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17 of 17 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

versus
2.0 out of 5 stars Annoying
I want to start of by saying i realise that this review is unlikely to have any baring upon anybody involved with the novel, I understand this, yet feel it necessary to make these comments regardless.

It says on the cover of the novel, when it is bought in paperback, "The novel that created Hannibal Lecter," and on the back it cries "The novel that...
Published 13 days ago by Adam


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17 of 17 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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4 of 4 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
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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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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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2.0 out of 5 stars Annoying, 20 Jun. 2015
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I want to start of by saying i realise that this review is unlikely to have any baring upon anybody involved with the novel, I understand this, yet feel it necessary to make these comments regardless.

It says on the cover of the novel, when it is bought in paperback, "The novel that created Hannibal Lecter," and on the back it cries "The novel that launched Hannibal Lecter's legacy of evil." Both statements are completely wrong. Hannibal Lecter gets nothing more than an occasional reference or glance in the novel, it is nothing really to do with him. I may have been niive of me to read this book as a prequel to the Silence of the Lambs, which was slightly better than this, but with such claims on the COVER of the book it would be an obvious assumption to make that the novel centered around the character. My hope was for the story of how Lecter was captured. I was wrong yet again. There is almost an assumption from the author that the reader knows already the story of Lecters capture, that everybody understands the sequence of events that lead to this time. He was wrong. There is a short mention of how the main heroin caught Lecter but that's it, hardly worth reading to be honest. You might as well just read about the background on the internet, it'll probably be of more interest.

Okay, away from Lecter and focusing on the story as a whole. It presented similar issues to me as Silence of the Lambs. It appears the author did not know what story he wanted, what perspective he wanted to take, which becomes increasingly annoying very quickly. Story 1: Will Graham the hero of the story, detective mastermind. Quite an interesting character, seems almost as messed up as some of the villains. Yet this is hardly touched on my the author. Instead he decides to dedicate whole chapters to the detailed analysis of a fleck of paint, or what type of mud, or something equally mundane. Now i am not a detective myself i do not understand anything that they talk about during these sessions, and really i don't need to read about them. About 90% of the time they ended up being useless anyway, what was the point? This was the detective side of the story, trying to find the killer that got bogged down and boring when too much time was spent on mundane issues.

Story 2: That of the villain. You do get to see the killers side of the story and also a bit of their background. This generally came in big clumps, almost chucked in there on a second read. Again had potential to be quite interesting if the author had decided to pursue it more, and spread it out a bit instead of about five chapters in the middle of the book.

Then story 3: the relationship between Will Graham and Hannibal Lecter, which is only ever touched upon with a little paint brush in fear of breaking it.

Ultimately, as with Silence of the Lambs the focus of the novel was wrong. Harris spends the majority of the time talking detective, don't really care, i know it's going on but i don't need to know the detail. Then almost when he gets bored of writing that he switches to the villain. Could have been so much better.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Introducing Dr Lecter, 6 Aug. 2014
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"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
Red Dragon by Thomas Harris (Mass Market Paperback - May 1999)
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