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Red Dragon by Thomas Harris
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Red Dragon (original 1981; edition 1993)

by Thomas Harris

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6,03755691 (3.8)92
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Showing 1-5 of 54 (next | show all)
Read/Listened for Fun (Kindle/Audible)
Overall Rating: 5.00
Story Rating: 5.00
Character Rating: 5.00

Audio Rating: 3.50 (not part of the overall rating)

First Thought when Finished: This is probably my 5th reread of Red Dragon by Thomas Harris and it still makes the hair on the back of my neck stand up!

Overall Thoughts: (Quick Review) Red Dragon is one of those books that even though you know exactly how it is going to end, it still gets to you. Very seldom is there two dynamic "bad" guys that are so brilliantly crafted. Hannibal is of course his dastardly self (I often forget this is the first book he appears in) and his level of evil is off the charts. It is also very different than Red Dragon/The Tooth Fairy. In fact, it is Francis that is fascinating to puzzle out. His back story is as twisted as his crimes. Will Graham has always been my favorite profiler. Sorry Clarice fans but Will is just more fascinating all around. The way his mind works is as interesting as the criminals he chases. This book is twisted and scary. Just how I like my serial killers!

Audio Thoughts:

Narrated By Alan Sklar / Length: 12 hrs and 6 mins

I thought Alan did a great job with Will and Francis but his Hannibal was a little off. That being said, overall I loved his pacing and deliverance of the story. I would listen to this again!

Final Thoughts: If you like scary (in a human not paranormal type of way) then read Red Dragon! ( )
  thehistorychic | Aug 14, 2014 |
This was a book I cheated on a lot, which means I put it to pick up (and finish) other books, so it took me a while to finish Harris' debut Hannibal Lecter novel. Harris writes frugally, but smartly, and I admire him for that. However, a majority of the story was ruined for me because I had seen the film previously (it is mediocre, don't watch it). However, Harris has a much better version of the ending than the film does. ( )
  marthaearly | Jun 6, 2014 |
A flawed but extremely impressive novel. I can see why the Hannibal Lecter mythos has been so enduring.

I could probably complain about certain aspects of this book all day long -- the clunky writing, the dearth of female characters who aren't sex objects, the unnecessary head-hopping and the unnecessarily intimate look at the psychology of the ostensible antagonist... but the things it got right, it got so right that I was willing -- nay, eager! -- to overlook the rest.

Harris knows what's at the heart of this story: the game being played by three men, two of whom are serial killers and two of whom are experts on serial killers. The Tooth Fairy/Red Dragon has no idea he's playing a game. Will Graham doesn't want to play, but understands the necessity. And then there's Hannibal Lecter, sitting in the middle, supposedly powerless but still the puppetmaster here.

My introduction to this world was (recently) through the TV show Hannibal, and I hadn't quite realized until reading this exactly how faithful, in a way, it is to the source material. Unfortunately, it, too, sometimes falls flat when it comes to the trappings: pacing, particularly, is a problem on the show, and every episode hits you with the symbolism Mack truck. But the show, too, Gets It when it comes to the important stuff.

The important stuff is Graham and Lecter, both trying to get something from the other without giving too much away. And Graham, hunting monsters while secretly fearing he is one (or is becoming one) himself. For that, Harris (and Fuller) get lots of points, and lots of leeway to perform below expectations in other areas. ( )
  ellen.w | Jun 1, 2014 |
A flawed but extremely impressive novel. I can see why the Hannibal Lecter mythos has been so enduring.

I could probably complain about certain aspects of this book all day long -- the clunky writing, the dearth of female characters who aren't sex objects, the unnecessary head-hopping and the unnecessarily intimate look at the psychology of the ostensible antagonist... but the things it got right, it got so right that I was willing -- nay, eager! -- to overlook the rest.

Harris knows what's at the heart of this story: the game being played by three men, two of whom are serial killers and two of whom are experts on serial killers. The Tooth Fairy/Red Dragon has no idea he's playing a game. Will Graham doesn't want to play, but understands the necessity. And then there's Hannibal Lecter, sitting in the middle, supposedly powerless but still the puppetmaster here.

My introduction to this world was (recently) through the TV show Hannibal, and I hadn't quite realized until reading this exactly how faithful, in a way, it is to the source material. Unfortunately, it, too, sometimes falls flat when it comes to the trappings: pacing, particularly, is a problem on the show, and every episode hits you with the symbolism Mack truck. But the show, too, Gets It when it comes to the important stuff.

The important stuff is Graham and Lecter, both trying to get something from the other without giving too much away. And Graham, hunting monsters while secretly fearing he is one (or is becoming one) himself. For that, Harris (and Fuller) get lots of points, and lots of leeway to perform below expectations in other areas. ( )
  ellen.w | Jun 1, 2014 |
the relationship between Will Graham and the work is extremely interesting, because of course entering into the mind of the subjects requires him to think the same, and that's very much his natural bent anyway. is he repressing, or simultaneously accepting/rejecting these aspects of himself when he goes there? most likely. he needs a line, but there's no line every time he enters in. so he needs, and he knows he needs, to stop. and when he stops, he's almost happy. well, except for that repressed anger thing and how it works, but he doesn't know that's how it works, because he tries so hard not to go there.

and this raises serious questions about Jack Crawford as his mentor/handler, who knows very well exactly where he's sending the fragile Will every time he fishes him out of paradise and sends him in. and then ups the ante every time by staking him out as the goat. oh, it's a logical choice all right, every time, which is why Will accedes to it, but over time it's a pattern. and every time Will almost dies, while Crawford's standing well back. it's almost like Jack is trying to send this fragile personality over the edge into the dark. where he will then become legitimate prey.

the newspaperman actually dies, horribly and predictably, and nobody really cares that they set it up that way. and Graham, who hated him, may have known quite well on some level he was sealing his fate on the tape when he treated him as the partner he wasn't. repressed anger, right. he gets rude when he's angry. he gives gifts that aren't. on and on it goes. the wife who sees the whole thing pretty clearly cannot protect Will, from Crawford or the work, and opts out in the end. even the kid sort of sees it. (kid is named Willy - standing in for a young Will? what will he become?)

dark stuff. high-level games with serial killers who are playing games with you, and you can only play if you play by their rules in their arena. if you have the same cast of mind. if they recognize you. the stakes are high; everyone is expendable. this makes the game, really, between Hannibal and Crawford, both on the same level. neither one offers direct access to the other; they are both careful monsters. the stakes they both offer is the stake they've each got holding Will Graham down. and he's only got nine lives to give to the argument. and if he breaks under the strain, goes dark, the other side gains - i dunno, a knight rather than a pawn? great, a promotion. slim pickings for Will, with his soul and his life at stake, every single time. ( )
  macha | May 4, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 54 (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.
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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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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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