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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant
I read this book just after finishing The Silence Of The Lambs. I didn't get what I was expecting, I got something better. I was hoping for a bit more of Hannibal Lecter in this book. He is only in it every now and again. The story does not revolve around him, this is not a bad thing because the story is utter genius. The plot involves an FBI agent who is asked to help...
Published on 5 Aug 2001

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3.0 out of 5 stars Introducing Dr Lecter
"Red Dragon" is I think the second book Thomas Harris wrote and the first to introduce the character of Hannibal Lecter. While his writing is fast paced and easy to read it is not quite the classic that "Silence of the Lambs" has become.

I couldn't help but compare the book to the original film version "Manhunter" which sticks closely to...
Published 1 month ago by Neil Lennon


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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant, 5 Aug 2001
By A Customer
I read this book just after finishing The Silence Of The Lambs. I didn't get what I was expecting, I got something better. I was hoping for a bit more of Hannibal Lecter in this book. He is only in it every now and again. The story does not revolve around him, this is not a bad thing because the story is utter genius. The plot involves an FBI agent who is asked to help catch one more killer before he returns to his family. The killer in question is The Tooth Fairy, he butchers entire families. This is easily the equal of The Silence Of The Lambs. Contrary to most peoples opinions this book has in fact been made into a film already. The fantastic Manhunter was made in the 80's but plans are set to remake it entitled Red Dragon. Get this book, love it, then watch the film.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars First and best Lecter., 29 April 2003
By A Customer
This is Harris's first book featuring Hannibal Lecter (though he only makes brief appearances).
The story starts as former FBI agent Will Graham is brought out of retirement by his desperate boss, Jack Crawford. A serial killer, The Tooth Fairy, is murdering families. Graham has a unique gift for entering a person's psyche and estemating their next move. After using this to capture Hannible Lecter, Graham suffered mental and physical scars and left the FBI. This is only refered in the book, though it did appear in the recent movie "Red Dragon".
Graham visits Lecter in prison to retune his ability. This is the start of an excellent cat and mouse chase as Lecter tries to influence The Tooth Fairy and use him to extract revenge on Graham. While Graham is out to track down The Tooth Fairy before his next murder, which will occur at the next full moon.
This is an excellent novel stands head and shoulders above the sequels.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars even better than the other three!!!, 19 Jan 2007
By 
A reader! (Jersey, England) - See all my reviews
Red dragon is THE best of the hannibal books. I thought that i only liked the books because of the character of Hannibal Lecter, but after reading this i realised that it is infact the fantastic story lines and writing that i love. I read this after silence of the lambs and Hannibal and was initially dissapointed to learn that hannibal was only in about one chapter-but it didnt matter!!!!! The murderer is really interesting and scary too making this a really exciting and thrilling read!!! Also, Will Graham is REALLY interesting, its a shame he is olnly in one book! OOOOOOOO i must go read it again.....
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The first Hannibal Lecter book set the tone for the series, 10 Jun 1999
By A Customer
Red Dragon is the first in the series of three Hannibal Lecter books, and contains some of the best elements from the trilogy. The killer on the loose, Francis Dolarhyde, is chillingly portrayed while allowing us to feel a little sympathy towards him. He is far superior to Jame Gumb, the somewhat amateurish serial murderer in The Silence of the Lambs - if Dolarhyde and Gumb had changed books, both novels would have been improved. But, as always, Hannibal Lecter takes centre stage as the dark and mocking director of the play. He well deserves his fame.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Absolutely thrilling, 22 July 2002
By A Customer
Having already read silence of the lambs and hannibal i was suprised to discover that there was another hannibal lecter book out there that i had not heard of considering the popularity of the the other two. Due to this i was not expecting much from this book given its lack of publicity, i was pleasently supprised. Red dragon proved to be a compelling gripping story driving into the psych of a very disturbed serial killer which kept me addicted right until i got to the end of the last page. I would strongly recommend this book to anybody who has enjoyed other books by thomas harris or enjoys reading gripping psychological thriller. A must read for all.
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16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Dear Avid Fans ..., 7 Oct 2002
By 
John Mounsey "Mounsey Web Consultancy" (Sheffield, England.) - See all my reviews
