THOMAS HARRIS - "RED DRAGON" (ARROW)
I didn't even know there was a prequel to Thomas Harris "The Silence of the Lambs". On the sales wave caused by the release of Harris' new title, "Hannibal", no doubt a lot of people will have decided to check out the book versions of other stuff Harris has written. So have I.
"Red Dragon" is, frankly, even better than "The Silence of the Lambs". This is largely caused, no doubt, by my not knowing what was going to happen. In the beginning I didn't know who was doing it, and the ending was a total surprise. In "Red Dragon", too, there's a psychopath. This one works at a film lab, where he selects the families he wants to butcher by screening films until he sees families with a pet, children, happiness. We get a glimpse of the psychopath's reasons in between chapters where FBI officer Will Graham investigates.
There is plenty of suspense in "Red Dragon". Plenty of horror, too. Thomas Harris has worked in crime reporting, where he probably got a lot of inspiration for the stuff he describes. It's scary, difficult even to understand how someone could think this up, let alone act it out. Harris masterfully introduces new elements - such as a girl that haplessly finds herself attracted to the Red Dragon - and wields the story well. That, too, made "Red Dragon" one of the best books I've read in a while.
Released 1981, ISBN 0-09-911151-9
Written August 1999
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