"Will Graham stands in a silent, empty house communing with a killer. An FBI instructor with a gift for hunting madmen, Graham knows what his murderer looks like, how he thinks, and what he did to his victims after they died. Now Graham must try to catch him. But to do it, he must feel the heat of a killer's brain, draw on the macabre advice of a dangerous mental patient, Dr. Hannibal Lecter, and follow a trail of microscopic clues to the place where another family has already been chosen to die--and where an innocent woman has found the Dragon first."
"This is my design." (Quote from the tv show, Hannibal)
I honestly don't care how Thomas Harris describes Hannibal Lecter, Will Graham, Alan Bloom, and Chilton. To me, they are Mads Mikkelsen and Hugh Dancy. And Alana Bloom. And that guy... who I barely remember. And Hannigram (the slash pairing of Hannibal and Will) is canon. But seriously, I'm getting way ahead of myself now. That tv show (2013-2015) is the prequel to Red Dragon.
As for those Hannigram shippers (like me), there is pretty much only one or two scenes where Hannibal interacts with Graham. Still, it is rather chilling to read. Something along the lines of "You and I are similar to one another." That is from Hannibal Lecter to Will Graham. Thanks to that, I have hundreds of quotes from the tv show running through my mind. ("You and I have begun to blur" to "Potential in our beloved.") Thanks, Bryan Fuller.
Let's start with the villain. Red Dragon, otherwise known as the Tooth Fairy. He has quite a sad background, but it still doesn't excuse his behavior. And his past is really, really creepy. I'm pretty sure his grandmother was a serial killer, too. But alas, we'll never know. Surprisingly, readers can't help but sympathize with him and the things that happened to him. But seriously. He doesn't need to kill people (and he should have gone to a shrink for that mental problem).
Will Graham. I can't help but see him as Hugh Dancy. Anyway, he is constantly described as amazing and awesome by several characters, and he does indeed have a few scenes like that. Still, I can't help but wonder at the "let's go see Hannibal" move. (Well, I'll do anything for some Hannigram scenes, though.)
It should be surprise to none that the mystery's tech is a bit outdated. Few mentions of technology, and I doubt they have invented something sophisticated and quick as today's devices. (And yay for Beverly Katz! She's... Oh, crap. Spoilers for the tv show.)
As for the descriptions, the descriptions for the murderer and the murders are the strongest. Everything else... Not as strong, but characterization is good. I wish I saw more of Hannibal Lecter and his relationship to Will Graham.
Overall, Red Dragon is a deliciously dark story about a serial killer and Will Graham. It's easy to see the similarities between the tv show and the book. Though it has little to none Hannigram moments and few appearances of Hannibal Lecter, it's still a stellar read.
Rating: Four out of Five