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Will Graham was a brilliant profiler of criminals for the FBI - until he suffered terrible injuries in the process of capturing Dr Hannibal 'the Cannibal' Lecter.

Years later, a serial killer nicknamed 'the Tooth Fairy' is massacring entire families each full moon. With the FBI desperate for progress, Will reluctantly agrees to consult. But he soon realises that he alone can't crack the case; he needs the help of the only mind even better than his own at understanding the mentalities of psychopaths.

The mind of Hannibal Lecter.

But Hannibal is playing his own twisted game from the asylum for the criminally insane. Will isn't alone in getting advice from the cannibal. So is the Tooth Fairy - the man haunted by visions of the murderous Red Dragon...

432 pages, Paperback

First published October 1, 1981

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About the author

Thomas Harris

39 books6,956 followers
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 Rising in 2006.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 6,873 reviews
Profile Image for Kemper.
1,390 reviews6,824 followers
August 9, 2016
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 adaptation Manhunter, and I didn’t just see it on VHS like all the other late-comers, I actually saw it in the theater. Twice! (I’m pretty sure this is the literary equivalent of claiming to have seen a band in a bar with eleven other people long before their first record deal.)

So after Thomas Harris and Hollywood ran the character into the ground after the second movie, it’s been years of shaking my head and saying, “Man, nothing’s been the same since Anthony Hopkins gave his Oscar acceptance speech.”

Since I felt like Harris was just cashing in and had pretty much ruined Hannibal in the process, I hadn’t felt the urge to revisit Red Dragon or The Silence of the Lambs in some time. I was more than skeptical about the NBC prequel TV series Hannibal, but great reviews and the involvement of Bryan Fuller got me to check it out. Not only has it been incredibly good and returned Hannibal Lecter to his creepy best, it’s clever use of events referenced as backstory in Red Dragon had me digging out my copy to refresh my memory. Even better, the show has given me a new appreciation for an old favorite and reminded me what I found compelling about it to begin with.

Will Graham was a profiler for the FBI until he was badly injured while identifying a certain gourmet serial killer whose name conveniently rhymes with ‘cannibal’ which certainly made life easier for the people writing tabloid headlines. Will has retired to a happy new life with a wife and stepson in Florida until his old boss Jack Crawford comes calling and asks for help. There’s a brutal new killer dubbed the Tooth Fairy by the cops due to his habit of biting his victims. He’s killed two families after breaking into their homes and seems to be on schedule to do it again at the next full moon.

Will is reluctant to come back not just because he’s already been gutted once by a madman. He also fears that trying to think like a mass murderer isn’t the best thing for his mental health. It turns out that his concerns are justified after a tabloid journalist essentially paints a target on his back for the Tooth Fairy. Even worse, Will has to confront the man who nearly killed him and being confined to a cell doesn’t mean that Dr. Lecter can’t still do some serious damage.

Even as someone who was on the Hannibal bandwagon for a quarter of a century, it’s shocking to re-read this and realize how small of a part he actually plays in the story. Yes, he’s terrifying and his presence hangs over Will like a dark cloud, but he’s still a supporting player. Francis Dolarhyde (a/k/a The Red Dragon a/k/a The Tooth Fairy) may not have Hannibal’s culinary skills, but he’s one damn scary and slightly tragic villain while Will Graham makes for a damaged but compelling hero in the story.

I think one of the things I love best is just how much time is spent on how Will thinks. As a man with extremely high levels of empathy and a vivid imagination, Will’s ability to put himself in someone else’s shoes is a gift and a curse. Thinking like deranged killers has left him questioning if he might not be one of them, and it spills over all his emotions like a toxic oil spill.

By understanding their madness, Will can find the logic in their thinking, and it’s following that internal logic that allows Will to find the evidence they need. The breakthrough Will eventually makes is one of my all-time favorite examples of pure detection in the genre. It was in front of the reader the entire time, but it’s such an elegant solution that fits together so perfectly that Harris doesn’t have to engage in obscuring it with red herrings.

As a thriller that led to countless rip-offs and even the eventual collapse of the franchise due to it’s own success, it’s been often imitated but rarely equaled.

Check out my review of the Hannibal TV series at Shelf Inflicted.

Cross posted at Kemper's Book Blog.
Profile Image for Ahmad Sharabiani.
9,566 reviews56.6k followers
April 22, 2022
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 the Leeds murders, agent Jack Crawford, Graham's mentor, goes to Graham's Marathon, Florida residence and pleads for his assistance; Graham reluctantly agrees. After looking over the crime scenes with only minimal insight, Graham realizes he must visit Lecter and seek his help to capture "The Tooth Fairy." ...

