of both Lector and this books choice of bad guy and that too holds your interest.
It's a decent start to the Hannibal series and rather than focussing totally on Hannibal it introduces him gradually into the series. I found it to be a fascinating read that I just simply couldn't put down and had to keep on reading. Like most books it is far better than the film version and I would recommend reading this if you haven't already. There are a few disturbing parts with the gruesome killings but I think Harris does this incredibly well. If you're a fan of crime thrillers then you'll love this particularly if you like any of Thomas Harris other books.
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For some reason, this book doesn't seem to be as popular/widely know as the others in the series, don't let that put you off!
In my opinion this is by far the best book in the Hannibal Lecter series. This is the first Thomas Harris book which features Dr. Lecter and has by far the best storyline.
If you liked Silence of the Lambs or Hannibal, you will love this. The characters are fantastic and the story will keep you reading! If you like crime stories/thrillers you will love this book.
During the story you follow Will Graham, the criminal profiler who actually caught Hannibal, as he is called back in from his early retirement by the FBI to track down the Red Dragon- a serial killer who has been targeting families. Will must go back to Lecter for help with the case...
Don't want to spoil the story!
Brilliant twists and as usual Thomas Harris has done a fantastic job in creating his characters and storyline.
Red Dragon by Thomas Harris is one of those books I'll pick up every now and again to have a re-read of. Even though it's a bit of a crime thriller, it's such an interesting and eventful book that it's interesting to read even when you know how it's going to end.
Most people will already be slightly familiar with the storyline from either the film or just from hearsay even if they haven't read the book. But if you're not sure, then this book tells the story of Will Graham hot on the heels of a perverted serial killer who is about to strike again. Will enlists help from incarcerated serial killer Hannibal the Cannibal (Hannibal Lector) to try to track him down. Things don't go according to plan even when they do eventually track down the killer at large...
I particularly like how Thomas Harris created Will Graham to be a kind of good guy version of the evil Hannibal the Cannibal. Will's character is a real source of fascination when you first read this book and when you read it again and again, you find new little things to pick up on each time. Most people are mainly focused on Hannibal's character, which is of course fantastic and remains somewhat original even by today's varied standards, but I've always been a fan of the more intricate Will who's character remains more secretive than Hannibal's.
Even if you've already seen the film of this, I recommend giving the book a go. The way the book is written will keep you in suspense from start to finish even though you know already how this will end. The book itself isn't so much about what happens, as how it happens. And that's the thing that never ceases to amaze me. I think Thomas Harris created something pretty timeless when he wrote this book and I think it's one that everyone should give a go at some point in their life.
Thomas Harris, the Author of the Hannibal Lecter ?trilogy? (I use the term trilogy loosely, as it is only really The Silence Of The Lambs, and Hannibal, that he actually plays a far greater role, even though in this novel, his presence is small, yet powerful). He is an author that I had not really heard much about until I was about 16, and actually found out he was the person that created such an intriguing monster such as Doctor Lecter. At this point I immediately decided that one day I would read all 3 novels, however, being only 16, having little money beyond paying for one of my true loves (mountain biking hehehe), I had no choice but to succumb that I wasn?t going to be able to buy the books for a good while. I chose the order in which I have read the first 2 of the 3 merely by chance, I saw Hannibal at a flea market cheap and in good condition, so I brought it home and couldn?t put it down thereafter, and as for Red Dragon, I found that in ASDA quite cheap too (God don?t I sound like a student the way I am going on about cheap), and again could not put the book down until I finished it the other night at approx 2:30 am, and one of my first thoughts was to tell the world, and how better to do so than Dooyoo ;)! I first started reading this book because of how Thomas Harris had gripped me with his novel Hannibal. I started reading this with high expectations, let me tell you that for nothing, and in all fairness it exceeded even my expectations. I have now read 2 parts of the Hannibal Lecter trilogy, the only one of the 3 I need to read now is surprisingly The Silence Of The Lambs, which I have already owned for a long while, but just never got round to reading it. It will definitely have to follow my current project, The Diary of Anne Frank I think. In fairness Hannibal was slated quite heavily because many saw it as a novel Harris was almost pushed into writing by the media in order to close the Hannibal Lecter file once and for all, I did howe
