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Red Dragon Paperback – January 6, 2009
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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 --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
“The best popular novel to be published in America since The Godfather.”—Stephen King
“Red Dragon is an engine designed for one purpose—to make the pulse pound, the heart palpitate, the fear glands secrete.”—The New York Times Book Review
“A gruesome, graphic, gripping thriller...Extraordinarily harrowing.”—The Cleveland Plain Dealer
“Want to faint with fright? Want to have your hair stand on end? Want to read an unforgettable thriller with equal parts of horror and suspense? Harris was obviously only warming up with his best seller Black Sunday.”—New York Daily News
“Irresistible...A shattering thriller...Readers should buckle themselves in for a long night’s read because from the first pages...Harris grabs hold.”—Publishers Weekly
“The scariest book of the season.”—The Washington Post Book World
“Easily the crime novel of the year.”—Newsday
Top customer reviews
It's hard to get the image of Sir Anthony Hopkins out of your head when reading, but it didn't distract or detract me from the story. It plays out much the same as the movie but it is tighter and paced well. The characters are all well drawn and unlike a lot of thrillers in this genre, you actually find yourself rooting for Dr. Lecter...or at least I did! Granted I still wouldn't like to be invited to one of his dinner parties!
If you've never seen the movie, definitely start with the books. If you've already seen the movies, what are you waiting for?
The bottom line: while it lacks the pace, intensity and character development of its sequel, I found the first installment in the Hannibal Lecter series no less engrossing and suspenseful.