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Red Dragon Paperback – January 6, 2009
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This month's Book With Buzz: "Stranger in the House" by Shari Lapena
In this neighborhood, danger lies close to home. A thriller packed full of secrets and a twisty story that never stops - from the bestselling author of "The Couple Next Door." See more
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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
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Top customer reviews
What many don't realize is that all good story follows form, and when a good writer breaks form, they do it with intention. I myself initially railed against the idea of studying story structure, fearing this would lead to formulaic writing, however, there is a big difference between form and formula. Form creates the armature around which a work is shaped; anyone who understands the structure of poetry can attest to this. Coyne demonstrates, through the example of Silence of the Lambs, how Harris followed good story form - but in genuinely fresh ways. And that? Is the difference between an artist and a hack.
Such an excellent read, both for pure enjoyment and for studying writing craftsmanship, if you're so inclined.
This one set the standard for the modern serial killer thriller novel and it's a great book. Granted, Silence of the Lambs is a better book, but this one is great.
All that said, Hannibal was so horrid I cannot bring myself to think about it. I never even read the last installment because I was so sad over the loss of good story telling that was foisted upon me with the third installment of the Hannibal series.
Oddly, Harris didn't write Hannibal Lector as a character he meant to repeat, he states in the foreword of this edition of Red Dragon that he didn't even know Dr. Lector would show up in Silence until he'd started writing it.
Amazing, seeing as how popular the character ended up becoming. While part of that can be attributed to the great performance of Anthony Hopkins in the film adaption, it's hardly the only reason. He is a fantastically written character in the first two books.
If you haven't read Silence of the Lambs yet, I'd suggest reading this one first, although it's not necessary to follow and understand the story.
It was, but what i found was not as good as i hoped. Lecter was creepy, but more like the high school nerd who knows creepy things about you. I found hannibal to not be the sinister and wicked villain he will be, but the pathetic killer caught and confined.
The rest of the novel follows the same parts of the genre that perhaps this novel contributed to the formation of. An eccentric investigator that cant seem to piece together the significant clues that is obvious to the audiences god like vision. This knowledge is given to us through the narration by slowing down the pace and telling the story from the killers point of view, giving back story and humanizing him to make the final conclusion tense.
Ultimately, the disparate strands come together in a conclusion that leavea our protag physically damaged. The prose was easy to read, but the substance made it a slog. Besides frustration, i only experienced excitement or 'thrills' in maybe the last 20 pages where something genuinely unexpected happens. A last minute stab at plot twist that was, i concede, effective.
To say i was dissapointed is an understatement. Im not sure what i was expecting, but it actually swayed me away from reading Silence and just being content with the film.
I must say I'm extremely satisfied with the book in all possible ways. Based on how tight it felt it was obvious it had never even been read before, which is a rare sort of luxury that's hard to get even in bookstores. It came in perfect conditions, not even a single stain of any kind, no traceable damage, nothing wrong.
The Silence of the Lambs was a major page-turner and a succulent read, and that's the very least I can say. The pacing is magnificent, the prose is very simple while maintaining a sophisticated vocabulary and being profound like few others have managed. Truly an engrossing story from beginning to end. It is different to some degree to the movie, for example, Dr. Lecter behaves more sophisticated in the novel than in the book and the dialogue is simply exquisite to read over and over again. There was not a single moment I could go without reading it without thinking about it. Thomas Harris really surpassed himself by a lot compared to Red Dragon, though I must say that I liked the killer in Red Dragon a lot more than the one we see in The Silence of the Lambs. However, we get more Dr. Lecter than we do in Red Dragon, which surpasses both killers by plenty.
I very strongly recommend this book from this seller. I am so satisfied I would dare buy it again because truly, this is one rare luxury.