ver find the book to be pretty good, however, the silver screen version was far from accurate and for a fan such as myself, that was infuriating! I still have not seen Red Dragon, but I do intend to in the future, preferably sooner rather than later. Anyways, a little about the characters: Hannibal Lecter, a man who is renowned as being the world?s favourite psychopath, yet he is not brought even half way to life until Silence Of The Lambs, in Red Dragon he sets up the detective who is out to find the serial killer known as the ?Red Dragon? and also the ?Tooth Fairy?, but other than that he plays such a minor part in the novel. Detective Will Graham, the man who the FBI consider important enough to them in this case that they bring him out of retirement to aid them find the killer. He is the man that brought Hannibal Lecter?s case to a closure when he was first caught, and he is classed as the man for the job in this case too. He has a talent for being able to show people were murdered, he seems to have a 6th sense almost for being able to re enact the murders in his mind and find clues because of it, for example, in his mind he sees the ?Tooth Fairy? opening his victims eyes in order to make them watch him murder their mother even though they are already dead. Crawford is Will Graham?s superior officer at the bureau, he is here and there throughout the novel, making some important decisions revolving around the case, although he doesn?t play a huge role. The Leeds Family, the second and most heard of victims of the killer throughout the book. The Jacobi family, the first victims of the ?Dragon?, less heard of until the end when they play a massive part in the solving of the case. Francis Dolarhyde (The Red Dragon), you guessed it, the murderer himself, plays a huge part in the film, for those who have seen Silence Of The Lambs, times the role of Jaime Gumb by about 4 and that?s about the amount of de
tail we get about Dolarhyde, he is more cunning, and far more brutal than Gumb ever was. Reba McClane, the woman who almost manages to turn ?The Dragon? into a human being, she teaches him to love and to make love, and to cap that she is blind, a talented woman indeed. However, her only downfall is that she confuses Dolarhyde, and makes him think that he and the Dragon are no longer ?One?, and that they have been separated. Freddy Lounds, the reporter that has hounded Will Graham for years, now they must team up in order to try and trap the Dragon, however, Dolarhyde has a thing about killing his victims pets, and he sees Lounds as Will Graham?s pet. There are a few other characters, but I won?t go on about them too much for 2 reasons, this is an opinion, not just the plot, and also, they are not really as important as the aforementioned. Plus, it is 1:29am, and quite frankly at this time of night I should be in bed, not sat by my computer with System Of A Down blaring at me through my headphones!!! As you have probably guessed, the basic plot is your usual FBI tracking serial killer routine, with all of the usual twists and turns throughout. However, the thing that gripped me in this one in particular, was not so much the plot, but more the underlying idea that this killer could be a rival to Hannibal Lecter himself, he is intelligent, cunning, and brutal, although in fairness he has neither the style or the gall of Lecter (although I would class filming yourself murdering someone as a lot of gall in most cases). Francis Dolarhyde is somewhat of a mystery, born a harelip, no real friends, raised by his grandmother, a classic case for a psychotic serial killer in many ways, but there is something more to him that doesn?t quite match, that, is that he sees himself as a dragon, it is almost similar to a child with an imaginary friend, although he never grew out of having his invisible chum! I feel the twist of Hannibal
Lecter turning tail, and almost going against against his usual charm and sophistication, and double crossing someone the way he does Will Graham is a brilliant twist in the story, which at the time seems important, yet that importance dies down until the end of the book. That particular twist adds intenseness to the book that is unsurpassable by many other authors. I found that I was on edge through the entire book, I am generally a laid back kind of lad, and in fairness for want of a better word, this book had me bricking it (apologies for the slang, but it was the best I could come up with, any suggestions?). My perception of the killer was that he was basically a monster, both in mentality and in physique, he is personified as an extremely muscular man, with an enormous amount of strength, shown both in his murders and his description. All in all I feel this adds a huge amount to his persona, I was imagining Arnie with brains, and I wouldn?t be at all surprised if the guy is like John Cofee in the Green Mile, only white with browny gingery hair and goggles (read it to find out). I imagined Will Graham to be fairly scrawny as Dolarhyde described were about he would break Graham?s back in half when he killed him. I imagined Reba McClane to be an attractive woman, fairly sexually charged, and fairly liberated all in all. Harris has created his characters so that they MUST be shown even on screen in a certain way, otherwise the story will not work. This is something I find attractive about the novel, because unlike Hannibal, it means that anything the director leaves out will not be of significant importance, well I would like to hope not anyway. I feel that this book is as intense and as sophisticated a novel to have been written in the last 50 years, a bold statement I know, but when you read the book and understand it, you will see, feel and hear as the killer does, you will also imagine the fear of being Will Graham, knowing there is a
killer after you that knows were you and your family live, and that a psychopath has double crossed you as an act of revenge. In order to understand just how intelligent this novel really is, you have to read it, once you have done so, you will understand what I am saying, I still feel that he film won?t do it justice, even though I am going to see it anyway lol. As far as many crime/murder mystery novels go, most can be quite corny, often ironic, and often merely pulp fiction, this however is none of these. There is far more to Red Dragon than meets the eye, and I do feel that I will read it again at some point to see just how much I missed at the first time of reading! Thanks for reading my op, I have been away for a while, lacking inspiration completely, I have a few people on here I need to catch up with, so I am off to do so now, cheers peeps, catch you later :).
