Like a poisonous snake on the attack, this novel bites again and again and again, leaving its victim shaken and disturbed. I am somehow one of the only people in the known universe who had never read anything by Thomas Harris — I’ve remedied that, and am now moving on to this book’s follow-up, Silence of the Lambs.
Hard case mystery and bloody tale of the macabre in equal measure, Harris explores the sociopathic psychology without fear or hesitation: Frances Dolarhyde and Dr. Hannibal Lecter come alive in a way that is all too rare in modern fiction. And this novel’s protagonist, troubled investigator Will Graham, is fully fleshed out — his attempts at overcoming his past are heartbreaking and intoxicating.
One of the scariest books I’ve ever read, Red Dragon left me feeling throttled in a way dark fiction hasn’t made me feel in some time. This is worthy of all the praise it has received since its release in 1981. This one will stay with me for quite a while.