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So, here we have the inevitable paperback re-issue of Thomas Harris' incredible original Hannibal Lecter novel from 1981, Red Dragon.
This particular re-release is of course to coincide with the imminent release of the big budget movie adaptation in the cinema, and Sir Anthony Hopkins' face now adorns the cover (although this will be different on the USA re-issue cover)
The novel itself should need no introduction. Despite the huge success of it's sequels - The Silence of the Lambs (SOTL) and Hannibal, Red Dragon remains Harris' finest book to date, although in fairness I have not read his first novel which was Black Sunday. However, that story did not feature Dr. Hannibal Lecter - he made his debut in this serial killer thriller.
Unlike SOTL and Hannibal, The Good Doctor spends all of his time safely behind bars in Red Dragon. This will be a turn off to fans of the other books I suspect, but the important thing to remember is that Hannibal has only a small part in this story. A crucial role, of course, but nevertheless his "on-screen" time (as it were) is very small indeed. This was accurately reflected by Michael Mann in his 1986 movie adaptation - "Manhunter" (where Brian Cox played Lecter), but I suspect that due to the casting of Hopkins for Red Dragon, this will change for the new movie version. More flashbacks are likely to feature, including Lecter's original capture I suspect.
The strength of Red Dragon is not really the introduction of Dr. Lecter in my opinion. The story has two other characters who are far more interesting, namely retired FBI investigator Will Graham and serial killer lunatic Francis Dolarhyde. Graham was the man who actually managed to put Lecter behind bars (respect!). However, his capture came at a high personal price to Graham - Lecter visciously attacked him during the arrest, which resulted in physical and mental health problems leading to his retirement. However, when a new serial killer nicknamed "The Tooth Fairy" (Dolarhyde) starts brutally murdering innocent families seemingly at random, Graham returns ...
Readers who enjoyed SOTL will be pleased to know that Jack Crawford also features in Red Dragon, but remember that these events take place before SOTL, so there's no Clarice Starling this time. Seeing as Graham is a much more interesting character however, this is not a problem as you will discover.
Plot and structure wise, Red Dragon is at times very similar to SOTL. For example, Graham visits Lecter in his cell for help, with the hope that it will lead to the capture of The Tooth Fairy. This is of course extremely similar to Starling visiting Lecter for help with the Buffalo Bill case in SOTL. Fortunately, Lecter makes no escape this time, but cunningly he still manages to harm Graham's chances, despite never leaving his cell. There are other similarities throughout, but this should not count against the overall calibre of the novel.
In conclusion, it will be interesting to see the forthcoming movie adaptation, particularly seeing as Manhunter already exists, which was itself an excellent adaptation. Make sure you read this novel though before seeing the film. Harris offers a lot of extra detail within the pages which is sure to be cut from the new film, just as it was for Manhunter. Enjoy!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars If you ever read something that scares you, this WILL be it, 11 Jan 2002
By A Customer
On the loose is a monster who's mission in life is to murder happy families and become "The Red Dragon". Explore the plot as time runs out for Will Graham and Jack Crawford hunt out the killer before the next full moon. Even as he lets you witness the detectives piecing together the evidence, Thomas Harris shows you the killer's most intimate thoughts and fears. You recieve a privalaged tour of the madman's inner psyche and his corrupt childhood, see him fight and embrace The Dragon and find love. Excellent writing, good enough, even, to make you pity the killer and his internal struggle. A singular experience for anyone who has ever found a book that makes them read compulsively yet scares them through and through.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best thriller ever , in fact the best work of fiction i have ever read., 10 May 2008
By 
russell clarke "stipesdoppleganger" (halifax, west yorks) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)    (VINE VOICE)   
Originally published in 1981Red Dragon is the first novel published ( Though chronologically it's the second book in the sequence to feature the liver muncher) to feature brilliant psychiatrist and serial killer Dr. Hannibal Lecter. An entire industry, or so it seems has sprung up around this mesmerising character yet he features sparingly in this novel. However he is a pivotal character .Not only are his cameo appearances absolutely riveting his machinations while incarcerated in a maximum security facility are pivotal to the eventual fate of the other two main protagonists. Thomas Harris does a quite exquisite job of fleshing out Lecter,s persona but the most astonishing thing about Red Dragon is that Lecter is not the only unforgettable character in it.