عنوانهای چاپ شده در ایران: «اژدهای سرخ»، «پیش از داستان سکوت بره ها»؛ نویسنده: توماس هریس؛ تاریخ نخستین خوانش: روز بیست و هفتم ماه دسامبر سال1997میلادی

عنوان: اژدهای سرخ، نویسنده: توماس هریس؛ مترجم فرهاد بدری زاده؛ تهران، نشر چکاوک؛ سال1374؛ در621ص؛ چاپ دوم سال1377؛ شابک9646043054؛ چاپ سوم سال1388؛ شابک978964604353؛ چاپ دیگر تهران، زرین کلک؛ سال1379؛ در621ص؛ شابک ایکس-964917043؛ موضوع داستانهای نویسندگان ایالات متحده آمریکا - سده20م

عنوان: اژدهای سرخ، نویسنده: توماس هریس؛ مترجم: سهیل صفاری؛ تهران، نشر دایره، سال1388؛ در549ص؛ شابک9789646839977؛ عنوان دیگر: پیش از داستان سکوت بره ها؛

داستان اژدهای سرخ داستان قاتل روانی به نام «فرانسیس دلارهاید»؛ با گرایش‌های سرکوب شده ی همجنسگرایانه است؛ که در یک مؤسسه ظهور فیلم در «سنت لوییس آمریکا» مشغول به کار است؛ و به واسطه ی شغلش به فیلمهای خانگی که از نقاط مختلف «آمریکا» برای آنجا ارسال می‌شود دسترسی داشته، و از آن طریق قربانیان خود را برمی‌گزیند؛ او در جنایات خود با تصویر اژدهایی در یکی از آثار «ویلیام بلیک»، شاعر و نقاش «آمریکایی» سده ی 18میلادی به نام (اژدهای سرخ کبیر و زن ژنده پوش) همزاد پنداری کرده، و اینگونه به خود تلقین می‌کند، که قربانیان در حقیقت توسط اژدها انتخاب و به تعالی می‌رسند؛ او در هنگام تولد با نقص زایشی لب شکری، و نداشتن سقف دهان به این دنیا آمده، و مادرش در بیمارستان او را رها کرده، و تا سن پنج سالگی که سرپرستی او را مادربزرگ مادرش میپذیرد، در نوانخانه‌ ای زندگی کرده، و به خاطر نقص جسمی که داشته مورد تمسخر و آزار و اذیت دیگران بوده است؛ داستان اژدهای سرخ نخست با حضور دو مأمور اف‌.بی‌.آی آغاز می‌شود؛ ادامه ی داستان اژدهای سرخ را در کتابهای «سکوت بره ها»؛ و سپس در کتاب «هانیبال» بخوانید

تاریخ بهنگام رسانی 15/04/1399هجری خورشیدی؛ 01/02/1401هجری خورشیدی؛ ا. شربیانی
135 reviews138 followers
November 21, 2018
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 by a serial killer, who has a penchant for doing his work, during the lunar cycle: when it's a full moon. Still recovering from physical and emotional scars, he received years earlier, courtesy of Hannibal Lecter; he's reluctant to work on the case. But FBI-head, Jack Crawford, persuades him. Or maybe, it's the photos of the killers, handiwork, that makes him want to help.

Graham has the unique ability, to see what others' miss. Is able to think like the killers, he's pursuing. He spends time at one of the crime scenes, at the Charle's Leeds home, in Atlanta: working in minute detail, which was extremely, creepy, as he moves from room to room, trying to ascertain, how the crime played out. How did the perp enter the property? Who was the first to be killed? Why were the bodies, rearranged? How long after the murders, did the killer stay in the property? - and what was he doing? Why are there broken pieces of mirror? How does he choose his victims - and how does the killer know so much about them? What about the blood patterns, trajectory, etc? Being inside Will's head, seeing what he's seeing, was unequivocally, disturbing. And where's Jack: the Leeds dog? What do the two families, have in common? - the list goes on.
By working the scene, he learns a lot about the Leeds' family. The first family, to be slaughtered, the Jacobis - a month earlier, is a different matter. There isn't much left of that crime scene, after it was cleaned up. He needs to know them, as well.

We also get the killers' POV, as well as flashbacks to when he was younger, which was strangely, amusing. Especially, when he gets a visitor, and he's able to tell that person his name - and that's only because the other children at the orphanage, kept calling him it. And it's got no ('s) in it. I was a little disappointed that there was little time spent with Lecter. We don't get to see his inner thoughts. Well, that's probably for the best. I think.

So, this is the novel that spawned the movie, Manhunter (1986), starring William Peterson (Will Graham), Brian Cox (Hannibal Lecter), Tom Noonam (Francis Dolarhyde) Joan Allen (Reba McClane. She spent time at the New York Institute For The Blind - in preparation for her role, walking around blindfolded), Stephen Lang (Freddy Lounds), Dennis Farina (Jack Crawford) and Kim Greist (Molly Graham).

