Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Red Dragon (Hannibal Lecter, #1)” as Want to Read:
Red Dragon (Hannibal Lecter, #1)
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Red Dragon

(Hannibal Lecter #1)

4.02  ·  Rating details ·  229,810 ratings  ·  3,919 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, 348 pages
Published May 22nd 2000 by Dutton (first published November 16th 1981)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Red Dragon, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions
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…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)
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg LarssonAnd Then There Were None by Agatha ChristieAngels & Demons by Dan BrownRebecca by Daphne du MaurierIn Cold Blood by Truman Capote
Best Crime & Mystery Books
5,314 books — 12,983 voters
The Shining by Stephen KingIt by Stephen King'Salem's Lot by Stephen KingDracula by Bram StokerPet Sematary by Stephen King
Best Horror Novels
1,551 books — 4,861 voters

More lists with this book...

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Rating details
Sort: Default
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
Oct 29, 2012 rated it really liked it
“What made him do it, how was he crazy?”

“He did it because he liked it. Still does. Dr. Lecter is not crazy, in any common way we think of being crazy. He did some hideous things because he enjoyed them. But he can function perfectly when he wants to.”

 photo tumblr_ndedn4ywaW1re3x32o1_500_zps9ehmvvpi.gif

Enjoyed it even more the second time!

Let me break this down for you really quickly.

Francis Dolarhyde goes a little cray-cray and thinks he is becoming the Red Dragon. Basically, he is going to take what is his with fire and blood. Err, somethin
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
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
Leo .
Dec 01, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Great book!

The Zodiac Killer. Ross Sullivan. Maybe. Who knows?
Just finished watching a documentary decoding the Zodiac Killer. A librarian, six foot two, two hundred and fifty pounds, very studious. A cryptologist. Bit of a loaner, very intelligent. Played cat and mouse with the FBI. No sexual motive. Shy around females. Left clues.

Red Dragon. Francis Dolarhyde. The Tooth Fairy. A very tall man, worked in photography, bit of a loaner, very studious, very intelligent. Played cat and mouse with FB
Mar 30, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: novel, horror, 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 this
Stephanie *Very Stable Genius*
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!
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
Ahmad Sharabiani
Red Dragon (Hannibal Lecter #1), Thomas Harris
عنوانها: اژدهای سرخ، پیش از داستان سکوت بره ها؛ نویسنده: توماس هریس؛ تاریخ نخستین خوانش: بیست و هفتم دسامبر سال 1997 میلادی
عنوان: اژدهای سرخ، نویسنده: توماس هریس؛ مترجم: فرهاد بدری زاده؛ تهران، نشر چکاوک؛ 1374؛ در 621 ص؛ چاپ دوم 1377؛ شابک: 9646043054؛ چاپ سوم 1388؛ شابک: 978964604353؛ چاپ دیگر: تهران، زرین کلک؛ 1379؛ در 621 ص؛ شابک: ایکس - 964917043؛ موضوع: داستانهای نویسندگان امریکایی - قرن 20 م
عنوان: اژدهای سرخ، نویسنده: توماس هریس؛ مترجم: سهیل صف
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
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 o ...more
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
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
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
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
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.


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
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 08, 2016 rated it really liked it
Really good, I should have gotten to this book sooner.
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
May 10, 2013 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
Melissa Chung
Jul 16, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 52-challenge
Well, I finished a day early. Gave myself a week to read this. 50 pages before the end, they got the guy and I knew there was no way I'd be able to go to sleep tonight not knowing. So, I read tomorrow's reading. I'll have to catch up with my other books, but it was so worth it. This book was a solid 4 stars. I'm not sure why it's not a 5, maybe it's because as a crime novel goes...I've read all of this before. However, I'm sure glad I finally started this series.

Red Dragon is about two main char
James Hartley
Sep 01, 2017 rated it really liked it
A good, solid thriller -a little over-cooked in places but I love it for the character of Will Crawford and his double-edged-sword ability to be able to put himself in the mind of the psychos and criminals he is tracking. Reading this years ago (I remember where, Aix-en-Provence, France, was reminded of the place as I re-read), I loved the character and the treatment of his "gift". This time was just the same - although I found the book as a whole less convincing. Was interesting to see Lecter a ...more
Dec 31, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
El mejor libro policíaco que he leído.

La participación de Lecter es muy buena, el hada de los dientes no es nada fácil de atrapar es muy inteligente y astuto.

Me encantó de principio a fin, uno de mis libros favoritos de siempre.
Jul 13, 2013 rated it it was amazing
And that's exactly why I loved it.

Off to the next one.
3.5 stars.

I'm so glad I finally got around to reading some Thomas Harris, because I thoroughly enjoyed Red Dragon, the first in the famous Hannibal Lecter series. I was already somewhat familiar with the plot, having seen the film adaptation Manhunter many years ago, but as I knew it wasn't wholly loyal to the source text, I knew this was going to have to be a must-read.

It took me a little while to get into this book, if I'm being completely honest. Thomas Harris clearly researches his subjects
Nov 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing
How many books with twist endings can I read and still be so shocked? The ending of this book shook me to my core, what every great mystery book should do.

Fair warning: the violence in this book is graphic, so tread lightly.

I don't have all much to say on this book, because I am still blown away and still unable to sleep through the night since picking it up. Every little noise has been enough to make me jolt awake. This isn't a book about an alternate universe where things are screwed up, this
Jun 15, 2017 rated it it was ok
Basically everyone knows this book and what it is about, so no reason for a big detailed review for it.

That, and the fact that I didn't care for it enough. It was alright, it was engaging while I was reading, but really didn't leave much of an impression. The movie had a much bigger impact on me.
J.D. Barker
Dec 02, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Thomas Harris is an absolute master.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
UCAS English 10 H...: August Novel Asignment 1 20 Sep 13, 2017 02:34PM  
Drink & Discuss: May 2017: Red Dragon 2 8 May 05, 2017 09:26AM  
Letras Macabras: Dragón Rojo, de Thomas Harris 16 67 Mar 24, 2017 04:23AM  
Horror Aficionados : Hannibal 252 381 Mar 23, 2017 05:37AM  
Goodreads Librari...: Spanish description for English Edition 2 17 Sep 19, 2016 04:21PM  
Around the Year i...: Red Dragon, by Thomas Harris 8 38 Jun 16, 2016 01:01AM  
  • The Dramatist (Jack Taylor, #4)
  • Ghoul  (Special X, #2)
  • Jaws
  • A Simple Plan
  • Shutter Island
  • Floating Dragon
  • Fludd
  • Deadline (Newsflesh Trilogy, #2)
  • In the Flesh (Books of Blood #5)
  • Boom!
  • Fatal Voyage (Temperance Brennan, #4)
  • The Ceremonies
  • Legion
  • Primal Fear
  • Crocuses and Blackbirds: Free Preview of Part 1 (The Golden Path Quintet #1)
  • The Getaway
  • Different Seasons
  • The Straw Men
Librarian Note:
There is more than one author in the Goodreads database with this name. This is Thomas^^^Harris

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

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)
“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.” 166 likes
More quotes…