"Red Dragon" is surprisingly good. After Ridley Scott's camp "Hannibal" and Jonathan Demme's gothic "Silence of the Lambs" I was expecting to be entertained but nothing beyond that. "Red Dragon" apart from a few minor problems is entertaining and has a great story. The film in terms of visuals is certainly trying to emulate Jonathan Demme's "Silence of the Lambs" gothic look with the return of Hannibal Lector's dungeon cell and Francis Dolarhyde's spooky old house deep in the woods. Director Brett Ratner understood that this is exactly what the audience wanted, Ridley Scott made Hannibal Lector a camp old man who was not very threatening, apart from having a funny bad guy played by Gary Oldman and a gory ending "Hannibal" was a disappointment. "Red Dragon" scores huge points in the screenplay and acting department. The story is so involving and the acting especially from Ralph Fiennes is excellent. Ladies and Gentlemen "Dr. Hannibal "the Cannibal" Lector" is back! "Red Dragon" had to happen. The world was thirsty for Hannibal Lector after he was given full exposure in the grand opera that was "Hannibal". Anthony Hopkins became an icon of modern day cinema in the 1990's with his truly chilling turn in "Silence of the Lambs". For once in a Hollywood film, the serial killer was not a babbling loon but a well-mannered intellectual with a cold gaze and expert at mind games. Hannibal Lector was a character everybody loved, even if he was a violent cannibal. He caught the imagination of cinema fans and then... nothing. Film fans had to wait for nine years before they got another dose of Hannibal Lector. Ridley Scott's visually impressive but boring "Hannibal" was good for only two things, sales of "Silence of the Lambs" went back up into the charts and the public got to see their favour
ite psycho. Italian film producer Dino deLaurentiis held the rights to "Red Dragon" and had made the film as "Manhunter" in 1986. The problem with "Manhunter" was that it did not have Anthony Hopkins in it and secondly Michael Mann was more interested about the processes in capturing a serial killer than thrilling the audience. "Manhunter" is a great film and "Red Dragon" will make it more of a curiosity. There was a need to complete the trilogy with Anthony Hopkins. This would give a certain amount of continuity in characters and story. This was badly damaged by Jodie Foster's unwillingness to reprise her role of Clarice Starling. Julianne Moore played her very well in "Hannibal" but it just wasn't the same. Jodie Foster was tough yet vulnerable when interviewing Lector, Julianne Moore looked like she could kick his ass without much effort. I will concede that Brett Ratner was an odd choice of director. He is an egotist and not the greatest of directors. He has made "Rush Hour" movies that are lame and the excellent Nicolas Cage movie "Family Man". I think the producers picked Ratner so that they could control him and he wanted to make a name for himself. Ratner inadvertently has produced the best "Hannibal Lector" film. There is a lack of pretentiousness that marred both "Lambs" and "Hannibal". The style of the film is "Lambs" and everybody even Hopkins is restrained in performance. Hopkins is playing Lector more as angry and bitter, rather than menacing or camp. My favourite scene between Lector and Graham is when Lector asks Graham how he caught him. Graham tells Lector that he had "disadvantages". Lector asks Graham what are his disadvantages. Graham stares at Lector and says; "You're insane". This scene is tense and humorous in a black comedy kind of way.
<b r> The story opens with Hannibal Lector being caught and Will Graham quitting the FBI because of his ability to think like a serial killer. He has had enough of the sick world in which he tries to save lives by trying to think like and out think a murderer. Edward Norton takes a while to get into his character but after a while Norton becomes Graham, an obsessive man who at first reluctantly takes the case but eventually pursues it with a passion. The story is split into three narratives and the plot strands work very well together. There is the Lector and Graham story in which Lector helps and hinders Will Graham's search for "The Tooth Fairy", the detective plot of solving the case and a strange romance between a serial killer and a blind woman. These elements make the characters more psychologically rounded and believable. The cast all round is excellent and the film is full of witty dialogue, my favourite being Hannibal Lector's summation of Dr. Chiltern's probing technique as "Like a freshman fumbling with a panty girdle". The screenplay was by Ted Tally and he also wrote the script for "Silence of the Lambs" and I like his style. The story is character-based rather than relying on action sequences and such to move the plot forward. The most annoying thing was the self-referencing at the end in which Dr. Chiltern asks Lector if he wanted to see a female FBI agent who wanted to ask him some questions. The audience smiles and assumes that Clarice Starling's story is about to happen and we all must rush home and watch "Silence of the Lambs". I found this a bit foolish and unnecessary due to the time span between "Red Dragon" and "Silence of the Lambs" which must be at least a few years, if it is in the book "Red Dragon" that's fine but I still found it annoying. There was also Brett Ratner who is basicall
