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Red Dragon (Hannibal Lecter #1)

3.99  ·  Rating Details  ·  176,847 Ratings  ·  2,708 Reviews
Will Graham stands in a silent, empty house communing with a killer. An FBI instructor with a gift for hunting madmen, Graham knows what his murderer looks like, how he thinks, and what he did to his victims after they died. Now Graham must try to catch him. But to do it, he must feel the heat of a killer's brain, draw on the macabre advice of a dangerous mental patient, D ...more
Hardcover, 348 pages
Published May 22nd 2000 by Dutton (first published November 16th 1980)
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Jess It depends on how sensitive you are to subjects of gore and violence (it can be very graphic in some parts). I read it when I was about 16 but I am a…moreIt depends on how sensitive you are to subjects of gore and violence (it can be very graphic in some parts). I read it when I was about 16 but I am a huge fan of horror. I would not recommend it if you are sensitive to religious or violent themes. There are also some explicit sexual references so I would leave it till you're older but you know yourself.(less)
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When it comes to Hannibal Lecter, I’m like one of those music hipster douche bags that everyone hates because I’ll snootily declare that I knew about him long before most people did and that he’s sucked ever since he got really famous.

I’d read this years before the book of The Silence of the Lambs came out and led to the excellent film adaptation that skyrocketed Hannibal to the top of pop culture villains. Hell, I’m so Hannibal-hip that I’d caught Brian Cox playing him in Michael Mann’s adapta
WARNING: Shameless Hannibal fangirl GIFspam.

Since I've become a fan of the TV show Hannibal, I thought it was appropo to re-read the book that inspired it. It's been years, and I'd forgotten practically everything about both the book and the Edward Norton/Ralph Fiennes movie. Even so, it wasn't like I was reading it fresh. Hannibal Lecter's become such a part of the pop culture that I had expectations, also intensified by the fact that Hannibal kicks total ass. (WATCH EEEEEET!)

Comparing the show
May 17, 2013 Stephanie rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2013, horrifying
Now that I’ve just finished reading this book, I feel the need to scrub parts of my brain with steel wool for the purpose of removing certain scenes that Thomas Harris has so rudely embedded there. Thanks a bunch Tom!

Will Graham has the rotten luck at being really good at his job. He is a profiler for the FBI and while he was on the job catching Dr. Hannibal Lecter, Lecter caught him with a big sharp knife. Will decides that was enough for him, so he makes the wise decision to retire.

But nooo!
Is it heresy to say that I liked both film versions better than I liked the book? Probably, but it's true.

Thomas Harris isn't the finest writer in the world, and I think even he'd acknowledge that, but he is full of great ideas, and Red Dragon is absolutely one of his best.

I think the mark of how great his ideas are is that they almost always make a compelling transfer to the screen, and Red Dragon has made that transition twice: once as Michael Mann's Manhunter and once as the more faithful Re
Benjamin Stahl
I think I recall Stephen King - or somebody - once writing that Thomas Harris could tell a great story, but that he was a terrible writer. When I began this book, I could not agree more. Things start off very slowly, and the book's thriller/suspense engine seems to be running flat. The villain (can we really call him a "villain" though?) is the only character that feels at all interesting - and I guess Hannibal is good, but I prefer the Hopkins version in the films. But after a little while, if ...more
Rosa, really
**now with more Hannibal gifs**

This book is narrated by Prince Humperdinck.

(aka Chris Sarandon, Susan's ex.)

It's possible I would've enjoyed this one more if I'd read/listened to it before watching the TV show Hannibal . I just couldn't get all excited over a Will and Hannibal that weren't totally gay for each other.

Though I must say, I do love Anthony Hopkins as classic!Hannibal. He's absolutely perfect for the character as he's presented in this book. I just truly, deeply and sincerely heart
Erin (Paperbackstash) *Proud Book Hoarder*

Meet Will Graham, the man known as the one who finally nabbed the infamous Hannibal Lecter, coined Hannibal the Cannibal by the press and public. Almost killed in that line of glory, he has taken to retirement - a peaceful existence with woman, child, and beachfront. Crawford comes in to stir up the happy home, convincing Will to come into the dark shadows one more time so that he can nab a new killer.

