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on 19 August 2017
In the first of the Hannibal Lecter books, Thomas Harris introduces his infamous psychiatrist in this tale of a murderous psychopath caught in the grip of a demonic delusion. Lecter is already in jail, but the FBI needs his help to catch the killer of two families. Seeking to satisfy his sexual hunger, the self-styled Red Dragon, is already planning the next murder. Short on clues, the FBI bring in semi-retired investigator Will Graham to help track the killer, but with the murders linked to the lunar cycle, time is running out.

I first read this book many years ago after seeing the Michael Mann film version (Manhunter). Although Lecter only appears briefly in this one, Harris sets the stage for the sequels, 'The Silence of the Lambs' and 'Hannibal'. He also introduces recurring characters, including Dr Chilton and Jack Crawford, and deftly keeps the tension on the boil as the police and FBI teams struggle to discover the identity of the killer.

This is a cracking good read from a master storyteller, and even if you've seen one or both movie versions, there's plenty here to keep you on the edge of your seat.
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on 11 October 2014
I have been working my way through the Hannibal world, films, TV show, books. I saw the Hannibal film first and was instantly put off because it was pretty dire. That combined with the bad reviews I read meant I went in a little skeptical. This book is not as bad as the film, or most of the negative reviews on this site. However make no mistake it is a big step down in quality from its predecessors. And therefore you are left somewhat dissatisfied. So where does it go wrong? Several places.
Firstly the characters. Clarice Starling was a courageous go getter in Silence of the Lambs, but in this book her personality seems watered down and she seems a little useless at times, not the Clarice Starling we grew to love. Also Hannibal is a weak character, which is not something I thought I'd ever say. In captivity he was thrilling, toying with characters, manipulating so forth etc. But as a free man he is forced to blend in most of the time and is just a regular Joe, obviously still remarkable clever and cultured, but still the edge has gone from his character. Ironically the one character you are supposed to hate, Mason Verger, is the only intriguing character there is.
There is also a really weird side story about a steroid using lesbian bodybuilder flirting with a straight man in an attempt to convince him to steal her brothers sperm so she can impregnate her girlfriend. No seriously I'm not kidding, that is a genuine plot thread, was a tad silly I must admit.
Also the ending is different to the film. I won't give the story away but it is even worse than the films ending, it is one of the worst endings I have ever read!
Despite the negatives there are some positives. Although Mason Vergers character is a little over the top and unbelievable he is still intriguing and is a source of conflict for the reader. Its made clear from the beginning he is an awful man, however the book does create sympathy for him and in the end you do find yourself wanting him to succeed in his despicable and disturbingly twisted plot.
Also the writing isn't all bad, there are sources of tension in the book which do keep you hooked at parts. Unfortunately the book is too long for its own good and you do force read through some dull parts.
To conclude if you like the series it's worth a read, just don't expect it to match the quality of the first two.
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on 16 March 2016
This is one of those stories which you don't ever forget. The minute you invest in the story line and characters, you find yourself drawn into this scary and intelligent world. It lives up to the hype, and went above and beyond my expectations. I haven't seen the film because I am worried it will destroy my memories of the book, but I have heard that the film is an excellent representation. I enjoyed this so much that I immediately purchased the entire 'series'. It is dark and scary, yet we still find ourselves trying to understand Lecter and his 'ways'. A truly great writer.
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on 27 October 2013
To be perfectly honest, I think I built this book up after hearing so much about it and it being a bestseller and everything. I really enjoyed the first book in this series, Red Dragon, so I was very excited to read this, but the killer isn't half as complex and interesting. Hannibal Lecter himself isn't exciting as I was expecting him to be (he wasn't mentioned much in Red Dragon so I was excited to know more about him). I would have liked to know a little more about what Lecter did before he got caught because there are a lot of random references to it throughout both books and we're just expected to know what happened. By the end of Red Dragon you kind of pieced together some of what happened when he got caught, involving WIll Graham, and the same can be said for this book. You can piece together little bits about his capture and that he was a cannibal (Hannibal the Cannibal, as people call him), but if I'm perfectly honest, this book was a little bit of a let down for me, personally. However, the storyline is still interesting and good, Harris' writing style is incredible and he's a talented guy. I don't regret buying this book, but I don't think I'd read it again.
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on 9 July 2015
Excellent book, especially for anyone who is watching the Hannibal tv series. It really helps you understand the characters as they are portrayed in the series and gives a depth to Hannibal and Will especially which is completely engrossing. Having only ever seen the Anthony Hopkins version of Silence of the Lambs, I was surprised to discover so many new things... which I will not spoil for new readers. Definitely a good buy for fans of Hannibal.
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on 23 June 2014
I read this a long time ago - probably shortly after it first appeared, and remember being knocked out then. I gave my copy away - didn't mean to, but sometimes a loan ends up that way. Recently I needed inspiration, and wanted to read something to fire me up, so bought another copy.

Oh man - I remember being impressed the first time, but reading it again I can't get over how perfect this is. The opening chapter alone heralds the entire book in a few sparse, densely written pages. And it just gets better from there on.

I was amused to read some of the other Amazon reviews from people who had seen Silence of the Lambs and then been disappointed because there's not more Lecter in this one. But there is - the entire thing is about Lecter and Graham.

Oh, and I once met Brian Cox on the top of Ben Nevis and we chatted for 20 minutes while he smoked a cigarette, and he is, in my mind, the creepiest Lecter of all. Love that film. Love the book.
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on 13 October 2014
A very good read. Not as good as Red Dragon or Silence of the Lambs but far better than Hannibal. It is an intriguing revenge story. However it does not explain the creation of the monster that is Hannibal Lector in a manner that is satisfactory. A lot of his violent actions are for revenge and not just maniacal killing. If anything you feel more sympathetic to the character than seeing him as a monster. You feel that way right up to the conclusion of the book. Good story just doesn't offer a fully satisfactory explanation of the character you would expect from an origin story.
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on 12 July 2014
I found out about Hannibal Rising after watching NBC's Hannibal. I had never been overly interested in the story of Hannibal Lecter before the TV series took my attention. Following that I watched Silence of the Lambs and Hannibal, only to discover the Prequel that was written to coincide with the film, Hannibal Rising.

I personally thought it was a befitting prequel to the story of Hannibal Lecter, and explained his life leading up to the events that take place in Red Dragon and Silence of the Lambs very well. I did however feel as though the publishers had attempted to make the book look much longer than it actually was. The font was quite large for an adults novel and I felt as though it only added to the feeling that some of it was quite rushed. That being said, I still enjoyed it as an insight into Hannibal Lecter's childhood and past, which filled in some of the blanks from the TV series.

I would recommend this book as a light read and for anyone who wants to see what made the infamous character all that he was set to become.
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on 14 February 2015
Brilliantly written and narrated. I really loved the Trilogy, especially Hannibal, it is a well written and brilliant book as they all are, Hannibal Rising has to be my ultimate favourite out of all the Thomas Harris books, the narration on the audiobook is extremely good and adds to the tale.
I wpould dearly love to see more from this author but sadly have only found one other title, aside from the Hannibal collection, that he has written, a shame as this is an extremely good writer.
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on 19 April 2018
Having watched the movie time and time again I suddenly realised I had never read the novel. I found the movie keeps fairly close to the book but with the book you see more layers than the movie. Just as incredible as the movie. A must read novel.
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