y trying to make "Silence of the Lambs" part 2, even though technically "Dragon" came first. The film could have been directed by any competent director, "Manhunter" had it's unique visual style and so did all the rest, Ratner is a studio whipping boy. It show's that Ratner is no auteur like Michael Mann and Ridley Scott (I don't consider Jonathan Demme an auteur). The studio wanted a director to make the film and cause no fuss. The title and Hopkins is all that is important. Hannibal Lector is a brand name. I wouldn't be surprised if there was a "Further adventures of Hannibal Lector" in the pipeline. However faceless "Red Dragon" is in terms of directing style, it is to the credit of the casting director and Ratner himself that he fills the film with excellent character actors. Harvey Keitel is a good reliable actor, Philip Seymour Hoffman is great as the seedy journalist Freddie Lounds and Emily Watson is great as Rebe McClane, a blind woman who dates a serial killer. Edward Norton is probably America's greatest young actor. Anthony Hopkins is mesmerising as Lector and Ralph Fiennes holds your attention every time the creepy Mr. D is on the screen. At once genuinely mad but also a sad and lonely figure, even Will Graham feels sorry for him and he's a cop. I liked how the film was filled with actors rather than "movie stars" and how they bring a sense of class to the proceedings. "Red Dragon" will do huge box office like all Lector films (with Tony Hopkins in) and it deserves to. "Red Dragon" is a great film and certainly the best of the bunch and I hope they lay to rest the characters or until Thomas Harris "one book every decade" writes a new episode in the life of Lector. Where could he go? What could he do? The world is Lector's oyster and we are on the menu. "R
ed Dragon" Cert 1 5 Running Time: 2 hrs 20 mins Director: Brett Ratner Producers: Martha and Dino De Laurentiis Writer: Ted Tally based on "Red Dragon" by Thomas Harris Director of Photography: Dante Spinotti Music: Danny Elfman Cast: Ed Norton as Will Graham Ralph Fiennes as Francis Dolarhyde Harvey Kietel as Jack Crawford Emily Watson as Rebe McClane Philip Seymour Hoffman as Freddy Lounds Anthony Heald as Dr. Chiltern Mary Louise Parker as Molly Graham And Anthony Hopkins as Dr. Hannibal Lector Hunting Bears gives "Red Dragon" 8/10
Ever wanted to get in the mind of a serial killer? Will Graham doesn't. Which is a shame, because it's his job, and he's frighteningly good at it. Okay. Enough of the promotional blurb-style writing. It was just the intro. I haven't written a book opinion for ages, so let me warm up, okay? Most people only discover Thomas Harris's Red Dragon after watching the movie adaptations of 'The Silence of the Lambs' or 'Hannibal'. It is a shame the movies are more famous than the original novels and Red Dragon is often overlooked, because in many ways it is the best. Thomas Harris is not a prolific author, having written only four novels. Three of them feature his most famous character, Dr Hannibal Lecter, and Red Dragon is where it all begins. First published in 1982, it is a gruesome serial killer who-sick-weirdo-dunnit thriller. Perhaps the reason Red Dragon is overlooked compared to the other Hannibal Lecter stories is because the movie adaptation of Red Dragon wasn't a smash hit and it went under a different name, 'Manhunter'. But I'll talk about the movie later. *** First the plot. Will Graham is in semi-retirement from his work with the FBI, where he assisted several serial killer investigations. After catching his last killer, Dr Hannibal Lecter (and almost getting killed by Lecter in the process), Graham settled down with his wife and stepson for a calm peaceful life. But there is now a new serial killer on the loose. The police and the press call him "The Tooth Fairy" due to the unusual bite-marks he leaves on his victims. He has killed two middle-class families during the last two full moons, and the FBI is pretty sure another family will be slaughtered when the next full moon comes. Will Graham is the best person to help catch the Tooth Fairy, because he has an exceptional talent for understanding the minds of serial killers. So he reluctantly joins the ca
se. To help his understanding of the Tooth Fairy, Graham seeks advice from the only other person who might understand: Hannibal Lecter. However, he doesn't count on Lecter working against him and starting secret communications with the Tooth Fairy. As the story progresses, we see into the life of Francis Dolarhyde, a loner with a deformed face and a speech impediment, whose worship of William Blake's painting "The Great Red Dragon and the Woman Clothed with the Sun" is reaching schizophrenic proportions. (Yes, this is the Tooth Fairy). I don't want to give away much more of the plot, but I'll have to reveal a bit more to analyse why to novel is so damn good, and to explain what parts are lacking. But don't worry. Red Dragon is a fairly complex story with the full plethora of leads, red herrings, clues and details that you'd expect from a crime thriller of this type. Every chapter throws up something new and unexpected, so even if I reveal a smidge too much of the plot, the story will still take you round some unexpected turns. *** The character that catches most people's interest is Dr Hannibal Lecter. But I have to let you know that Red Dragon is not a Lecter story, it is merely a story in which Lecter appears for a few pages. His role is small but significant. This role was expanded somewhat in The Silence of the Lambs, which is almost a remake of the scenario. He isn't given much to do, but he makes the chapters in which he appears very tense and interesting. The first half of the book focuses mainly on Graham's character. His main 'issue' is that he can understand the minds of serial killers, and this freaks him out because it takes over his thoughts and his personality. It makes him see the potential for evil in his own personality, knowing that he is in some ways like a serial killer himself. Dr Lecter also knows this, and tries to rattle Graham by mak