After overdosing on the show Hannibal for two weeks, I was excited to dig into this book, hopin
Aug 21, 2014 Willow rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horror
I have been avoiding Thomas Harris’ books for years because I thought they would be too gruesome. But really, this book isn’t bad at all.

Red Dragon starts out as a mystery, turns into a character study, and then ends up as kind of a thriller. I think Harris has kind of a ghoulish sense of humor which probably comes out the most in Hannibal Lector. Yet if you’re looking for Hannibal, he barely makes an appearance in this. Mostly the book about is about a very sympathetic serial killer (isn’t tha
Jan 03, 2009 Amy rated it really liked it
Our darkest fears come to life in this riveting novel as we follow the case of the "Tooth Fairy," a serial killer on the loose who targets suburbian families as his victims. Will Graham, an FBI agent assigned to the case because of his unique ability to break inside the head of the killer, enlists the help of Hannibal Lecter, the criminally insane and exceptionally brilliant killer we met in Silence of the Lambs (incidently, this novel precedes that novel and film).

If you want to be thrilled,
Apr 15, 2015 Elena rated it it was amazing
And that's exactly why I loved it.

Off to the next one.
Mar 26, 2014 Joanna rated it really liked it
Shelves: 1980s, crime, amurika
Well, I haven't read this since middle school, the first time I was obsessed with Hannibal Lecter. OMG, he's like a evil Niles Crane, how can I resist? Epitome of sexiness, yes? All that wine and opera and expensive suits and being snobby about stuff I don't care about. I have no idea why I am so attracted to that. Cheekbones, maybe? Oh, and he kills people. And eats them. uh... well he's meant to be a creepily seductive character, can't help it, that's my excuse. Nothing like a real serial kill ...more
David "proud Gleeman in Branwen's adventuring party"
Most people were introduced to Dr. Hannibal Lecter by the "Silence of the Lambs" movie, but Lecter's legacy really began with this novel, and it's still my favorite of the series. A book that manages to be terrifying not through gore or supernatural occurrences, but simply by exploring the fractured minds of the criminally insane.

People who only saw the Red Dragon movie and didn't read this yet should be warned in advance that Hannibal Lecter has little more than a cameo appearance in this nove
Sep 13, 2007 Robotribble rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: People who like Mysteries, Detective Stories, and Hannibal Lecter.
Okay, to start off, Hannibal is in the book twice. There are only two times that you actually see him, and it upsets me greatly.

Anyway, huzzah for the dollar-rack paperback. I went to the thrift store Tuesday, came out with this and a few others, and finished it Wednesday afternoon. I read the version with a newer intro, but it doesn't have my version on Goodreads.

Why Goodreads, why have you forsaken me? :/

This book is fascinating. You actually start to feel bad for the villain, hoping that he c
Yash Sinojia
“He’s a monster. I think of him as one of those pitiful things that are born in hospitals from time to time.
They feed it, and keep it warm, but they don’t put it on the machines and it dies."

When it comes to Hannibal, my excitement rose when I saw the the 5 oscar winning 'The Silence of the Lambs' with an overwhelming performance of Anthony Hopkins as Dr.Hannibal Lecter.
All the works of Thomas Harris and the movies had made Hannibal a top pop-culture Villain. Thomas has quite a skill to blend ho
May 08, 2015 Richard rated it liked it
Shelves: thriller, horror

When you start a book in a series called “Hannibal Lector” on Goodreads you get the impression that Hannibal may be in it for the majority of the story. Well, I think he’s in it for about 6 pages worth overall. But what a 6 pages!! Whilst playing a small role he by far and away steals the show and his limited appearance reflects in my overall rating.

