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 the Lambs and Hannibal, Harris introduced the unforgettable character Dr. Hannibal Lecter. And in it, Will Graham — the FBI man who hunted Lecter down — risks his sanity and his life to duel a killer called the … RED DRAGON
Review: Of course I’ve heard of The Silence of the Lambs, both the book and the movie, and I’ve even seen part of the movie. However, I never had a strong desire to read the books in the series. A friend let me borrow the entire series so I decided to go ahead and check it out, starting with the first book in the series. I was a little confused, when, a few pages in, it is clear that this book chronologically takes place after The Silence of the Lambs. I wondered if I was supposed to read this last even though it was published first, but sure enough, it is number one in the series and most people recommend reading it in the series order even though they don’t line up chronologically.
The story is about a retired investigator named Will Graham. He’s enjoying his well deserved retirement with his wife and stepson in Florida after hunting down several serial killers, including the famous Hannibal Lecter. However, his peaceful life is interrupted by a FBI agent asking him to temporarily leave retirement to help track down another serial killer who is already responsible for murdering 2 entire families. Investigators are stumped and they know Will Graham is the best at understanding and predicting the behavior of serial killers.
Graham ends up immersing himself in the investigation of the “Tooth Fairy,” who eventually morphs into the “Red Dragon.” He’s willing to do anything to track down the person responsible for 8 murders who will most likely kill again within the next few weeks, including consulting Hannibal Lecter, who is locked up in a high security mental facility.
This book is filled with fairly graphic descriptions of horrific murders. I was wondering if I would be really disturbed, but it reminded me of some of Stephen King’s books, especially the Bill Hodges trilogy, so I felt prepared. The reader hears about the horrible stuff through Graham’s point of view and also the killer’s point of view. It’s weirdly intimate and emotionally confusing being able to see into the killer’s mind and past and sometimes even feeling sorry for the murderer.
I ended up really enjoying the story. I couldn’t put it down and kept thinking about it throughout the day when I wasn’t reading. While the content was disturbing, I didn’t feel traumatized by the descriptions, although some people may not have the same experience. I recommend this to adults who are fans of crime fiction/mysteries.
Why I gave this book 4/5 stars: This has been added to my favorites list because of the engaging plot and interesting characters, but it wasn’t as well written as some of the other books that have received a 5 star rating from me in the past.