A quiet summer night...a neat suburban house...and another innocent, happy family is shattered - the latest victims of a grisly series of hideous sacrificial killings that no one understands, and no one can stop. Nobody lives to tell of the unimaginable carnage. Only the blood-stained walls bear witness.
All hope rests on Special Agent Will Graham, who must peer inside the killer's tortured soul to understand his rage, to anticipate and prevent his next vicious crime. Desperate for help, Graham finds himself locked in a deadly alliance with the brilliant Dr. Hannibal Lecter, the infamous mass murderer who Graham put in prison years ago.
As the imprisoned Lecter tightens the reins of revenge, Graham's feverish pursuit of the Red Dragon draws him inside the warped mind of a psychopath, into an unforgettable world of demonic ritual and violence, beyond the limits of human terror.
©1981 Thomas Harris (P)2012 Random House Audiobooks
PLOT: 2 Families are killed and slaughter by the same serial killer~ how DOES he find his victims?~
Will Graham is the "FBI agent" who helped capture Hannibal the cannibal~ is retired in Florida. He is drawn back into service when the "Tooth Fairy" a serial killer who bites his victims ..having killed 2 families ~ HOW DID HE CHOOSE HIS VICTIMS? The Red Dragon aka the Tooth Fairy carefully chooses his victims by a clever means and stalks on the full moon. Now Will Graham is busy discovering clues to help "prevent" the death of a third family. ADDED fun is a cheap sheet reporter for the National Tattler used by both the Tooth Fairy and Will Graham. The Red Dragon is busy communicating with Hannibal Lecter and is a FAN. This is a first rate horror thriller. WE go inside the mind of Will Graham the agent left barely alive by Lecter after his capture. the details of both the crimes and solving it keep you glued from the begining. WE tie The RED DRAGON who we find has a very abused child hood and we understand how a MONSTER CAN BE CREATED. This READER is especially good and his excellent VOICE and story come together for a 5 STAR audio book that is first rate. I am off to listen to Silence of the Lambs.
AKA The Geeky Blogger
Read/Listened for Fun (Kindle/Audible)
Overall Rating: 5.00
Story Rating: 5.00
Character Rating: 5.00
Audio Rating: 3.50 (not part of the overall rating)
First Thought when Finished: This is probably my 5th reread of Red Dragon by Thomas Harris and it still makes the hair on the back of my neck stand up!
Overall Thoughts: (Quick Review) Red Dragon is one of those books that even though you know exactly how it is going to end, it still gets to you. Very seldom is there two dynamic "bad" guys that are so brilliantly crafted. Hannibal is of course his dastardly self (I often forget this is the first book he appears in) and his level of evil is off the charts. It is also very different than Red Dragon/The Tooth Fairy evil. In fact, it is Francis that is fascinating to puzzle out. His back story is as twisted as his crimes. Will Graham has always been my favorite profiler. Sorry Clarice fans but Will is just more fascinating all around. The way his mind works is as interesting as the criminals he chases. This book is twisted and scary. Just how I like my serial killers!
Narrated By Alan Sklar / Length: 12 hrs and 6 mins
I thought Alan did a great job with Will and Francis but his Hannibal was a little off. That being said, overall I loved his pacing and deliverance of the story. I would listen to this again!
Final Thoughts: If you like scary (in a human not paranormal type of way) then read Red Dragon!
Let's face it, these authors aren't paying me, so there's no need to lie!!
Whoever adapted the screenplay from this book really nailed it. If you've seen the movie, and liked it, then this should be a good weekend read for you. There aren't many sotries out there with darker, more deranged villains than this guy, and Harris manages to show quite a bit of the story from his sickly twisted perspective. I would've liked to have seen more of Hannibal Lector, and less of the Detective, but no book is perfect. Lector is (obviously) a classic villain, and there just isn't enough of him in here.
Be warned, this book does date itself. If you're not familiar with technology of the 80's (i.e. video tapes, home movie projectors, etc), you may find some of this irritating. Also, the lack of forensic (DNA) evidence procedures took a while for me to fully accept. You find saliva and semen at a crime scene, but have no idea who this criminal could be? Unheard of these days...
The narrarator is very good. Hits all the marks and keeps it moving.
I bought this book because I loved Silence of the Lambs. Red Dragon was good, but the narrator was terrible.
Narrator often lapsed into whiny tone, which made it really hard to like the characters or care about them. He also at times sounded very flippant, which again detracted from the story.
