Review: Red Dragon by Thomas Harris

Hi guys,

I’ve been obsessing with the TV show “Hannibal” for half a year now (I finished it last week) and started reading the book which the show is based on pretty much right away.

Red Dragon

Book information
Pages: 348
Published on: November 16th 1980
Publisher: Dutton


The book follows FBI profiler Will Graham. After a tragic accident in which he caught Cannibal Hannibal Lecter, he retired with his wife and his step-son to a quiet place in Florida. Not so quiet after Jack Crawford, Will’s mentor, asks him to work again with him to find a murdered of two families. Needless to say, Will agrees to work with Jack although he well remembers the time he almost got killed by catching Hannibal. And from that moment on you just know that Will is going to be in danger again.


How can you not love Will Graham – and protect him, if we say so. The story is elvolving around him, next to the killer, whereas you get to know Will better and feel that he has a pretty fragil mind already. If that’s not enough, Hannibal tries to reach out from his prison of the Cheasapeak Asylum, no, the killer is also behind his back. You really hope that Will figures out the murder case and comes out of this mess alive.

Hannibal Lecter isn’t a really prominent character in this book. He doesn’t show up often in a scene or is mentioned at all. This is a book more about the basics of Hannibal Lecter. You get to know him and his history with Will through the story, yet the story is about another psychopath. I read somewhere that it’s the case because you first get an insight about a general psychopath, not just Hannibal, to move on to him in the following books.

Then there is the killer. You get a pretty good view on his behaviour and thinking, the reader basically understands why he does what he does and how he became this person. Which makes you kind of sympathetic for him because you can read the reasons why he got like this. I mean it’s still his decision to kill people but brainwashing isn’t cool either.

The side characters are well written and not annoying. You get why there are there and have some depths. That’s how you do well written side characters.

My opinion

I really liked reading the book, it has been exciting and well written. It was easy to turn the pages. Personally there has been a little bit too much of an insight of the murderer, it could have been shown in a few shorter paragraphs why the man turned out like he did. On the other side, maybe I wouldn’t have understood him that well?

Personally I’ve preferred the parts Will and the other agents were in since these parts interested me more and I could better identify. Plus this kind of work seems to be really interesting and to say so, exciting. Minus finding out who killed people.

Then there’s the point that was kind of disappointing for me: I knew the show and therefore knew the plot. The show is really close to the book and therefore I knew about 95% of the storyline. There have been made some changes in the show, I liked about 50% of the changes better (for example: I prefer the book ending).

Else, it has been an intelligent read I would recommend to people who like criminal stories, a bit of gore and most of all Stephen King without super-weird endings. It’s not to complicated to read (and with complicated I mean big medical words and whatsoever or complicated sentences).

The book got 5 out of 5 goodreads stars because I thought it would have been absolutely perfect if I hadn’t known the story from the TV show. So I subtracted that part from my mind and voilá – 5 stars!

xo Annina

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2 thoughts on “Review: Red Dragon by Thomas Harris

  1. Pingback: Read in April 2016

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