Red Dragon – Thomas Harris

Posted 23 October, 2012 by Trish in Reading Nook, Review / 21 Comments

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Title: Red Dragon
Author: Thomas Harris
Published: 1981  Pages: 343
Genre: Thriller
Rating: Eh 2.5/5

Red Dragon in Short: After two families are brutally murdered a month apart by a psychopath nicknamed The Tooth Fairy, Will Graham is called in to help the FBI solve the crime. Graham finds himself on shaky ground as he is still recovering from the injuries (mental and physical) from his famed capture of Hannibal Lecter.


Why I read Red Dragon: Because Jill and I thought it would be funsies to see whether Hannibal Lecter or Patrick Bateman was the bigger psycho.
Thoughts in General: I saw the movie Red Dragon in the theater with my college roommate. I don’t remember much about it except having to cover my eyes several times (with my hands–I really am that big of a baby). I really expected the book to keep me up at night but other than it being just a creepy I was really let down (maybe anything after IT isn’t scary?).  Also I was constantly distracted by wondering how much more quickly this book would have progressed with today’s crime solving technology. Ha!

Honestly I’m sorry to tell you I don’t have much to say about this book. The moments with Hannibal Lecter were mild and the real story was The Tooth Fairy/Red Dragon/ Francis Dolarhyde. This guy is the stuff of nightmares and there were several tense moments that had my pulse racing. The writing wasn’t anything spectacular–and in fact there were several times when I struggled following conversations and action scenes. I also felt like there was an entire backstory that I should have known but didn’t (mostly what had happened between Graham and Lecter before the beginning of this book). Um so ya. :)

Bottom Line: Snoozefest. Watch the movie instead. Ok, maybe that’s a bit harsh but let’s put it this way—there are bits that I remember vividly from the movie that I watched 10 years ago. I finished this book a week ago and haven’t thought about it once since.

Dueling Monsters!!!!

Ok so the original battle was suppose to be between Hannibal Lecter and Patrick Bateman. We learn from Red Dragon that Hannibal (the Cannibal) is one pretty creepy dude who is smarter than your mom and probably tried to eat your dad. However, I think that Bateman has a lead in the psycho department. BUT!! I’m going to pull Lecter from the fight and put in Dolarhyde. This guy makes Bateman look like a sissy! Just imagine a killer who has special teeth made so that he can bite his victims to death? I won’t mention some of the other details in the book, but trust me–what this guy did is pretty horrific.

Might be a bit of a sucker punch, but I’m calling Red Dragon winner of this year’s Dueling Monsters and Dolarhyde the surprise victor.

Have you read Red Dragon? Are you participating with us this year for Dueling Monsters?

21 Responses to “Red Dragon – Thomas Harris”

  1. Um, Bateman would have been the guy who gave the Tooth Fairy the IDEA to make his own chompers. He would have done so after they shared a line of coke and kicked a puppy. #nolie

    And I agree…where was the back story with Hannibal? Is that story even out there???

  2. If you really want to read about Lecter in all his glory, you should read The Silence of the Lambs. (The movie is better than the book in that case, too, though, because Anthony Hopkins is so good as Lecter.)

  3. Ti

    Oh my. You must have blocked the horror of AP out of your mind if you think this other guy can hold a candle to Mr. Bateman!! Bateman doesn’t need special teeth. His own are well flossed, pearly white and read for chomping.

  4. All I know is, I’m very unlikely to ever read AP! I read silence of the Lambs a while back. I think I enjoyed it but I can’t remember much from it.

  5. Les

    I haven’t read the book, but I did see the movie. It’s all but forgotten, unlike Silence of the Lambs (which, by the way, my husband says the book is even better). I do remember covering my eyes, but it didn’t scare me like Silence of the Lambs. And, yeah, nothing can beat It or The Shining. Well, maybe Heart-Shaped Box by Joe Hill (SK’s son). Have you read it? You should!!!

  6. I’m so glad I didn’t participate in your madness, I wouldn’t have been able to sleep for a looong time! Can you organise a nice and fluffy event next? :-)

  7. Is it in the rules that you can change Monsters at the end – lol?! I was thinking that Lector wasn’t much in this one but I couldn’t remember for sure since I’ve never read it, only seen the movie. But dang, if that brain scene from the movie is in the book – it wins!

  8. Bateman doesn’t need special teeth. He does quite well mutilating and killing with his own whitened chompers. And three words – rat and corpse. Dolarhyde is deeply disturbed and disturbing, but Bateman is in a class all his own!

  9. Changing monsters mid-contest?!? No way! I call shenanigans on that! :-P

    Based on your review, I enjoyed this book more than you did, but I agree that it was not spectacular. I reviewed Red Dragon the other day and cast my vote for Dueling Monsters today.

  10. Ah yes, I remember this book being quite the snooze fest too. The other books were creepy, this one was like, really? Oh well, cross it off the list.

  11. What a nice treat to come back from Ireland and see all of these comments. Thank you. And no–I don’t think it’s a total party foul to want to switch psychos midway through. Although you guys do have me terrified TERRIFIED of American Psycho. So much so that I DIDN’T read the book. Nope…I chickened out. ;)