Will Graham, a man with an instinctive grasp of the psychology of serial killers, is called out of retirement by Jack Crawford of the FBI to help track down a serial killer known to law enforcement agencies and the press only as "The Tooth Fairy". This killer has murdered two families and is working on a lunar cycle. Time is rapidly ticking down to the night where he will kill again. Graham retired after being nearly killed by the serial killer Hannibal Lecter, who was subsequently captured in the process. Graham struggling in his task, turns to Lecter for help in tracking down The Tooth Fairy. However, Graham discovers that Lecter is manipulating not only him but also the man he is hunting.
Harris does a masterful job , with a ingenious exciting plot while simultaneously exploring the psyche of Francis Dollarhyde a man who feels he is "becoming "(Killing is part of his ritual) and feels a link to William Blake's painting "The Great Red Dragon And The Women Clothed With The Sun" .Even the minor characters are beautifully drawn , Crawford, Freddy Lounds the "Tatler" reporter , Grahams wife Molly .The only character slightly underwritten , considering what we find out about him in "Silence Of The Lambs" is Dr Chilton.
The exchanges between Graham and Lecter are absolutely enthralling, Lecter realises that Will Graham's struggle with his own nature: specifically, his ability to think and feel like a serial killer is his weakness. Grahams greatest fear is that he differs from the likes of Lecter and Dollarhyde by only the slender barrier erected by individual choice.As Lecter taunts him when he realises that Graham has come to visit him to get the scent of his prey :"Smell yourself". Is he is really a disturbed entity who chooses to block off his darker impulses? Lecter views Graham as (almost) his equal while his long distance affiliation with "The Tooth Fairy" is far less profound , relying on banal and florid compliments ."Avid Fan...you honour me".
The ending is impressively downbeat , indeed the first time I read the book I was absolutely stunned by the conclusion and the gradual denouement is brilliantly paced and never feels contrived or implausible. Red Dragon is the finest thriller I have ever read , and I have read a lot .
The ideas formulated for Red Dragon were expanded on for it's sequel "Silence Of The Lambs" -another brilliant book that further expands the sinister mystique and infamy around Lecter while superbly subverting the image of serial killers as de-humanised lunatics by concentrating on Lecter,s urbane and sophisticated persona (Something he gets carried away with in the faintly ludicrous and disappointing "Hannibal)
If , lord forbid, my house were to burn down and I had time to save one fiction book(I,ll allow myself the luxury of one fiction and one non-fiction) before the flames consumed everything I would save "Red Dragon" , not only is it the best thriller I have ever read it is the best work of fiction I have ever read.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Quite stunningly brilliant, a compelling read., 1 Jun 2000
Red Dragon is a brilliant piece of work. Thomas Harris uses a unique style of writing that can easily rank alongside the style of William Golding to suspend the reader and leave them in a complete fantasy world. The book is intelligent, gripping and in places terrifying. The only complaint one could have about this book is that Hannibal Lecter does not feature very much, but Francis Dolarhyde is in his own right a scary piece of work. The highlight of this book is Will Graham retracing the steps of the killer at the first murder scene. Despite the fact that the killer is long gone, you find yourself expecting him to jump out at any second. A triumph all round.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Introducing Dr Lecter, 6 Aug 2014
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This review is from: Red Dragon: (Hannibal Lecter) (Paperback)
"Red Dragon" is I think the second book Thomas Harris wrote and the first to introduce the character of Hannibal Lecter. While his writing is fast paced and easy to read it is not quite the classic that "Silence of the Lambs" has become.

I couldn't help but compare the book to the original film version "Manhunter" which sticks closely to the story for most of the movie. The ending of the movie however is greatly changed and in my opinion the film version is a lot better. In the book the ending is probably the weakest part, as though Thomas Harris had created a situation he didn't know how to resolve.

Hannibal Lecter makes his first appearance here but he actually adds very little to the story. The scenes involving Lecter are well written and he is as creepy as ever, but without knowing he was due to reappear in later stories his presence here seems only to provide a contrast between his own psychopathy and that of the serial killer being investigated, The Red Dragon.

As with all Thomas Harris books his ideas about serial killers and the investigative techniques of the FBI come across as very detailed and genuine. However I have read in several psychology books that Hannibal Lecter is in fact nothing like real life serial killers and you have to appreciate that this is a horror novel where the writers first priority is to provide a good scare.

Overall then this is a good enjoyable read but not one that should be taken too seriously. The ending is dissapointing and I would reccomend the movie "Manhunter" for a somewhat improved version of the story.
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Red Dragon: (Hannibal Lecter)
Red Dragon: (Hannibal Lecter) by Thomas Harris (Paperback - 7 May 2009)
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