It's impressive, how close the movie is to the source material; including some of the dialogue. The ending was notably, different. Obviously, they couldn't squeeze everything into the film. Manhunter was going to be called Red. Not sure how close the Red Dragon movie, resembles the book, as I can't remember squat about it, for some reason. I'll probably watch it again, someday.

Red Dragon (2002), starred Edward Norton (Will Graham), Anthony Hopkins (Hannibal Lecter), Ralph Fiennes (Francis Dolarhyde), Philip Seymour Hoffman (Freddy Lounds), Harvey Keitel (Jack Crawford) and Mary-Louise Parker as Molly Graham.

Personally, I preferred Michael Mann's 1986 movie adaption (I'll never forget the wheelchair scene.), which had a budget of $15 million and took $8.6 million at the box office. In contrast, Brett Ratner's Red Dragon (which is basically a remake), had a budget of $78 million and took $209.1 million at the box office.

The chronological order of the movies is: Manhunter (1986), or Red Dragon (2002), The Silence of the Lambs (1991), Hannibal (2001) and Hannibal Rising (2007). I still need to watch that one. Jody Foster didn't reprise her role as Clarice Starling in Hannibal, as she didn't believe, she would have much of a part - wasn't worth her participation - and she wanted to direct the movie (amongst other things), so Julianne Moore, took over.

The inspiration for Hannibal Lecter, is based on a real-life person (who wasn't a serial killer), Alfredo Balli Treviñi, who was a Mexican doctor. The authors' foreword, provides more insight - Foreword to a Fatal Interview.

I guess I'll have to read these in chronological order. I loved The Silence of the Lambs film - watched it a multitude of times - and Anthony Hopkins was quintessentially cast as psychiatrist/serial killer, Hannibal Lecter. Brian Cox's role as Lecter was very good, as well.
Profile Image for David Putnam.
Author 16 books1,515 followers
April 19, 2020
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 in how the antagonist chose his victims was also a great concept. A solid five stars.

David Putnam the author of the Bruno Johnson series.
Profile Image for Ginger.
754 reviews375 followers
April 17, 2019
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 understanding this new threat.

The Tooth Fairy has killed two families so far when Jack Crawford asks for Will Graham’s help. Graham is hesitant to help due to catching two serial killers (one was Dr. Lecter) and Graham is not sure his sanity and soul can survive these monsters. Graham is one of the best FBI profilers out there and Crawford knows he needs Grahams' help to catch this sadistic killer.

The Tooth Fairy aka Red Dragon is an evil and tormented monster. Harris ends up getting into the background and mind of this character, and it’s a twisted nightmare.

Red Dragon is intense, suspenseful and the psychology involved is unnerving. There were moments while reading that I was glad the lights were on. Thomas Harris seems to tap into the serial killer mind and creep the fuck out of you. No joke.

The characterization along with the heart stopping chase of stopping the Red Dragon was excellent. I also enjoyed all the forensics involved in the book.

I’m glad I finally read Red Dragon!
Harris seems to be one of the first to write about serial killers and he did an outstanding job.

Should you read Red Dragon if you’ve seen the movies, Manhunter or Red Dragon?
Yes, I think so. Both movies were good, but this book taps into the psychology of the serial killer that I found was missing in the movies.

Recommended to people that love crime detective books, horror and thrillers!
Profile Image for Ron.
388 reviews89 followers
October 21, 2020
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 – out of the game and the hunt of killers. If only the men like Crawford would leave it that way, and a most recent killer hadn't arisen.

This book has a brilliant way of illustrating Graham's past as he seeks the “Tooth Fairy” (an early moniker given to the Red Dragon). It feels almost as if you're reading a second book in a series, but not at all as if you'd missed reading the first. The brief moments spent here with Hannibal are intense and revealing. It's completely possible that I would feel differently about who Lecter is if I hadn't already known him from the Silence of the Lambs movie, but that's kind of like hearsay. A link is formed between Lecter and the Dragon, with Will in the middle, and then the spotlight smartly transitions to our new killer. Spending too much time with Hannibal would have been a mistake. It was right about this point that he surprises me by snatching Lounds (literally biting his lips off) and then returning him by a fiery fate. Note: The book has some sickly, gruesome moments, but it is so well done. Through the midst of this, the reader is treated to the killer's childhood and tutelage, so to speak. Understanding Dolarhyde's past and what he becomes does not make you like or identify with him (cause he's a crazed killer), but it serves in broadening the entire experience. Three-dimensions is the key to this and many stories, and I loved it.

A quick aside in my review. I actually held Red Dragon in my hands as a very young teen in 1981. This may have been the second or third book I'd received after joining a book club, and I had probably read the first three or four chapters before stopping (Graham inside the first victim's home was still clear to me). Was I too young for the Killer-Thriller genre, and my first crime novel? I don't know. I had read Cujo by that point in time, but I guess that's somewhat different, and it's possible that this story was all too real for me at that point. Anyway, it's a memory I have.

