Book: Red Dragon (RIP)
Unless you count Hunger Games, this is my first RIP book of the season! I feel like I missed a book somewhere, but oh well.
I was looking for “scary books” on the internets and this book kept coming up over and over on the lists, so I thought I would give it a try since my library was surprisingly short on RIP-appropriate books.
This is the first book in which we meet Dr. Hannibal Lecter, one of the most charismatic villains on page or screen, ever. I first met him when Silence of the Lambs came out when I was in high school — saw the movie, was terrified, loved it. I later read the book and it too was just incredible.
So I was a little disappointed that he didn’t play a larger role in this book, although I understand why, since of course there is another main character altogether. Still, Lecter’s presence is felt throughout the book and when it’s not, we miss it.
The main baddie of this book is Francis Dolarhyde, a severely damaged individual with some pretty intense mother-issues. He is obsessed with Blake’s painting “The Great Red Dragon and the Woman Clothed In The Sun” and feels that he is Becoming the Red Dragon himself. And what does the Red Dragon want? All sorts of nasty things. Very, very bad disturbing things. And poor Francis (by the end, I began to feel sorry for Francis, clearly in the grip of a terrible mental/emotional disorder and struggling to fight it) must obey the Dragon.
I found the investigator, Will, kind of boring. He was supposed to be this fascinating guy with a great talent for solving profile mysteries, but I found him to be kind of whiny and annoying. I thought the bad guys were WAY better in this book. That’s sort of the point, yes? Interesting bad guys?
Not very horrifying or scary, but certainly suspenseful, interesting, a little gory, but ultimately a pretty good read. The ending was a letdown, too. So I guess my overall assessment is: Great start, good bad guys, Hannibal Lecter: yay!, boring good guys, bizarre tangents, emotional distress at feeling sad for bad guy, bad ending.
Would I read it again, knowing what I know now? Yes, because hello, Hannibal Lecter!
Not really that great for RIP but what can you do when you are relying on the library? Next up: Flavia de Luce! Yes! Now that’s what I’m talking about.