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)

4.03  ·  Rating details ·  243,220 ratings  ·  4,279 reviews
An alternate cover edition of this ISBN can be found here and here.

In the realm of psychological suspense, Thomas Harris stands alone. Exploring both the nature of human evil and the nerve-racking anatomy of a forensic investigation, Harris unleashes a frightening vision of the dark side of our well-lighted world. In this extraordinary novel, which preceded The Silence of
Paperback, 455 pages
Published October 3rd 2002 by Dell (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)

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
4.03  · 
Rating details
 ·  243,220 ratings  ·  4,279 reviews

More filters
Sort order
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
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
Apr 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Leo .
Dec 01, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
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  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: novel, detective, horror
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 *Extremely Stable Genius*
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!
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
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
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
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
Edward Lorn
May 13, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
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
Cody | codysbookshelf
Nov 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Taylan Berk
Feb 05, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
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.


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
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
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
Aug 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: seen-movie, 2019, usa
Dec 08, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Really good, I should have gotten to this book sooner.
Susan's Reviews
Apr 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Back in the day when I enjoyed "serial killer books". This one was utterly phenomenal and SCARY AS HELL! He should never have written a sequel, nor allowed them to make that second movie. The first movie was very good.
Karl Marberger
I love this book. This is what got me so into mystery thrillers. Read it if you have not already.
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  ·  review of another edition
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
J.D. Barker
Dec 02, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Thomas Harris is an absolute master.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
A Novel Idea Book...: August Book - Red Dragon by Thomas Harris 1 3 Jul 15, 2019 06:21AM  
Horror Aficionados : Red Dragon - Thomas Harris 90 36 Apr 25, 2019 02:41PM  
Horror Aficionados : February 2019 Group Listen- Red Dragon 19 103 Feb 14, 2019 09:10AM  
becoming ? 1 11 Feb 07, 2019 04:29PM  
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 69 Mar 24, 2017 04:23AM  

Readers also enjoyed

  • Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (Harry Potter, #7)
  • Lord of the Flies
  • Sherlock Holmes: The Complete Novels and Stories, Volume II
  • Obsession
  • Ichi the killer, vol. 1
  • The Handmaid's Tale
  • Primal Fear (Vail/Stampler #1)
  • Mercy
  • Deadman Wonderland Volume 11 (Deadman Wonderland, #11)
  • Berserk, Vol. 17
  • The Wire in the Blood (Tony Hill & Carol Jordan, #2)
  • Watership Down (Watership Down, #1)
  • The Art and Making of Hannibal: The Television Series
  • Coffey's Hands
  • The Coffin Dancer (Lincoln Rhyme, #2)
  • 20th Century Ghosts
  • The Great and Secret Show (Book of the Art #1)
  • Nineteen Seventy Seven (Red Riding, #2)
See similar books…
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 1

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.” 170 likes
More quotes…