ing him think about it. I thought this was a very good piece of characterisation, and I was expecting Harris to expand upon the idea. Unfortunately by about half way through the story, Harris shifts his attention to the killer, and he seems to forget about Graham's character. Graham becomes under-used. This is a shame, because after setting up this personality and the potential for Graham to have problems, the thread is forgotten. As the focus of the novel shifts from Graham's character to that of the killer's, we are shown a well-rounded detailed portrayal of an insane murderer. Harris goes into detail with Francis Dolarhyde's past, starting with his life as a child. This is good because it thoroughly explains Dolarhyde's afflictions and his reasons for killing. There is a good balance between making the reader feel sympathetic to Dolarhyde, and still fearing him because of the despicable acts he commits. Harris adds another element to enrich the story when Dolarhyde meets a blind female co-worker, who tries to start a romantic relationship with him. The bad thing about taking the story in this direction is that it shifts the focus away from Graham's investigation. But the pleasing thing is that the killer of the story is not just an inexplicable faceless murderer, but a detailed character who enriches the plot. The story moves at a fast pace, and is written in a way that doesn't drag or become dull at all. It mixes suspense, excitement and drama very well. Graham and his FBI colleagues investigate the murder scenes, find clues, interpret them, and always have new things to push forward with the case. There is a lot of forensic analysis, and a lot of intricate details about the clues. It is sometimes hard to believe Will Graham has the leaps of logic to come to certain conclusions about the evidence, but we just take it for granted that he knows how to think like an insane killer. The story is pretty simple and easy to
understand, but it feels more complex than it really is due to all the forensic detail. I didn't predict the way the plot would twist and turn, except for the very ending of the novel where the last twist is a bit too predictable. Thomas Harris writes in a style that eloquently explains everything the characters experience. He makes sure to describe sounds and smells, which puts the reader right into the scene. If I have one criticism, it is that Harris seems to have trouble with his tenses. He breaks from past-tense into present-tense in a very odd way, and it doesn't feel right. If I was his editor, I'd have a word with him about it and ask if it's really the way he intended to write. The version I read also had lots of print problems, with mis-spellings and bad punctuation, but I blame this on the crummy edition I got from the library. *** Before I finish, I'll mention the movie. Like the two follow-ups, Red Dragon was adapted for the screen. It isn't called Red Dragon though. It is called Manhunter. The film was made in 1986 by Michael Mann, the creator of Miami Vice. There aren't any big-name stars in the film and it was made on a fairly small budget. Lecter is not played by Anthony Hopkins, but is played very well by Brian Cox, who delivers a more subtle realistic performance than Hopkins. The film hasn't aged particularly well and it feels very 1980's, but it is pretty good. I suggest reading the book and watching the movie (in whichever order you choose), because both are well worth your time. Ta ta.
Red Dragon is the first Thomas Harris novel to feature Hannibal Lecter, the others being Silence of the Lambs and Hannibal. This novel is widely overlooked, and it is often thought that the Silence of the Lambs is the first (I thought the same until it was pointed out to me by another dooyoo user.) book to feature Lecter. However, this is probably due to the fact that Lecter’s part in the book is quite small. This book has also been made into a film, Manhunter, which I cannot comment on as I have yet to see it. The book centre on a killer known as “The Red Dragon”, who is preying on well to do families. The book starts not long after his second attack on a family, bringing the total number of people he has killed to ten. His attacks seems random, and the police are at a loss to what he will do next, and where he will strike, which leads them to call on Will Graham, a retired investigator who left the force some years previously after capturing the notorious Hannibal “The Cannibal” Lecter, leaving him both scared mentally and physically. Graham is renowned for his lateral thinking, and his ability to put himself in the killer’s shoes and work out what makes him tick, and by doing so, work out how he is going to try. Graham’s mind alone doesn’t seem to be enough to capture the Red Dragon, so in an attempt to stop him before he kills again, Graham must face his enemy Lecter and play cat and mouse in order to gain Lecter’s view of the situation, to see if he can shed any light on the case. However, the Red Dragon has also been in contact with Lecter, who has managed to give the Dragon Graham’s home address, so Graham must look behind him wherever he goes. I’ll admit that I read the Silence of the Lambs shortly after seeing the film Hannibal in the cinema and I wasn’t overly impressed by it. I thought it went very slowly, and was overly laboured in places, which made it qui
