Red Dragon

Thomas Harris
Red Dragon Cover

Red Dragon


I came to this having not seen either of the two films based on this book or even any of the other Hannibal Lecter films with the exception of Silence of the Lambs. Likewise I have not read any of the four books in the series previously. That said, the story seemed very familiar to me - I suppose it has become ingrained into culture now.

So, over 30 years have passed since this has been released and it's been a book I've been meaning to read for decades and never got round to it. Is it any good? Well, it's okay.

I really couldn't get into the central character of Will Graham, didn't particularly care for his love interest and family. His colleague Jack Crawford is equally uninteresting. Most people know this now but of course Hannibal Lecter has a supporting role at best (my edition said on the cover 'the book that unleashed Hannibal Lecter's legacy of evil!' - blatant misleading advertising).

The plot is well paced and really kicks in during the second half. The best part of the book is the treatment of the Red Dragon / Tooth Fairy - Francis Dolarhyde. Dolarhyde is the mentally ill schizophrenic psychopath of the novel. He's a character of depth and complexity and I love the treatment of him. When his backstory is divulged it's difficult not to sympathise with him even having knowledge of his despicable wickedness. The shift in perspective to Dolarhyde is the strength of the book.

The ending was a bit weak and the book could have ended a couple of chapters earlier.