I'd be remiss by not mentioning how strong and well-written the character of Will Graham is here. I don't believe I'll see him after this and will miss him. As far as my rating, even though I'm not certain how much I liked what feels like a movie style ending, Red Dragon is far too good to receive anything but 5 stars.
Profile Image for Jess☺️.
470 reviews83 followers
July 8, 2019
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 has you reaching for the next in the series as soon as possible.
Do I recommend this??? 🤔
Oh definitely!!!
Profile Image for HaMiT.
166 reviews28 followers
August 19, 2022
احتمالاً اکثراً در مورد دنیای هانیبال می‌دونن. برای اونهایی که نمی‌دونن و هیچ تجربه‌ای نداشتن به نظرم بهتره به ترتیب اول فیلم سکوت‌ بره‌ها رو ببینین، بعد برید سراغ سریال. فیلم که شاهکاره و حرفی برای گفتن نیست
سریال هم عالـــیه و بخش بسیار خوبی از کتاب اژدهای سرخ رو توی فصل سوم، با کیفیت بالا پوشش می‌ده
بعد اگر خواستید در مورد شخصیت دلرهاید بیشتر بدونید، می‌تونین سراغ این کتاب بیاین
و اینکه فکر نکنم نیاز باشه فیلم سال 2001 رو ببینین، مگه اینکه خیلی هاپکینز رو دوست داشته باشین
ترجمه و ویراستاری هم اصلاً خوب نیست

دلم می‌خواست این طراحی‌های زیبا رو که برای نسخه‌ی اسپشال هستند هم ببینید

برای دیدنشون احتمالاً باید فیلترشکن روشن باشه

این سایت طراح هست
Profile Image for Alejandro.
1,128 reviews3,552 followers
March 31, 2018
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 book series but...

...the Bad Guy!

And you won't find badder guy than Dr. Hannibal Lecter, since he isn't just a psychopath, but he's a psychiatrist, therefore he knows all the tricks that criminal profilers do, and he knows all the tricks of the psychologists whom try to treat him...

...oh, and if that wasn't enough...

...he eats his victims, with the best cuisine techniques!

How, Will Graham, special investigator of the FBI was able to catch him?

That's where things got creepy...

...since Will Graham thinks too much alike as Lecter.

To catch a madman, you need a madman.

And the worse of that?

When the madman needs the help of the other madman.

That's where things get creepier...

...and bloodier!!!


Will Graham got three dangeours serial killers, including the infamous Dr. Hannibal Lecter...

...but at a great cost...

...so he decided to leave all that behind and having a quiet life with his family.

But evil never takes vacations...

...the Tooth Fairy, a new and twisted serial killer rises and entire families are paying the price.

Special Agent Jack Crawford, in charge of the Behavioral Science Unit of the FBI, knows that the Tooth Fairy not only is something out of the regular serial killers, but also it's on a bloody spree, so there's little time to avoid more massacres...

...so he needs to call again Will Graham.

Nobody can gets into the minds of serial killers like Graham.

However, since the Tooth Fairy is a menace racing against time...

...Will Graham needs to get into contact of Dr. Hannibal Lecter to ask for his help in the case...

...the game is on again...

...and Dr. Hannibal Lecter enjoys to play!

Profile Image for Stephanie *Eff your feelings*.
239 reviews1,197 followers
May 18, 2013
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! Jack Crawford, Will’s former boss, shows up at his house asking for help on a new case of a new serial killer dubbed the Tooth Fairy, because the creep likes to bite his victims.

Here’s how the conversation goes between the two, broken down to its simplest form.

Jack: Hey I need your help with a case because you’re the best at what you do.
Will: But I don’t want to on account I was nearly gutted last time I helped you.
Jack: But you’re really good at your job.
Will: Okay…..since you put it that way, I’ll help.

Francis Dolarhyde, or the Tooth Fairy/the Dragon, had a pretty awful childhood (to put it mildly.) Born to a mother who rejects him because of a deformity, a hare lip, then raised by a sadistic grandmother who adopts him for the sole purpose to get revenge on her daughter (not because she loves the boy). As a result of growing devoid of all love, he turns out a little off. Surprise!!

Where Dolarhyde has no empathy, Will has too much. This is what makes him a good profiler; he is able to almost ‘become’ the person he is hunting, to understand them.