The story started interestingly enough and was written well which led to me reading this in only a few days overall. I did find my interest wani
Jun 25, 2013 Denna rated it really liked it
After recently finishing season 1 of NBCs Hannibal, I had high expectations of this book. Both Hugh Dancy and Mads Mikkelson expertly portrayed Will Graham and Hannibal Lecter respectively, successfully creating an interesting and rocky relationship which captured my complete attention and left me reeling ad desperate for more from episode to episode. As Hannibal is a prequel to Red Dragon and I have yet to see the movies, I was extremely interested to see how their relationship had panned out. ...more
This was my first Thomas Harris read, and it definitely won't be my last. Actually, halfway through Red Dragon, I bought the next book in the Lecter series, Silence of the Lambs.

I have always been kind of fascinated with Dr. Lecter after seeing the movie adaptation of Silence of the Lambs, (not too sure what that says about me...), so I was pretty eager to get started on the series. I have to admit, I was a little disappointed there wasn't a bit more about Lecter, but really, while he is a cent
So did I re-read this through the rose tinted glass of television's greatest unconsummated (officially) love story? Yes, yes I did. Does it change the fact that it remains one of (if not the) the most brilliantly constructed examples of the literary thriller/police procedural in modern literature? No, no it does not.

I was first introduced to Dr. Hannibal Lecter (as I imagine many of us were) via Anthony Hopkins' tour de force (and well deserved Oscar caliber) performance in the brilliant film "
Raeden Zen
Jul 02, 2014 Raeden Zen rated it really liked it
Suspenseful, Intriguing, Unique Horror Thriller

A serial killer the authorities nicknamed the "Tooth Fairy" (for his signature bite marks he leaves on his victims' bodies) has killed two seemingly random families, one in Alabama and another in Georgia. FBI agent Jack Crawford recalls his protege Will Graham - who captured the brilliant psychopath, Hannibal Lecter - to Washington to help him decipher the case before the next family dies. Will Graham is at once mysterious, talented and stubborn, bu
Branwen Sedai *of the White Ajah*
"Why shouldn't killing feel good? It must feel good to God-He does it all the time, and are we not made in His image?"

Loved this book! Just wish Hannibal was in it more than his few brief appearances. Lots of psychological thrills, lots of action, lots of emotion.

I'm super tired so I will add to this review when I am not falling asleep at my keyboard. ;)
Michael Benavidez
May 09, 2015 Michael Benavidez rated it really liked it
The Red Dragon is a twistedly amazing story. It’s fast paced, intelligent. You can tell that he did his research on practically every matter. The way things work, the psychology, everything. This is where it kind of loses it though. There seems to be so much that you need to understand and the author needs to spell out for you before he goes into it, that there seems to be large moments of info bursts. While good at times, others it just bores.
Another thing that seemed to really throw me off wa
Lori Lesko
Dec 21, 2015 Lori Lesko rated it it was amazing
Great read. It was a good thing I saw the movie Silence of the Lambs first or I would've had a more difficult time dealing with the gruesome descriptions.

Brilliant suspenseful writing by Harris, not a dull moment in the book. I only wish Haniable Lector played more of a role.
Dec 24, 2015 MiLi rated it it was amazing
Shelves: ficcion, suspenso, crimen
Me gustó tanto que desearía no haber visto las películas antes.

Sin dudas, es uno de los libros de suspenso que más me gustó en la vida. La manera de escribir de Thomas Harris es clara, sin vueltas, muy liviana y va llevando al lector a través de la historia con una facilidad increíble.

La historia se centra en un investigador retirado del FBI que vuelve a resolver una serie de crímenes conectados con uno de los asesinos más impresionantes del siglo: Hannibal Lecter. Como creo que todos más o meno
Querus Abuttu
Sep 30, 2012 Querus Abuttu rated it really liked it
"Funerals often make us want sex—
--it’s one in the eye for death." (Thomas Harris; Red Dragon)

The character of Will Graham reminded me of myself as I read this novel. "He didn't want a face aimed at him all the time." He described the morgue as a peaceful place, and it is. I've been there. It's place where the dead don't complain. Where the world might smell bad, but the science makes sense.


