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Red Dragon Hardcover – May 22, 2000
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“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
About the Author
Thomas Harris is a #1 New York Times bestselling author. His first novel, Black Sunday, was published in 1975, followed by a series of suspense novels featuring cannibalistic serial killer Hannibal Lecter, including Red Dragon, The Silence of the Lambs, Hannibal, and Hannibal Rising.
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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.
Harris does an excellent job of showing Dolarhyde’s evolution from unwanted baby into adult serial killer.
Fascinated with serial killer books, I devoured RED DRAGON and SILENCE OF THE LAMBS a couple of decades ago, along with every Patricia Cornwell book I could get my hands on. Recently, on the recommendation of a good friend, I binged watched all three seasons of the television show Hannibal, which is based on Harris’s works. When I reread RED DRAGON, all of the characters morphed into the brilliant portrayals of the television cast of Hannibal. The ghosts of character incarnations from the previous films are forever banished from my brain. Thomas Harris created memorable characters, which Bryan Fuller made magic.
I’ve got all my fingers and toes crossed that Fuller continues to reimagine Thomas Harris’s books and has the opportunity to bring his vision to life on the big or small screen with his phenomenal cast. In the meantime, I plan to continue forward with Harris’s books. My rating of four stars is for the novel, RED DRAGON. Five shining stars for Bryan Fuller’s adaptation, which delves deep into all the character’s psyches’.
Clarice Starling, on the other hand, was a pleasant surprise. Here's a character that is clearly smart and resourceful, but Thomas Harris manages to convey it in such a way that she doesn't seem like a Mary Sue. Making her a rookie still studying at the Academy while handling this case, along with all the restrictions that inexperience and lack of prestige in the Bureau brings, helps to counter her abilities and allows us to feel identified with her character, and to root for her. That she's paired against (or with, in a certain way) Hannibal Lecter, and still hold her own without seeming forced or unrealistic, is proof positive of the quality of Harris's writing. Absolutely loved this book.
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?