te a dull and unsatisfying read. Red Dragon matches Silence of the Lambs for pace, but it manages to carry it off more effectively, this time instead of being boring, it builds up a sense of tension and fear instead. The writing is wonderfully descriptive – every location is precisely described to allow you to build the scene up in your own mind. The book is about 350 pages long, and divided into 54 chapters, which means some of the chapters are very short, only 2 or 2 pages long. This manages to keep your interest up, as it stops the book from getting stale and laboured – each chapter details a separate event, and the short chapters mean the events keep coming quickly. I found the start of the book to be rather slow, and I expected it to be a little dull like the Silence of The Lambs, but the pace soon gathered, as you figured out what was going on and the characters became a little more developed. The strength of writing is shown in that he doesn’t have to describe the gore and violence of what is quite a disturbing man. Much of the action is implied rather than described, with just the bare bones statement about the action, rather than a full-blown description of what is seen. This makes the book easier to stomach if you don’t really like that sort of thing, but also keeps your mind in check while you’re reading it. Because the book draws you in so well, and requires quite a lot of concentration on your behalf to visualise everything, it isn’t the easiest book to read at times, and does require quite a bit of concentration on your behalf in order to get the full effect of what is written. I found myself having to reread some lines a couple of times so that I fully understood and appreciate what was being written. The chapters mostly take the viewpoint of one or other of the main characters – of Graham or of the Red Dragon, but occasionally they will take the point of one of the smaller charact
ers from the book. This enables you to get a variety of viewpoints and opinions on the events, and it is written in such a way that you get a gradual build-up of character as you progress through the book – as Graham learns more about the killer, so do you, and you begin to see what makes him tick and what he is capable of. The book has three main characters, each one brilliantly illustrated so that you soon begin to pick up the peculiarities of each character and start to understand where they fit into the story. There Hannibal Lecter, although he isn’t really featured much in the story, he is developed quite fully into the character that we are more familiar with in the later books of the series – calm, educated and cold. You can almost feel the hairs pricking up on your neck as you read his lines, and imagine the perfect pronunciation as he questions you and tries to catch you out, you can almost feel his glare piercing through you and him examining your mind. The Red Dragon (he has a more sensible name, but giving it away would spoil it somewhat for you) is a character quite similar to Lecter. He is revealed early in the book, but that is all part of the plot – part of the fascination is seeing how he works his thoughts and feelings into his everyday world, and how he judges those around him. He has a skewed view of the world; he sees himself as superior and doesn’t see what he is doing as wrong, just the natural thing to ease his progression from this world to the next. He’s developed nicely from the start, the information about him is gradually fed to you in small pieces, you get a sense of his history, what happened to him and the childhood he had, and why he feels the way he does, and it’s done in such a way that you can almost sympathise with him. He has the same cold, distant and methodical approach that Lecter takes, analysing everything thoroughly before he acts, planned right down to the final
letter. I felt the scenes with him to be the best, they are full of tension as he approaches his actions so slowly, getting closer and closer to his goal before carrying it out, you get a sense of what is going to happen, and I felt myself willing it not to happen. As a lead character, I felt Graham was slightly under used. While his distance may be seen as result of his mental state after his encounter with Lecter, at times I felt it was unnecessarily so, and surprisingly I empathised more with the Red Dragon as I felt his character was described better. I also found some of the deductions he made to be a bit far fetched, I know he is supposed to be a leading investigator of such crimes, but at times he seemed to be able to make incredible steps from very small shards of evidence. The human side of Graham is shown in a very close relationship with his wife, where you can see the love and warmth of his character, but again, this was rather underused, and perhaps if this had been developed a little further, he would have been a stronger character and drawn a little more support during the book. The plot is excellently done, not over complicated so that it becomes convoluted and difficult to understand, but not overly simple either. It is more or less a game of minds between the Red Dragon and Graham, but you find the Dragon is quite far ahead of Graham, and has many tricks up his sleeve, which keeps the plot going nicely, and turning in some unexpected directions, maintaining interest all the way through the book. I’d definitely recommend the book, to both fans of suspense and thriller novels and other books. If you can set aside the time to get into the book, its highly enjoyable and rewarding, and nowhere near as gruesome as I was expecting. It has a slow start, but give it time, and you’ll definitely enjoy it. Aside from the slightly weak character if Graham, it has all that’s required and more – a devious and evi
l villain, a plot that keeps you in suspense to the end a decent set of supporting characters. It’s hard to put down once you start going – it has that “one more chapter” feel about it. With the Silence of the Lambs and Hannibal just released on DVD, it might be a nice idea to see the story that began Hannibal’s legacy.