I don't know why people continue to call the smell of blood "coppery." It's not. It smells lik
Jan 06, 2009 Susan rated it it was amazing
Shelves: re-reads
Glad I re-read this one. I'd forgotten how much I enjoyed it.

RED DRAGON was the first (published) installment in the series of four books surrounding Hannibal Lecter. We don't see much of the good doctor in this book, though he's obviously never far from the thoughts of Will Graham and, therefore, the reader. Like the second installment of the series, SILENCE OF THE LAMBS, Lecter is merely a secondary character, a serial killer on the loose leads us to him. It takes a killer to know one, and esp
Will Errickson
Nov 08, 2013 Will Errickson rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A masterful work of psychological and indeed physical terror. Thomas Harris's brilliantly understated yet precise prose elevates RED DRAGON from pop thriller to a somber rumination on morality and violence. Francis Dolarhyde is a psychopath unlike any other in fiction. Will Graham is the FBI profiler after him, at a time when serial killer profiling was still a half-formed science. Harris keeps the suspense taut and the narrative will scoop you up, breathless and fascinated. Neither of its movie ...more
Edward Lorn
Apr 08, 2015 Edward Lorn rated it it was amazing
I read Red Dragon over a decade ago, and, while I have no need to reread it (I remember every little cringe-inducing detail), it has popped up on my 17 Books for People Who Hate People Reading Challenge. So here's a review.

I don't think there's a single bad thing to be said about Red Dragon. It's one of the only thrillers that ever truly scared me. The killer and his "becoming" has stayed with me for ten-plus years, and I firmly believe it's the best book in the Hannibal Lecter series. Silence o
Sandy *The world could end while I was reading and I would never notice*
This is one of those books I re-read every couple of years, and the standard by which I measure all other books of this genre.

A good grisly read!

I have read the whole 4 of the series, but only re-read #1 and 2, being somewhat disappointed in Hannibal and Hannibal Rising.
Nhi Nguyễn
Thực sự không hay bằng “Sự im lặng của bầy cừu”, không có được sự lưu loát tuyệt đối trong mạch truyện cũng như việc diễn đạt các chi tiết nhiều khi còn quá dài dòng, khó hiểu, khiến tôi phải đọc đi đọc lại một đoạn nhiều lần mới có thể nắm được ý tác giả muốn nói gì (không biết có phải do Nhã Nam dịch chưa thoát hết ý, chưa làm bật lên được tinh hoa của bản truyện gốc hay không…), và nếu ai muốn được chứng kiến sự thông minh sắc lạnh đến mức rợn người mà thu hút khó cưỡng của bác sĩ tâm thần Ha ...more
Jan 05, 2016 Zaki rated it liked it
Dr. Hannibal Lecter is a brilliant criminally insane psychiatrist who happens to eat people. Another serial killer is introduced known as the Tooth Fairy who goes on random killing sprees and has a slight predilection towards a William Blake painting. In order to capture him, FBI agent Will Graham has to delve into the mind of this violent psychopath. It's all very gruesome.
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Thomas Harris began his writing career covering crime in the United States and Mexico, and was a reporter and editor for the Associated Press in New York City. His first novel, Black Sunday, was printed in 1975, followed by Red Dragon in 1981, The Silence of the Lambs in 1988, Hannibal in 1999, and Hannibal Rising in 2006.
More about Thomas Harris...

Other Books in the Series

Hannibal Lecter (4 books)
  • The Silence of the Lambs  (Hannibal Lecter, #2)
  • Hannibal (Hannibal Lecter, #3)
  • Hannibal Rising (Hannibal Lecter, #4)

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“It's fear, Jack. The man deals with a huge amount of fear.'
Because he got hurt?'
No, not entirely. Fear comes with imagination, it's a penalty, it's the price of imagination.”
“It's hard to have anything isn't it? Rare to get it, hard to keep it. This is a damn slippery planet.” 140 likes
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