“Graham had a lot of trouble with taste. Often his thoughts were not tasty. There were no effective partitions in his mind. What he saw and learned touched everything else he knew. Some of the combinations were hard to live with. But he could not anticipate them, could not block and repress. His learned values of decency and propriety tagged along, shocked at his associations, appalled at his dreams; sorry that in the bone arena of his skull there were no forts for what he loved. His associations came at the speed of light. His value judgments were at the pace of a responsive reading. They could never keep up and direct his thinking. He viewed his own mentality as grotesque but useful, like a chair made of antlers. There was nothing he could do about it.”

That’s pretty dark stuff to deal with and still fight to maintain sanity.

When all was said and done I suppose I ‘enjoyed’ this book. But yet I didn’t enjoy it at all. It was very well done……it kept my attention throughout, but I don’t think this type of book is all that good for me. While I love dark books, I seem to need them to be a bit fanciful…….not of the real world. All the stuff that happens in the real world is depressing enough, bombings, school shootings, and kids shooting other kids to death, I feel the need to escape from that.

Books like this are just more of that. Oddly enough though, I think the new TV show is fantastic.

I now am reading a book about the Tao de Ching (that has an unfortunate title) hoping it will clean up my brain……..

Also posted on Shelfinflicted
Profile Image for Benjamin Stahl.
1,822 reviews44 followers
February 10, 2021
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 hold on and wage through the somewhat tedious opening and uninteresting backstory, Red Dragon does eventually come together, and although it isn't the best thriller I have read, it does certainly pull you into it, enough so that the lackadaisical prose and occasional overflow of pointless description does become less noticeable, and you find yourself eager to see how everything turns out.

Perhaps I should mention, in respect to this book, that I had already seen (and loved) the movie many times, but nevertheless I was quite immersed in the story anyway. So that's my rating: not the greatest novel, not particularly memorable, but rather good fun nonetheless.

Belated postscript from 2021:

I'm not sure how this is the most popular review of mine of Goodreads - I am just a modest user with less than 60 friends, but I've written many far better than this - but there you go. I ain't gonna complain. I thought I would just add, however, that having also read the next two books, though not yet Hannibal Rising (which I've heard is pretty terrible), The Silence of the Lambs is better than this one. As for Hannibal, I'm not really sure. Like the movie, it's easily the most messed up, but it has its strong moments. I can't really deal with the film anymore though, since for some reason what used to be seen as objectively disgusting and quite off-putting about some of Hannibal's baser acts (feeding a man his own brains and all that) are now held up as somehow hilarious. Maybe the show has something to do with that. I always liked it better when Hannibal was reluctantly respected and kind of admired from a safe distance, not gleefully applauded.

Profile Image for Nayra.Hassan.
1,260 reviews5,378 followers
April 23, 2022
انا لست رجلا كما ترون
لقد بدات كرجل و لكن بمشيئة الله و رحمته؛"و ارادتي":{تحولت}و صرت ما هو اكثر من مجرد رجل
فرانسيس دولارهايد
رائعة السفاحين لتوماس هاريس الصادرة عام ١٩٨٢
و التي جمعت بين اقوي ابطاله و الظابط ويل جراهام
تتميز الرواية بعدد ضخم من الاقتباسات علي لسان سفاحين توضح كل شيء ثقريبا لكل من يسألون عن ماهية الدوافع التي تجعل قاتل يقتل عائلات كاملة لا يعرفها حتي
كاغلب روايات هاريس السوداوية؛ تقبضك و تتركك كئيبا بائساَ
Profile Image for Erin .
1,232 reviews1,143 followers
February 21, 2018
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 Dragon, not the earlier movie named Mindhunter) until a couple months ago. The movie stays pretty close to book although I did picture the tv version of Will Graham and of course Anthony Hopkins as Lecter.

Red Dragon is the novel that introduced us to the iconic character Hannibal Lecter. The only problem I had with this book is there wasn't enough Lecter. This book is fantastically written. I've read other reviews that disliked The Tooth Fairy(I'm calling him that because he would hate it) grandmother subplot but I like it when the villains background is fleshed out. I will let you know that I thought the book lost steam at the 300 page count but it finished strong.

P.S. If you get a chance Google The New York Times reviews of the book written by Christopher Lehmann, its a weird a different take on book. Apparently he felt the author is making fun of Liberals and doesn't take childhood trauma serious. Its a funny read.

I would recommend Red Dragon to fans of the movie The Silence of the Lambs and readers who love a twisted villain.
Profile Image for Ken.
2,164 reviews1,323 followers
April 11, 2019
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 after sustaining an injury when capturing Lecter reluctantly agrees to help with a new serial killer case.
The scenes were Graham visits Lecter for advice on the current ‘Tooth Fairy’ murders after the events 3 years previous was so tense and gripping.

Finding out who the serial killer’s identity in the early part of the book was such an interesting and unique way of exploring the characters motivations, especially the flashback scenes through his childhood.

