‘Red Dragon’ by Thomas Harris

Red Dragon

In the first of the Hannibal Lecter books, Thomas Harris introduces his infamous psychiatrist in this tale of a murderous psychopath caught in the grip of a demonic delusion. Lecter is already in jail, but the FBI needs his help to catch the killer of two families. Seeking to satisfy his sexual hunger, the self-styled Red Dragon, is already planning the next murder. Short on clues, the FBI bring in semi-retired investigator Will Graham to help track the killer, but with the murders linked to the lunar cycle, time is running out.

I first read this book many years ago after seeing the Michael Mann film version (Manhunter). Although Lecter only appears briefly in this one, Harris sets the stage for the sequels, ‘The Silence of the Lambs’ and ‘Hannibal’. He also introduces recurring characters, including Dr Chilton and Jack Crawford, and deftly keeps the tension on the boil as the police and FBI teams struggle to discover the identity of the killer.

This is a cracking good read from a master storyteller, and even if you’ve seen one or both movie versions, there’s plenty here to keep you on the edge of your seat.

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