Red Dragon is mostly worth the listening time. It's a good story, but unless you love the narrator (and I did not) sometimes it's hard to stay with it.
No matter how long since my first time reading this story, I am always impressed by its impact and couldn't read it over and over again. It is a fitting introduction to Hannibal Lecter and his story.
Riveting, suspenseful, scary!
Yes, even though I have seen the movie several times. There are no predictable outcomes of plots.
No favorites it is the type of novel that is good in its entirety, not just parts
Love my family....along with guitars, cameras, and a good book!
This novel deserves to be in the shadows of Silence of the Lambs. It is a good book, don't get me wrong, but it is not in the league of it's successor. There are many parallel lines in this story with Silence of the Lambs (SOTL). In fact, some of the famous parts of SOTL originated in this book. Often word for word. It felt to me like this was Mr. Harris' first attempt at his idea for a great novel, and SOTL is a second try at basically the same storyline with MUCH greater results.
The "bad guy" in this book was a well developed character, but just felt a little too "pre-packaged" for my taste. Like he was built to check off all of the typical serial killer development boxes. I don't want to get into too many specifics in my review, as I want the reader/listener to experience them for themselves, but while much of this story line worked well for me, there were a few points that I didn't like.
There really was not much mention about Lechter in this book, either. There is one encounter with him in the asylum (rang very similar to SOTL), and a few brief mentions of him throughout, but that is all. The story focused much more heavily on the Dragon.
As I have looked back over what I have written so far, it sounds as if I didn't enjoy this book. That is simply not the case! I did enjoy it, and if I would have come across it before I was exposed to SOTL, my review would have been much more glowing.
I didn't love the narrator. He did a fabulous job for the most part, but some of his voices seemed to get quite whiny for my taste. Again, that is personal preference, and you may feel completely differently! All in all, this was well worth a read!
Though I know the story itself is good, this book is hard to keep up with. Alan Sklar has a deep, hypnotizing voice that is easy on the ears, but unfortunately, this detracts for his narration. His voices for each character are difficult to distinguish from one another, so if you get distracted for even a moment, you're lost.
That said, I adore listening to his voice. It is smooth and magnetic (which is a boon when he's reading as the antagonist). I will probably buy a copy of the book as well so that when I listen again, I'll have a frame of reference to use when I get lost in Mr. Sklar's voice.
The first thing I want to address right off the bat,(and no disrespect meant), is that narrator Alan Sklar sounds exactly like Stacy Keach. The whole time I was listening, I couldn't get Stacy Keach out of my mind. Needless to say, Mr. Sklar did a fantastic job and was a pleasure to 'listen' to.
Okay, so the story itself: If the few times that the date was mentioned (mid 70's) within was actually witheld, there is no reason why the reader/listener couldn't accept that the story didn't take place today. That in essence is a key aspect as to how decent a book can be, that it's main premise can withstand a time gap of 40+ years and still feel as if it is current.
Although most people today probably picked this up as a background to Silence of the Lambs (like me), you will find that the gold that is Hannibal Lecter is somewhat shorter than one would expect. His few chapters are indeed riveting, and the few notions in which Thomas Harris plants the seeds of how Hannibals mind and machinations work sadly have very little payoff in the novel as a whole. Hannibals insertions within seem like an overall tease with Harris alluding to events between Will and Lecter, but the full background is never realized piquing the interest of the listener...but never really delivering.
The first few chapters in which the crime scenes are reconstructed are very well done, walking us step by detailed (and gruesome) step and sets up the overall story on Will's quest to apprehend the "Tooth Fairy" (aka Red Dragon). In this aspect the first 1/3rd of the book was phenominal, but then the story seems to downshift a bit and take on more of a formulaic detective procedural which seemed to be lacking the physcolgical and twisted elements I was hoping for. The brief backstory (or pehaps 'origin', if you will) of the Red Dragon in his youth was interesting and forming, but when brought forward to his present day events, the Red Dragon himself seemed to lose some of his own mystique in my opinion and seemed rather ordinary other than the mandatory anti-social quirk and physical issues....but really nothing out of the ordinary (maybe I'm not being fair...perhaps I'm just de-sensitized from watching too much 48 Hours or other police procedurals).
Towards the end, chapters are slightly shorter and take on a slightly faster pace and the payoff was somewhat predictable but at least satisfying, although not great. And of course, there is the obligatory Lecter reference in the end which is nothing more than brief 'fan-service', but doesn't matter one way or another. That being said, still one of the better crime-stories I've read/heard in a long time and is a nice introcudtion to the Lecter universe.
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