I’d not seen either movie adaptation (Manhunter - 1986 or Red Dragon 2002) so it was nice to experience the story for the first time.
I actually quite liked the Lecter only played a small role in the story, it meant that I could enjoy the other characters without that baggage.
I’m curious to watch both movies before moving onto the more commonly known second book.
Profile Image for Brad.
Author 2 books1,690 followers
February 15, 2009
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 Red Dragon. Each film provides a different take on Harris' most famous character, Hannibal Lecter, both films provide a chilling effect on the viewer's emotions, and both films offer up a frightening -- though very different -- Francis Dolarhyde.

Harris' writing is cinematic in structure and quality, making his books easy to transfer to the screen. Characters, settings and even action can be dropped or rolled into others or completely altered without harming the telling of the tale. Much of this is about the mood Harris creates. There is an underlying suspense and oppression in his books that gives a screen writer or director a sound compass for adaptation, allowing him/her to do justice to a Harris book by maintaining the spirit of the story -- no matter what changes are required by the shift to cinema.

Still, as a novel Red Dragon is merely enjoyable. A rather twisted and macabre diversion, but a diversion nonetheless. It is one of those late night, make you uncomfortable reads, or a dreary, rainy, wish you were at the beach reads.

There is much to like in Red Dragon, but it is essentially high end pulp, which is a good thing. And more than enough to recommend it to anyone who likes something a little twisted, with just a hint of the anti-hero.
Profile Image for Charles  van Buren.
1,724 reviews179 followers
June 9, 2022
Review of Kindle edition
Publication date: December 24, 2008
Publisher: Berkley
Language: English
436 pages

This is a novel which hammers at the frightening fact that monsters are very real. Real and much more terrifying than any creatures of legend or fiction. Vampires, werewolves, creatures of the Cthulu mythos pale in comparison to those monsters who live among us everyday, usually completely indistinguishable from everyone else until they strike.

When I first read this I was moving into what I suppose could be called my more advanced law enforcement career in which I was beginning to understand just what kind of world we live in. The serious reflections which came with reading this book and discussing it with more experienced law enforcement personnel altered my habits. No longer would I make a quick trip to the corner store without my weapon. I also insisted that my wife begin to always go armed. Thank goodness I did. Just a few years later there was a serial killer operating near her hometown. On a visit to her parents she had an encounter with a man who met the description and profile of that monster. The encounter ended with her displaying her handgun and the man's rapid retreat. As more information was developed and a more accurate profile drawn, I realized that my wife fit the profile of his preferred victims. Not long after this the killer committed one of his most brutal and heinous atacks. This was one of the most chilling incidents in our lives. Thinking of it still has the power to make my blood run cold.

Since that time my wife and I both have prevented potential violence on several occasions just by displaying weapons. The monsters who live among us are not deterred by holy water, garlic, silver or any of the trappings of fiction. However, guns frequently work. Mr. Harris writes realistically and accurately of two of these monsters. If you don't find this novel disturbing I can only guess that you have little imagination nor any inclination to understand the real world.
Profile Image for Zoeytron.
1,036 reviews671 followers
May 1, 2020
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 every way there is.  Scissors, incisors, and mirrors.  Maybe, just maybe, he is looking for the perfect family so he can belong.  Yessssss, maybe he is slowly Becoming ....  can you see?
Profile Image for 7jane.
678 reviews256 followers
August 9, 2017
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't remember much (apart from what happens with certain Lounds person and his ). The killer appears properly the first time in chapter 9, but some things point already at his killer-name: the red fingerprint powder - "Dragon's Blood" and the . The name also shows up in two other things later: the name of.

I also found it a bit funny when the killer visited the museum in !! XD

But I'll try not to get stuck in details here... I think the story flowed very well. A few surprise turns, a good use of practiced skills. There was also a few things that stuck in my mind, things that make this book more than 'hunt the serial killer':
I found the fate of Will Graham tragic. I'm sure that even if Crawford wouldn't have contacted him for this he would've gone down the same path, though more gradually. Now he just . The whole things is thus also horror of this.

Much better story than I expected. The point of time shows in some things, like the obvious communication ways, but also in the asbestos suits of firemen (asbestos! but this was 70s/80s point of time). On the other hand the character of Reba McClane is such a positive sight: even after all that's happened, I think she will believe Crawford's supporting advice (and I hope her later life was happier). I liked her a lot.
This is a quick-flowing story, a tragic story, and a certain will think about it for a long time. And it will certainly be reread at some point, again. :)
Profile Image for Dannii Elle.
2,034 reviews1,421 followers
April 25, 2020
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 with his fearsome foe, as he finds he needs the man he put behind bars to help him put another in his place.

I was initially disappointed to find that Hannibal did not feature more prominently inside this book. When he did feature, interactions were brief yet chilling, and displayed his astute process for fact-finding and the workings of his extraordinary mind. When he did not feature, he still did so, but only as the ever-present spector that haunted Will's mind. It left me longing for more, a desire I'm sure the rest of the series will satiate.