Red Dragon was the first book in what was to become the 'Hanibal Trilogy'. In this book, we are introduced to many of the characters associated with Hanibal Lectar. There is the canibal himself, Will Graham, the detective who caught Lectar and Jack Crawford, head of behavioural sciences at the FBI. The book starts with Will Graham trying to re-build a life for himself with his partner and her child in Florida. He was nearly killed by Dr Lectar when he caught him, and has decided that he wants to put as much distance between himself and detective work as possible. Meanwhile, Jack Crawford is on the trail of a serial killer nick-named 'The Tooth Fairy'. So far, the tooth fairy has killed 2 families. Each family had children and 2 parents, but otherwise seem to be un-connected. They were both killed in the same blood-soaked way and shards of broken mirrors were placed into their eyes. Crawford fears that the tooth fairy will strike again and believes that the only person capable of catching him is Will Graham. Graham reluctantly takes on the case, only after he is told that if he doesn't, and more people die, he should blame himself. Francis Dolarhyde is the man nick-named 'The Tooth Fairy'. He is disgusted by this name. He wants to be known as 'The Red Dragon'. He has a serious mental disorder, often being overtaken by the part of his character that is the Red Dragon. He has a dragon tattoed down the length of his body and teeth more than capable of tearing flesh from bones. He works in a film development lab and, unknown to the police, this is how the families that are to become his victims are selected. He sees them on their home-movies and is drawn to them. Red Dragon is a roller-coaster ride of suspension. The writing style is such that the fear and suspence almost jumps from the page and grips the reader. It is a pshycological thriller of master proportins. During the hunt f
or the tooth fairy (or red dragon) we are taken into the cell of Dr Hanibal Lectar as Will Graham tried to get information from him on the mind of this killer. We also get to see the sickness of Dr Lectar's mind as he contacts the tooth fairy through a coded ad in a national newspaper and instructs him to kill Will Graham and his family. Red Dragon doesn't put you back down again until you have turned the last page. I often found my heart in my mouth waiting to see what was going to happen. Will the police get to the tooth fairy before his next family die? Will he manage to kill Will Graham? To find this out, you will have to read the book. I don't intent to spoil it for anyone. Suffice to say that if you are either a fan of thrillers or even of Dr Lectar, this book will not disappoint. It was made into a movie called Manhunter, but never had the same impact as Silence of the Lambs. It is rumoured that it is being re-made with Anthony Hopkins in the role he made his own.
Red Dragon is a novel by Thomas Harris, the author of the infamous "Silence of the Lambs". Contrary to popular opinion, I believe that this book, Red Dragon, is far better than the better known story. Red Dragon concerns the activities of a psychopath who is murdering entire families in an action that appears to have no motive. He likes to arrange them in family group poses after he has killed them for reasons that no one can explain. Someone has to go out there and stop him. FBI agent Jack Crawford (who also works on the Silence of the Lambs case) has the unenviable task of doing so. Jack enlists the help of Will Crawford, a forensic specialist has been roped in to help. Will was the man who caught Hannibal Lecter but at a price. Lecter almost killed Will by slashing him with a knife. Will then resigned from the FBI and went to work in a boatyard fixing engines. Quite a change I think you'll agree! Will has to go and visit Lecter, who is now held in an asylum, as he is the only person who can see into the mind of the killer. The killer is revealed fairly early on in the book (Chpt. 9) which is vital to the story. You get to understand how his mind works, his obsessions, and of course, his compulsory terrible childhood. The title of the book comes from the large dragon tattoo that the killer has on his leg and back. He also worships a picture of a dragon called "The Great Red Dragon and the Woman Clothed with the Sun". He has a reproduction of this picture but the original watercolour does play a part later on in the story. The killer also has an obsession with teeth which makes your stomach churn at times. The way the killer knows his victims is very ingenious so I won't give it away here. One nice feature is that you actually see a more human side to the killer rather than just the psychopathic traits. He has a relationship with a blind woman called Reba which reveals a more gentle side to h
is nature but also fills you with tension as you don't know if he can be trusted or not. The ending is highly charged and really does bring the story to a dramatic explosive ending with an incredible twist at the end. The book moves at a cracking pace and is incredibly hard to put down. I read it at a phenomenal pace as it was so good. I read "Silence of the Lambs" straight afterwards and was rather disappointed by it (see my next op!). If you are looking for a Hannibal Lecter book then you will be very disappointed. Lecter only makes brief appearances and does not lend a great deal to the story in my opinion. This book is marvellous without Lecter and can stand-alone as the story is so good. I would highly recommend this book.
