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Red Dragon by Thomas Harris
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Red Dragon (original 1981; edition 2009)

by Thomas Harris

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5,897None709 (3.8)90
Member:PaperbackPirate
Title:Red Dragon
Authors:Thomas Harris
Info:Berkley (2009), Edition: Reprint, Paperback, 464 pages
Collections:Read but unowned
Rating:****1/2
Tags:2010

Work details

Red Dragon by Thomas Harris (1981)

20th century (30) American (26) American literature (21) cannibalism (22) crime (182) crime fiction (46) ebook (16) FBI (42) fiction (605) Hannibal (37) Hannibal Lecter (146) horror (309) made into movie (25) movie (29) murder (55) mystery (158) novel (70) own (28) paperback (26) psychological thriller (17) psychology (26) read (100) serial killer (164) series (40) suspense (104) Thomas Harris (29) thriller (345) to-read (64) unread (30) USA (18)

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English (49)  Spanish (1)  All languages (50)
Showing 1-5 of 49 (next | show all)
Loved this book! Creepy and plays with your heart strings. The Red Dragon is the epitome of evil and yet you feel sympathy for him as you learn about his history and what formed him. Did he have to become the monster that he was or did the events in his life shape him? Ultimately, we are responsible for our actions, but we must also realize how our actions impact others. This book makes your think. ( )
  karen.tjebben | Jan 8, 2014 |
This one was a reread for me, so I already knew going in that I would like this book. It's billed as the first book in the Hannibal Lecter series, but in my opinion, that's just a promotional gimmick as Hannibal only appears as a minor secondary character in this story. If you���re looking for a story where Hannibal Lecter comes into his own, I highly recommend reading Silence of the Lambs.

But anyway, on to Red Dragon. The story focuses on Will Graham, a former FBI agent, who is called back into action by Jack Crawford, head of the Behavioral Science division. The FBI is on the hunt for a serial killer who has murdered two families in the last month and who has left next to no clues at the crime scene. Graham is the perfect for his job, as he has an uncanny ability to place himself inside the mind of a serial killer and learn how the killer thinks. Of course, this ability also comes with its risks, and so Graham reluctantly takes on the risks.

Graham was the agent responsible for capturing Lecter several years ago, so he has a very strong and nightmarish connection to the man. Following the wisdom of the phrase ���It takes one to know one,��� Graham speaks with Lecter in the hopes that he will offer insight into the behavior of this new serial killer who has begun calling himself the Red Dragon. And now Graham and the FBI are working against the clock to capture the Dragon before he strikes again.

Since this is a suspense/thriller novel (instead of a straight-up mystery), the reader knows the identity of the Dragon long before the FBI, but there���s still plenty of suspense packed into this story. The Dragon (otherwise known as Francis Dolarhyde) is a terrifying killer, on par with Buffalo Bill from Silence of the Lambs, and more than makes up for Hannibal���s limited presence in this story. Dolarhyde is a somewhat tragic villain, and his humanity makes him all the more frightening.

This is a very gritty book, but the psychology of each of the characters is extraordinarily well developed ��� so much so that in some places, I nearly forgot that what I was reading was fictional. Harris occasionally lapses into annoying stylistic quirks (for example, he occasionally and unexplainably switches from past tense to present tense, sometimes in the same sentence), but overall, this is a very tense and realistic thriller.

High levels of violence and language, so be wary when recommending to an unknown reader.

Readalikes: Obviously, Silence of the Lambs, which is Thomas Harris���s magnum opus. Hannibal Lecter becomes a fantastic main character in this story, and the terror is even more all-encompassing than in Red Dragon. If you liked the movie, you���re almost guaranteed to like the book ��� the movie is a very faithful adaptation.

Mystic River by Dennis Lehane. I seem to be making connections between the books I���ve recently read���not sure if that���s because I only tend to read a particular type of book, or because the books are fresh in my mind or both. Anyway, Mystic River is another gritty crime thriller, although not as much of a sensational serial killer novel as Red Dragon. However, all of the characters are so well-rounded and so complete psychologically that you feel as if you���re reading about actual people. Dennis Lehane���s writing is just as engrossing and complex as Thomas Harris���s.
( )
  coloradogirl14 | Nov 21, 2013 |
Excellently written. Very compelling page turner. Very dramatic and exciting. I will definitely be reading the next book of the series. It wasn't even as gory and violent as I had anticipated. It did cause me to lose some sleep though, but that was just because it was hard to stop reading it. ( )
  Barb_H | Nov 9, 2013 |
I enjoyed the first 3/4 of the book. Then the author did a flashback of the evil guy's childhood. It was going so well, good police procedural, action, and murder type stuff going on. The weird back story contained information used in the plot, but did not add any entertainment value. Then, after all the clever material the police investigator came up with, he missed the most obvious thing that is about to happen in the "cliff hanger" ending. Very disappointing. ( )
  mainrun | Oct 6, 2013 |
Clean prose, efficient omniscient narrative, clever plotting. A little hard to stick with the FBI when you know they're going in the wrong direction, with an ending that seems more complicated than the book has earned. Still, some of the most compelling characters of the genre. Will Graham, I love you. ( )
  victoriajakes | Sep 20, 2013 |
Showing 1-5 of 49 (next | show all)
But I have to acknowledge my gut response to Mr. Harris's thriller. It hits us in our outrage, and titillates the part of us all that would like to get rid of evil with a gun.
 

» Add other authors (35 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Thomas Harrisprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Amante, MarcoTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
López de Bullrich, ElisaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Valassaari, Risto S.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
One can only see what one observes, and one observes only things which are already in the mind. - Alphonse Bertillon
. . . For Mercy has a human heart, Pity a human face, And Love, the human form divine, And Peace, the human dress. - William Blake, Songs of Innocence (The Divine Image)
Cruelty has a Human Heart, and Jealousy a Human Face, Terror the Human Form Divine, and Secrecy the Human Dress.
The Human Dress is forged Iron,
The Human Form is fiery Forge.
The Human Face a Furnace seal'd,
The Human Heart its hungry Gorge.
-William Blake, Songs of Experience
(A Divine Image)
Dedication
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I want to tell you the circumstances in which I first encountered Hannibal Lecter, M.D.
Quotations
Information from the Dutch Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to the English one.
Men kan alleen zien wat men waarneemt, en men neemt alleen die dingen waar die al in de geest aanwezig zijn. (Alphonse Bertillon)
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Information from the Italian Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to the English one.
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Wikipedia in English (1)

Book description
Sexual hunger; demonic violence; sinister logic - the lethal components of a deadly formula driving a psychopath in the grip of an unimagin-able delusion; a boastful killer who sends the police tormenting notes; a tortured, torturing monster who finds ultimate pleasure in viciously murdering happy families, and calls himself. . . The Red Dragon.

Special agent Will Graham has been assigned to similar cases before, cases where he was able to see and feel WITH the madmen, anticipate their moves and, most terrifying of all, be vulnerable to their horrifying brutality. Now Graham is reluctantly lured out of retirement, to find an opening to the evil mind of the Red Dragon. Red Dragon is quite probably the most suspenseful, utterly compelling thriller ever written.
Haiku summary

Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0440206154, Mass Market Paperback)

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

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:59:01 -0400)

(see all 9 descriptions)

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.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

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