Book Review: Red Dragon, by Thomas Harris

Red Dragon was Harris’s second novel, and the first to introduce a character who has surely become one of the most memorable of fictional villains – Hannibal Lecter. Lecter is behind bars, yet still capable of influencing events on the outside, including the inspiration he unwittingly offers to a deeply disturbed killer known as the Red Dragon. Two families have been brutally slaughtered and mutilated by the Dragon. Officers are desperately searching for him, assisted by Will Graham, whose special skills and sensitivities make him an ideal hunter, yet at the same time more likely to suffer emotionally from the hunt and exposure to the killings.

This was a very intriguing read, despite the sudden shift of the story from a thrilling mystery in the first half, when the identity of the killer is still unknown, to a disturbing life story of a vicious killer in the second half, all mystery suddenly removed from the story of the Dragon and his Becoming. Except for the question of whether he can be stopped before he kills again. Odd shift, I thought. But still a very good read.