The Red Dragon was also provided with a perspective, something I usually dislike in crime fiction. His mind was just as chilling one to enter and his details of his numerous crimes left me feeling sickened.

The downfall of this novel, for me, came largely from the conclusion. Will Graham was coming ever closer to solving the puzzling presence of the man behind the Red Dragon's mask and just before he was able to do so something occurs which makes it known for him. I really wanted him to come to this conclusion himself and was disappointed to see this not be the case. A plot twist followed, however, that took me wholly by surprise and ensured I closed the book with almost entirely positive appraisal and eager to continue on with the series.
Profile Image for Pedro Ceballos.
287 reviews25 followers
April 29, 2021
Esta es mi primera novela de la saga y me ha gustado mucho, es un thriller policíaco con con tintes de terror. Debo confesar que me he dejado engañar por la portada, en la cual se hace pensar que el personaje principal es Hannibal, cuando no es así, y relegan injustamente al verdadero antagonista que es el Dragón Rojo.

Los personajes tienen una personalidad muy bien descrita (tanto los buenos como los malos) y me ha gustado mucho el ingenio que demuestran estos personajes para crear el caos (unos) y para resolver el desastre (otros).

Mientras leía el libro tenía esa necesidad de querer conocer toda la trama que venía antes de los sucesos de esta novela, tal vez lo recomendable para lectura de la saga sea iniciar con "Hannibal el Origen del Mal"... Al menos yo pasaré directo a ese antes de leerme el "Silencio de los Inocentes" para finalmente concluir con "Hannibal".

Profile Image for Blaine.
749 reviews612 followers
September 26, 2022
“Fear comes with imagination, it’s a penalty, it’s the price of imagination.”
I first read this book in the early 1990s, before The Silence of the Lambs movie came out. Red Dragon was an incredible read, fresh and original. As a reread, when you know what is going to happen, it’s not quite as good. The book also suffers a bit because over the last 30 years, FBI profiling has become commonly understood and used in books, movies, and TV exhaustively. But my original rating stands. If you’ve never read it before, and like the genre, Red Dragon is a must read. Highly recommended.
Profile Image for Cody | CodysBookshelf.
724 reviews210 followers
November 20, 2017
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 come alive in a way that is all too rare in modern fiction. And this novel’s protagonist, troubled investigator Will Graham, is fully fleshed out — his attempts at overcoming his past are heartbreaking and intoxicating.

One of the scariest books I’ve ever read, Red Dragon left me feeling throttled in a way dark fiction hasn’t made me feel in some time. This is worthy of all the praise it has received since its release in 1981. This one will stay with me for quite a while.
Profile Image for Kerri.
980 reviews351 followers
January 18, 2023
I have of course heard of Hannibal Lecter. He's probably one of the few modern day characters that has a place alongside the likes of Dracula -- he's known to so many, even if you haven't read the books, or seen the films (or TV show). I have seen spoofs in shows over and over again, and read references constantly.
I inevitably went into this with a lot of expectations. I knew 'The Silence of the Lambs', the second book, was the one the one where most of my ideas of the character came from (or at least, it's film version) but I figured this would be a solid introduction to the infamous Hannibal Lecter, M.D.
It isn't really -- he's an infrequent presence, chilling but hardly there. The focus is almost entirely on an investigator called Will Graham and a serial killer called The Tooth Fairy/The Red Dragon. Thankfully, this was engrossing enough that I hardly cared that Hannibal was not a main character. I was hooked immediately, and all my expectations fell away as I read on.

Will Graham is a wonderful character, and I was sad to see he doesn't feature again. While I am looking forward to the next book, where I will presumably learn more about Lecter, I think I will miss Will a great deal.
An excellent book. I wanted to read it as quickly as possible, so I could know what was happening, why it was happening, and then inevitably I found myself invested in the characters, including Dolarhyde, their lives, hoping they would be OK etc. I was relieved to finish it, for the sake of knowing everything, but sad too, because it had been such a good book!
I'm very pleased that I have a big omnibus version, so can go straight onto the next one. Its heavy and a bit unwieldy to hold, but once I have it comfortably arranged it's great - with decent sized font thank goodness!
I guess now it's time to leave Will Graham behind, and meet Clarice Starling. I'm pretty sure I wont be able to help picturing Jodie Foster. When I'm done reading the books, I definitely want to see the film/s!
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Constantine.
836 reviews136 followers
August 30, 2021
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐
Genre: Horror + Thriller

Red Dragon is the first book in the Hannibal Lecter series. It does not concentrate a lot on Lecter though more than introducing him to the reader with some background. The story is more focused on Will Graham (an ex-detective) who has a history with Dr. Lecter and his goal here is to catch the serial killer (Red Dragon) who kills entire families each full moon.

