Atrocious “Red Dragon” & Cunning Devil Dr Hannibal Lecter set the stage for diabolical Hannibal Lecter Series. A good start to the pure evil series.

Red Dragon - Thomas Harris


Crime, Detective, Thriller, Suspense, Murder Mystery


Thomas Harris


3.5 Stars Out Of 5


An insane killer has slaughtered two happy families totalling the body count to nine and has chosen another family for his atrocity. He is the monster Red Dragon. Will Graham, An FBI instructor who is adept at hunting madmen is brought on the case. He knows what the “Red Dragon” had done to the nine bodies, especially women. And now as the choice of the next victim family has been made, Will Graham must stop the Dragon. With only microscopic clues and ghastly advice of Dr Hannibal Lecter in hand, Will Graham is on a mission to stop the insanity. Will he succeed? Would he survive the ire of the fierce Red Dragon?

Book Review

I would divide the book in three parts. First part is the set up of the plot, Second part is the biography of the “Red Dragon” and the third part of the novel is the capture of the “Red Dragon”. Thomas Harris started the novel exceedingly well. The set up of the plot in first few pages is terrific. The sequence of events and the depiction of grotesque scenes shudders the reader. “Red Dragon” is really an insane person. A kind of fear was developed in my mind when I was reading the description of the crime. Will Graham, an FBI instructor who is working on the case is brilliant too. I liked his unique way of analysing and deducing the crime scenes. Thomas Harris has developed this character surpassingly well.

As I was finding the book intriguing and terrifying, the second part of the novel started. I would say that this second part deviated the main stream of the novel. It lead the plot into more of a biography kind of stuff. This logical second part renders the background of the perp. Thomas Harris could have put this biography in a better way. Because of it the plot became insipid. It made me skip few pages as well. No doubt about the disturbing and provoking biography of the “Red Dragon” and the articulation of the same, but I thought that it was too long. Had it been short, I would have enjoyed it more.

The third part of the novel is gripping and Thomas Harris succeeds in bringing the suspense back in the book. There was no clue which would lead Will Graham to the “Red Dragon”, but the way he thought and connected the dots to find the “Red Dragon” was magnificent. It was perhaps the most gripping part of the novel. The ending was worth reading too. If second part of the novel made the plot blunt then this third part filled everything a crime fiction demands. It is fun to read the last part of the “Red Dragon”.

A crime fiction is incomplete without forensic details. Thomas Harris excelled in decorating the grisly plot with intricate forensic details. Inferring the miniscule clues and getting vague whereabouts of the perp by Will Graham is worth mentioning. Though this is Hannibal Lecter series novel, it has very little mention of him. But till the end we get a vague perception of this evil. He is gruesome but cunning. The conversation of Dr Lecter and Will Graham is both intriguing and thought provoking. It develops the legacy of Dr Hannibal Lecter character which appears more predominantly in the following novels of this series. “Red Dragon” is a daemon. Every mention of this character would send chills down the spine. Every inch of this character is stuffed with atrocity and cruelty.

I found many similarities between Jeffery Deaver and Thomas Harris. Both are competent at sticking in the rich forensic details in the novel. Both are expert in twisting the main plot to render false endings. But story telling ability of Thomas Harris is more appaling which keeps the reader biting nails till the end.

Rating & Conclusion

Even though suspense and intrigue in “Red Dragon” is depleted in the middle of the novel, I would RECOMMEND it to the crime fiction lovers. Thomas Harris is one of those very few authors who can give nightmares through his writing. If you are really interested in the Hannibal Lecter Series, I would advice you to start with this. It sets the ground for monstrous Hannibal Lecter Series. I would rate this novel 3.5 stars out of 5. – 0.5 for the flat second part of the novel.

CrimeDetectiveMurder MysteryThrillerSuspenseThomas HarrisHannibal Lecter
Posted by: Pravin Patil
Last revised: 31 Jan, 2014 02:53 PM


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