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Red Dragon

(Hannibal Lecter #1)

4.02  ·  Rating details ·  294,674 ratings  ·  5,521 reviews
A second family has been massacred by the terrifying serial killer the press has christened "The Tooth Fairy." Special Agent Jack Crawford turns to the one man who can help restart a failed investigation: Will Graham. Graham is the greatest profiler the FBI ever had, but the physical and mental scars of capturing Hannibal Lecter have caused Graham to go into early retireme ...more
Hardcover, 454 pages
Published May 22nd 2000 by Dutton (first published November 16th 1981)
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Sarthak Parajulee "Fear comes with imagination, it's a penalty, it's the price of imagination." -Dr. Bloom…more"Fear comes with imagination, it's a penalty, it's the price of imagination." -Dr. Bloom(less)
A You won't miss out on any essential plot you would need in order to read Silence of the Lambs, but you will miss out on an amazing book with pretty co…moreYou won't miss out on any essential plot you would need in order to read Silence of the Lambs, but you will miss out on an amazing book with pretty cool characters and interesting murders.

The only upside I can see to not reading this book would be that you don't experience the emptiness of no longer reading from Will Graham's perspective once you're done with this one, even though Clarice is great too :)(less)
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Average rating 4.02  · 
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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
May 14, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ebook
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
I wish I'd read the book, before watching the movies. About half-way through the novel, my copy of Manhunter came crashing through the letterbox. The dvd incorporated a 54-page booklet: Michael Mann's HeadGames by Steven Paul Davies.


The Making of the Film.
An Interview with Brian Cox.
The Thomas Harris Sequels.
Michael Mann - Cult Hero.
Michael Mann Filmography.
Manhunter Credits.

Ex-FBI Profiler, Will Graham, is dragged out of early retirement, when a second family is slain
David Putnam
Apr 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Loved this book. This book is vivid and very memorable. It precedes Silence of the Lambs, (another great read). A movie, Manhunter was based on this book. Michael Mann directed (love Mann movies). Its a great movie but the book, as always, was better. The point of view of the antagonist was beautifully realized and that's what made the book so chilling. The chase of the antagonist--the hunt kept me reading long into the night. The way Harris slowly layered in the clues was brilliant. The method ...more
Ahmad Sharabiani
Red Dragon (Hannibal Lecter #1), Thomas Harris

In 1975, Will Graham, a brilliant criminal profile of the FBI, captured the serial killer Hannibal Lecter. However, Graham suffered serious injuries from the encounter and retired afterwards.

Four years later in 1979, a serial killer nicknamed "The Tooth Fairy" stalks and murders seemingly random families during sequential full moons.

He first kills the Jacobi family in Birmingham, Alabama, then the Leeds family in Atlanta, Georgia. Two days after th
Apr 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2019, buddy-read
5 stars! ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Back in 1981, Thomas Harris introduced us to a character that will be well known for generations to come. Dr. Hannibal Lecter is this character and he’s been involved with multiple books, movies and a now a TV show.

Red Dragon first brings us this character after being caught by FBI profiler, Will Graham. Dr. Lecter is living in isolation while in prison and Will Graham needs his help.
Another serial killer is on the loose and Graham must go confront Lecter to get help understan
Red Dragon opens to Will Graham on the beach behind his Florida home, his wife and stepson close by. But it's the visiting Jack Crawford who holds Will's attention at the moment. Within these first pages you come to understand the recent violent history of Graham's past with the FBI. That he has taken a life and nearly lost his own to the hands of the Hannibal Lecter we shouldn't yet know (but of course we do since this book was written in 1981); that Graham has removed himself from that past – ...more
May 31, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Red Dragon by Thomas Harris is the first in the Hannibal Lector series. My god what a creepy start it is.
The addiction for this book starts right from the first page and keeps you gripped untill the last, we only get snippets of Hannibal and when he does show you can just feel the chills forming 😲
Francis Dolarhyde (red dragon ) is a terrible and despicable,creepy psychopath (which nobody wants to meet ) but doesn't have that lector way about him.
This is a sinister, heart palpitating book which h
Mar 30, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: horror, novel, detective
Hannibal Lecter rises!

This is the first novel about Dr. Hannibal Lecter, introducing the character.


You never know what path a novel will take, specially when this becomes the beginning of a book series.

When you're reading you could think that Will Graham would be the "hero" of this book series, but the tremendous success of Dr. Hannibal Lecter, even before the filming of The Silence of the Lambs (based on the sequel book), it was clear that the "good guy" won't the "hero" of t
Stephanie *Eff your feelings*
Apr 06, 2013 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!
Johann (jobis89)
Apr 02, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
4.5 stars. This was wild! Loved it. Full review to come.
Feb 21, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: february-2018, movie
I was a huge fan of the underrated & underappreciated tv show Hannibal. Which served as a prequel to the Hannibal Lecter series. It explored the relationship between Will Graham an F.B.I. profiler and Dr. Hannibal Lecter the gentleman cannibal & serial killer. I loved the cat & mouse game between the two, it a much more fascinating and complex relationship than the more famous relationship between Hannibal & Clarice Starling. I hadn't watched the movie version of Red Dragon(the one named Red Dra ...more
Apr 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
For some unbeknown reason I’d never gotten around to reading this series.
Lecter is such an iconic and fascinating character, even though it’s hard not to conjure up and image of Hopkins portrayal when thinking of him. It’s still a series I really should have read by now...