This is a solid entry to the series with a strong protagonist facing a strong antagonist. I usually don’t enjoy detective stories but this was well written and with interesting fleshed-out characters. My favorite part was in the middle, where we get to see about the childhood of the Red Dragon or the Tooth Fairy as they call the serial killer at the beginning of the story. I felt very sorry for him as a child. The story indirectly tells you that sometimes a toxic family or society can create a monster out of a person. This kind of book needs the right atmosphere and fortunately, it had it! It is chilling and scary, to say the least. There is a lot of tension building that will definitely make you be at the edge of your seat.

I have watched both movie adaptations, Manhunter and Red Dragon. Both were good but the book feels more complete. I’m looking forward to reading the next book in the series, The Silence of the Lambs because this is one of my favorite movies in the 1990s. Not sure how I will feel about it since I have watched the film already and loved it but if it will be similar to Red Dragon then I will not be disappointed for sure.
Profile Image for Ashley Daviau.
1,757 reviews757 followers
February 25, 2019
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 show!!!), I still couldn’t turn the pages fast enough to find out what would happen! This is a stunningly well written book and I’ve absolutely fallen in love with Harris’ writing style and cannot wait to binge the rest of the series!
Profile Image for Alex ☣ Deranged KittyCat ☣.
651 reviews402 followers
September 13, 2016
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.


But enough of that. I'm fascinated with the criminally insane. Make them a a highly intelligent and charismatic gentleman who only eats the rude and I melt. Don't get me wrong. I fell a little for Francis Dolarhyde, too. I mean there's Francis, a tormented soul with a hot body who falls in love for the first time in his life. And when I say love I'm not talking about Love, but the true feeling, the one that makes him fight his madness a little. I even found myself rooting for him and Reba.


Profile Image for Yeferzon Zapata.
106 reviews23 followers
November 27, 2021
"El miedo es producto de la imaginación, es un castigo, es el precio de la imaginación."

Muy buen libro. A pesar de que ya tenía conocimiento de la historia por la serie de Hannibal, lo disfruté mucho. Se lee del tirón.

Nos encontramos ante un asesino en serie que el FBI no ha podido atrapar, por lo cual Jack Crawford acude a Will Graham para que le ayude, ya que él en años pasados ayudó a capturar a Hannibal Lecter.

Lo primero a destacar de este libro es la narrativa de Harris, va directo al grano como se dice, evita las descripciones innecesarias que no van aportar nada a la trama, narra lo justo y necesario eso me gustó mucho.
Otro aspecto es la construcción del villano, sabemos sus motivaciones, pero también su infancia y algunas cuestiones que lo llevaron a comportarse de la manera en que lo hace, no llegué a justificar sus actos, pero si a comprenderlo.
Los otros personajes tienen un muy buen desarrollo, sobre todo el personaje de Will Graham. Donde podemos ver sus conflictos internos y su pasado con Hannibal que no deja de perseguirlo.
El desenlace de la historia me ha gustado mucho, es un punto muy alto en el libro, me dejó con una muy buena sensación.

"Nosotros no inventamos nuestros temperamentos, Will; los recibimos junto con los pulmones, el páncreas y todo lo demás, ¿Por qué a combatirlo entonces?"

Sin duda, y a pesar de que la trama principal es atrapante, a pesar de que aparece muy poco, para mí el libro se lo roba Hannibal Lecter. Es un personaje sumamente interesante en todos los formatos que he tenido la oportunidad de apreciar. Y sé que ese tipo de seres son despreciables, sus actos son sumamente retorcidos, pero, es inevitable no sentir curiosidad por él.
Una cuestión negativa para mí, es que la historia pasada sobre cómo se capturó a Hannibal no se detalla muy bien, se nos dicen algunas cosas, pero queda muy a la deriva, no sé si se va a desarrollar en los libros venideros, pero la verdad lo dudo mucho.

Veré que sucede en los siguientes volúmenes de esta saga. Por lo pronto me deja con un buen sabor de boca este libro. Me espera El silencio de los corderos.

"Qué difícil es tener algo, ¿verdad? Difícil conseguirlo, complicado conservarlo. Éste es un planeta terriblemente resbaladizo."
July 28, 2012
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 novel...the focus is definitely reserved for the bizarre "Red Dragon" killer and the man trying to catch him. Still, you won't be disappointed, as this book is an amazing read. Will Graham is so haunted, that he becomes far more fascinating and sympathetic than the usual protagonist. And the killer is so disturbing yet so mesmerizing, that the only thing worse than continuing to read more about him would be to NOT continue to read about him!

The Hannibal Lecter movies featuring Anthony Hopkins were amazing, but for me, this book still trumps then all.
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