Thomas Harris’ writing has become mainstream and after reading Red Dragon, I can see why. Hannibal Lector has become a household name and he isn’t even the main character of Red Dragon. The serial killer genre is crowded but when the novel was first published in 1981, that was not the case. Harris’ work was so riveting that not only did it become an instant success, it has stood the test of time. Check out the book review below!
Red Dragon: Summary
When Will Graham, a former FBI profiler, is asked to come back to help catch a serial killer, his old demons reawaken. And he has a lot. One of them is Hannibal Lector, a serial killer Graham helped put away. After being called back to investigate two similar murders, Graham gives Lector a visit to get some insight on the current serial killer, the Tooth Fairy. But things go wrong in a hurry as Lector’s invisible hands influence the killer.
The Red Dragon, the name the serial killer has chosen, has killed two families already. He is planning to kill another one during the next full moon. Graham and the FBI must solve the mystery before he strikes again. But asking Lector for help has put Graham and his family in danger. With the threat of two serial killers hanging over his head, Graham is under intense pressure to solve the case before anyone else dies.
You may be thinking this is another psychological thriller and you would be wrong. Yes, it technically falls under that category but it is not a cheap thrill. Harris puts a lot of detail in his novel and you can see that when you examine his characters. The fact that Lector has become a mainstream name proves that Harris’ characters are larger than life.
I sped through the novel and was on the edge of my seat the whole time. The writing was fantastic and the novel was perfect. The characters were detailed, a little too much maybe. One page you might hate a character and the next, you can sympathize with them just like that.
Making one character come to life is hard but Harris makes all of his characters human and you don’t see great writing like this often. There is a reason that Hannibal Lector has passed the test of time. Great writing keeps people talking about the novel or characters. Tolkien is proof of that and the Lector novels are following a similar trajectory!