Though Red Dragon introduces the character, it’s really just that - a small cameo that peaks the interest and it’s not surprising that he would later return.

The story’s main focus is former FBI agent Will Graham having retired
Sep 08, 2012 rated it really liked it
Memories of Grandmother, ghastly vestiges lingering years after her death.  Her hideously malformed dentures are still contained in a glass by her bed, an ancient wheelchair bides its time in the corner.  Decades earlier, a young boy has been situated under the dining table amongst a virtual forest of oldsters' blue-veined legs.  Unwanted, unloved, deformed, and ugly.  Now that he is grown, it isn't much of a leap to surmise he has turned into an individual who is warped and twisted, scarred in ...more
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 once saying Thomas Harris could tell a great story, but he was a terrible writer. When I began this book, I could not have agreed more. Things start off very slowly, and the book's thriller/suspense engine seems to be running on a low tank. The villain (can we entirely 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 you manage to ...more
Aug 09, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
In which Jack Crawford thinks it's a good idea to get help from Will Graham in a 'just one more case' style. A serial killed, named 'the Tooth Fairy' (at first) has killed two families, and he's asking Graham's help in finding the killer before he strikes again. Some help comes from the killer Graham caught before, one named Hannibal Lecter (this is not the novel where he shows up a lot, but I can see how he became popular already from here).

I have seen the older movie of this book, though I don
Dannii Elle
Actual rating 3.5/5 stars. This is the first instalment in the Hannibal Lecter series.

The Red Dragon is lurking. Each full moon sees him strike at unsuspecting families, invading their homes and murdering them in their beds. None can stop him. None, that is, but Will Graham. He returns from retirement to once again enter the mind of a serial killer. Something he swore to avoid since his mind brushed against that of the renowned Hannibal Lecter. But even more of him will soon come into contact wi
Edward Lorn
May 13, 2012 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
Cody | CodysBookshelf
Nov 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
Like a poisonous snake on the attack, this novel bites again and again and again, leaving its victim shaken and disturbed. I am somehow one of the only people in the known universe who had never read anything by Thomas Harris — I’ve remedied that, and am now moving on to this book’s follow-up, Silence of the Lambs.

Hard case mystery and bloody tale of the macabre in equal measure, Harris explores the sociopathic psychology without fear or hesitation: Frances Dolarhyde and Dr. Hannibal Lecter com
Alex ☣ Deranged KittyCat ☣
Once upon a time, there was a little girl who saw The Silence of the Lambs. I don't know what her parents were thinking letting her watch such a movie, but she never forgot the opening scene, with Clarice running. She did not have the stomach to watch the more gruesome scenes, and I don't blame her. She wasn't even 10 (seriously, she has some effed up parents). But the little girl grew into a deranged teenager who fell in love with Hannibal Lecter. So she read everything she could about him.


Ashley Daviau
Feb 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I’ll admit, I watched both the movies and the tv show before getting around to reading this series. I’m slightly ashamed of that because the books are heaps better than either the show or the movies although I loved those as well and they’re definitely what got me into Hannibal in the first place. The books are in a league of their own though! I was completely drawn in right from the very first page and despite having a slight idea of the story (There are MAJOR difference between books/movies/tv ...more
Erin *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
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
Dec 05, 2018 rated it liked it
I do not care about serial killers.

Don’t get me wrong, I love true crime shit – like everybody else in the world, I was deeply obsessed with Serial for about a month and then forgot about it, and I briefly got really into the JonBenet Ramsey case – but serial killers themselves are deeply uninteresting to me. I am not one of those people who’s fascinated by the psychology of a serial killer, mainly because the answer is usually pretty boring: nine times out of ten, the answer to “but why did th
Ashish Iyer
Mine is a late entry into the world of Hannibal Lecter, and I regret it, but better late than never. Brilliant narration from Thomas Harris, kept me on the edge. I was fervently perusing the pages, hoping against hope that the Tooth Fairy, pardon me, Dragon, would not hunt down Graham. The pacing was perfect and never for a moment did Harris digress from the plot and neither it lead to the dreary repetition of psychological/crime thrillers.

Eagerly looking forward to read the rest of the novels i
Apr 13, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: most-loved
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Jun 28, 2020 rated it really liked it
Excellent introduction to Dr. Hannibal Lecter....psychiatrist and mass murderer. (Dangerous even while incarcerated at the Baltimore State Hospital for the criminally insane.)

If you don't know who he is and aren't sure if you can stand being totally creeped out with despicable practices of butchery, RED DRAGON is probably not for you.

But, if you want to meet a man haunted by demons of his past and an evil presence....want to read an exceptional serial murder mystery with an equally exceptional

Taylan Berk
Feb 05, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2019
Welp, for the first %65 and the last %10 this book was simply amazing, there was some obvious filler in between and the ending was disappointing after the great build up. But all in all it was a solid read that kept me interested in for the most part.
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Librarian Note:
There is more than one author in the Goodreads database with this name.

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 Risin

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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Summer is a great time to lose yourself in a page-turning mystery. To help you sleuth out a new read, we asked five of the season’s hottest...
71 likes · 29 comments
“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.” 185 likes
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