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Review: Red Dragon by Thomas Harris


Sexual hunger; demonic violence; sinister logic – the lethal components of a deadly formula driving a psychopath in the grip of an unimagin-able delusion; a boastful killer who sends the police tormenting notes; a tortured, torturing monster who finds ultimate pleasure in viciously murdering happy families, and calls himself. . . The Red Dragon.

My thoughts

Don’t judge a book by its TV series!

I LOVE the TV show Hannibal! It’s one of my favorites. I also watched the movies (most of them a long time ago, Red Dragon only about a year ago) and it was time to finally read the original story. In short: Brian Fuller did a WAY better job on telling the story of Hannibal the Cannibal than this book and any of the movies did.

This book is quite old. It is set in the 1980s and was therefore both weird and fun to read. The most annoying thing was e.g. to read peoples’ date of birth and be confused about how old they are until I remembered what year this book is set in. The fun part was the lack of our modern technology. Instead they use typewriters and don’t have any fancy gadgets (which I find very annoying in today’s crime TV series).

One thing that also annoyed me a lot (which I hoped would differ from the movie but didn’t) is that you know who the killer is from pretty early on. I understand that Harris did it to give us an insight into the killer’s mind and let us see why he is so messed up. It also means that we know how to connect him to his victims though, something the investigators were not able to do and that drove me crazy while reading. I just don’t like to know who the killer is in general because it always makes the investigators seem stupid in my opinion.

Another thing I wanted to differ from the movie was the extent of Hannibal’s role in this story which it did, but in the wrong way. The movie didn’t have enough from him in it and the book had even less which was kind of a disappointment even if I knew it would be like that.

On top of this it was just damn weird reading this book after having watched the TV series so intensely (rewatched season 1 in a few days in preparation for season 2 and read the book around that evil finale of season 2). It was awesome to recognize some things from the TV show (e.g. Freddie in the wheelchair :D) but besides that I had a hard time picturing the characters as how they are described in the book. The weirdest: some genders are switched. E.g. Freddie Lounds and Alan(a) Bloom are men in this book but I still saw the actresses from the TV series in my head. I also mixed the actors: Will will always be Hugh Dancy for me, but Hannibal is Anthony Hopkins.

I’m not sure if I’m going to read the other three books in the series. I was already bored reading this one and rewatched the movie “Hannibal” recently which was even more boring. Maybe I’ll just stick to the TV series.

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  • Ganz so arg langweilig fand ich es dann doch nicht, das Problem ist halt dass man die Geschichte durch den Film einfach schon kennt und sich die Spannung dadurch in Grenzen hält…

    Ist halt irgendwie blöd dass Hannibal in dem Buch so selten vorkommt, auch wenn ich Tooth Fairy/Red Dragon als Täterfigur auch recht interessant fand – vor allem die Sachen mit der Oma :D

    Hätten wir bei “Hannibal” mal erst das Buch gelesen und dann den Film geguckt, bei den ganzen bescheuerten Sachen im Buch hätte man sich bestimmt super drüber aufregen können xD

Jun 15, 2014