Red Dragon by Thomas Harris is a real treat for all the fans of the Crime, Psychological Horror, Mystery, Suspense, and Thriller genres.
Truly, a life of crime is nothing short of a life full of deceptions, lies, and secrets. Such is a lifetime chosen by serial killers. The urge to kill for sport, belief, and pleasure, or just because they could. And somehow, they also can’t help but want to get caught.
Most often than not, the cruelest thing about a crime holds subtlest hints, as they drop crumbs intentionally for you to find. Please pay close attention, to the subtle clues they are.
I dare say you give this one a chance, it even has its own movie adaptation. After all, who doesn’t know Hannibal Lecter?
The Series that brought Hannibal Lecter to life
Red Dragon is the second book from the Hannibal Lecter series. It is the prequel to The Silence of the Lambs and is written by Thomas Harris, a thriving contemporary fiction writer.
The Red Dragon depicts a concept of mental instability showcased by the characters and the conflicting thoughts of a man of the law about how a human being would have the capacity to commit murder.
In this horror-crime and psychological thriller, Harris has created the most famous and notorious anti-hero known in American Literature in the embodiment of Hannibal Lecter.
The Search for the ‘Tooth Fairy’
But in this story, we follow a new insane serial killer with our favorite FBI forensic profiler, Will Graham. Said profiler came back from retirement when he heard of the case of the infamous killer known as ‘The Tooth Fairy.’
We unravel why it is entitled ‘Red Dragon,’ as we progress in the story. And as by delving more profound through the relationships and backstories of the characters.
And even though we may have come across many serial killer stories, there is a certain appeal to how Harris has fashioned a killer from the same serial killer formula but somehow managed to lure the readers to his side.
It is rare for people to sympathize with killers, but with Red Dragon, Harris has created a connection where people can relate to the characters.
The Truth about the ‘Red Dragon’
Red Dragon revolves around the man responsible for finally putting famed serial killer Hannibal Lecter behind bars.
Now, at this point, it is important that you have read the first installment of the series. And for those who read the first book, we are back with Detective Will Graham.
Graham places himself in a fragile mental state that constantly conflicts with himself and questions his ability to relate so easily to these types of killers. Killer minds think alike; only Graham knows he is not, so why?
The conflict in the story revolves around the Person vs Person. It is a battle of wits and deception between our main protagonist, Will Graham, and our enigmatic serial killer, the ‘Tooth Fairy’.
The continued chase between these two main characters shows the relationship between the hunter and the prey. Only the real question is, who is who?
Furthermore, Graham was in pursuit of a killer he knows nothing about. And ‘Tooth Fairy’ is aware that he’s being hunted, confident he won’t get caught— at least not anytime soon.
The Red Dragon is the symbolism of the story itself. It does not pertain to a literal Red Dragon. No, the Red Dragon represents the abuse and traumatic response of the Tooth Fairy that lead him to a life of murder. And this brings us to how Harris has used a mature yet satirical tone throughout the entire novel.
Why you should read the Red Dragon
Harris conveyed the themes of mental sickness and homicidal tendencies, connecting them to the effects of childhood trauma of abuse. The Red Dragon represents how evil isn’t born but is raised and cultivated. We’ll see how the reason for the killer’s brokenness has manifested into sin and how it somehow helped him create an escape.
The Tooth Fairy is a sick, broken, mentally unwell man. And yes, his way of seeking comfort and coping is deluding himself that he is a more extraordinary being.
Well, are you finally curious to know who the Tooth Fairy is? (Please don’t spoil the fun for those who have seen the movie or the series, or read the book. Thanks!)
So to READ or NOT to READ the Red Dragon by Thomas Harris? It is a big YES, for me.
"Leanne or LJ -- as what her friends would like to call her-- is a walking enigma. She loves reading books more than going out, but would if her family drags her out. The limelight was never her spot, and if you look hard enough, you'll find her in a corner enjoying her peace in the shadows of other people's light.