They say that confession is good for the soul. So, - Allow me to confess right now, that I have not read Red Dragon for at least . . . six months! It’s hard to believe that it is that long as, since I first bought it, back in the early 1980’s, hardly two months have gone past, till I’ve had a strong compulsion to read it again. That’s how good it is. In fact, I’d go so far as to say, that Red Dragon is probably one of my all-time favourite books. Not only that, it’s also the better of the first two ‘Hannibal Lecter’ thrillers. I make no apology for using what might appear a rather ‘dated’ word, because I have not come across a book which deserves the title, “thriller” more than this one. It is a “count-the-hairs-on-the-back-of-your-neck" type of read. You know who you are and where you are every minute that this book is in your sweaty hands. (you can keep your ‘tear-jerkers’ give me a hankie - and a book so scary it makes your palms sweat, - every time) I digress. Red Dragon, with its look into the mind of a deranged killer, will make you blood turn cold, and have you on the edge of your seat. When you discover what happens to the victims of this ugly-strong-boy-man totally-over-the-wall-and-down-the-other-side psycho, you’ll wish you had become a vegetarian when you still had the chance! The character of Will Graham is soo charismatic and fascinating, - man or woman, you’ll find yourself falling under his spell from the start. Personally, I think his character is far more intriguing than that of Hannibal Lecter, but that’s a personal thing. Will Graham has a ‘talent’ - an ability to see events through the eyes of the killer, - no, make that, through the mind of the killer. Quite a talent, you might think; the only problem is, he’s
216;in there’ and he can’t get out! On the other hand, you, the reader are taken into the mind of the killer and you are able to ‘see’ life through his eyes . . .you may not like it, - but you just try putting this book down . . . just try it . . . you’ll see. There is a ‘movie of the book’, ‘Manhunter’, which is quite good ‘up to a point’ - as are many ‘film of the book’ type movies. While ‘Manhunter’ makes quite a reasonable attempt to convey the horror of Harris’s writing, it is simply not that easy to convey this book up there on the silver screen. There is so much of the story that happens * inside your head *. Only somebody with the talent of Thomas Harris could convey such abstract and terrifying notions, without slowing the pace of the action or the taking the reader’s interest away from the story-line. What am I saying is; Thomas Harris must have an almost unique talent in this genre, if not in the world of books in general. There is little doubt in my mind, that this is Thomas Harris’s best book. However, as I have not as yet read ‘Hannibal’, I’m not really the one to comment. If , on the other hand, you HAVE read ‘Hannibal’, why not give this ‘golden oldie’ (it is twenty years since it was first published) a run for your money? When you’ve read it, - let me know your opinion; is it the best, or should I give up on my forthcoming career as a critic of literary works ? - in my dreams . . . ;-) Enjoy. Then, when you’ve calmed down, drop me a line . . . GG
This book, by Thomas Harris, is probably one of the scariest, most graphic books I have ever read. It's a thriller from the beginning right through to the end. The setting is modern day in Virginia. The Red Dragon is the prequal to The Silence of the Lambs and the detective, Will Graham, is asked to come back to the F.B.I for this special case. This book is about a retired F.B.I investigator, Graham, who is asked to come back to the F.B.I to solve the case of a killer, who works in a film developing lab, stalks out his victims after he watches their home videos. I would definitely recommend it to someone.
This is an excellent book, once I started I just couldn`t put it down until it was all over. It starts with a family being murdered, watch out there is a serial killer about. The need to get into the eyes of the murdered was put to an ex phychologist, reluctently he accepts and starts the search for the serial killer, during the search the gruesome Hannibal is visited and asked about a profile of the killer. The killer is a loner with a stutter and a perculiar looking character. The story unfolds telling the details of the killer and the other characters, lots happen and I wouldn`t want ot spoil it for you in case you have not read it. It ends well. This book was made into a movie which has been shown on network television a few times, it wasn`t called red dragon, but it is based on this book, the characters have the same names and the storyline and endings are the same. Usually if you read hte book first you get disapointed in the movie, not in this case. The movie as very good, and I am struggling to remember what it was called, (maybe "in the eyes of a killer?") If you get the chance, read the book.
This book introduces us to Hannibal Lector for the first time,in what is a far superior story than Silence of the Lambs. There is a serial killer out there and he kills families,Jack Crawford,FBI,(The agent in charge on the silence of the lambs case), enlists the help of Will Graham, a retired civilian specialist who gets into the mind of the serial killer to try and figure out when he will strike next. The killer is a social misfit called Francis Dolarhyde,he has a stutter and works in a processing company. This is how he picks his victims, he sees their photographs and then studies their routines before he strikes. He also has an affinity with other serial killers and in particular, Hannibal Lector, who he communicates with through the classified ads in the newspaper. Hannibal is held in a high security prison and offers his help in tracking down Dolarhyde, however there is always a "Quid pro Quo" and Will Graham is unwilling to play along, which is understandable as Hannibal almost killed Graham hence his early retirement. Harris's effortless prose keeps the suspence and excitement at boiling point for the duration,this is by far his best novel to date and well worth a read.
From the author of Silence of the Lambs and Black Sunday, this is the book that introduces the series killer, Hannibal Lecter - a tortured, torturing monster who finds ultimate pleasure in viciously murdering happy families.