By Thomas Harris
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Red Dragon is a novel written by Thomas Harris, first published in 1981. Red Dragon was the first novel to feature Thomas Harris‘s character Dr. Hannibal Lecter, a brilliant psychiatrist and cannibalistic serial killer.
In 1980, a serial killer popularly nicknamed the Tooth Fairy stalks and murders seemingly random families during sequential full moons. He kills the Jacobi family in Birmingham on Saturday June 28 and the Leeds family in Atlanta on July 26. Two days after the latter murder, Special Agent Jack Crawford seeks out his protégé, Will Graham, a brilliant profiler who was the agent who actually captured Hannibal Lecter three years earlier, but retired after Lecter almost killed him. Crawford goes to Sugarloaf Key and pleads with Graham for his assistance, and Graham reluctantly agrees. After checking over the crime scenes, with only minimal insight, he realizes that he must once again visit Lecter and seek his help in capturing the Tooth Fairy.
The Tooth Fairy is actually a disturbed man named Francis Dolarhyde. Calling himself The Great Red Dragon (because of his obsession with the William Blake painting “The Great Red Dragon and the Woman Clothed in Sun”), Dolarhyde is unable to control his violent, sexual urges. These conditions were born from the systematic child abuse he suffered at the hands of his grandmother…
Red Dragon by Thomas Harris: Graham continues to run into complications, the first being Freddy Lounds, a tabloid reporter who follows Graham relentlessly for leads on the Tooth Fairy story. Further complicating the investigation is the secret correspondence between Lecter and Dolarhyde, where Lecter provides Dolarhyde with Graham’s home address, endangering Graham’s wife and child, who are evacuated to a remote farm which belongs to Crawford’s brother. Graham discovers the secret communication and tries to intercept it without Lecter’s knowledge but the doctor is quick to realize that the Feds are onto him and his protégé and humiliates the authorities by upping the stakes: in return for his help in capturing the Tooth Fairy, he requests a first-class meal in his cell and having his book privileges returned.
Hoping to lure the Tooth Fairy into a trap, Graham gives Lounds an interview in which he characterizes the killer as an impotent homosexual. This provokes Dolarhyde, who kidnaps Lounds, forces him to recant his allegations, sets him on fire and deposits his charred but alive body outside his newspaper’s offices…
At about the same time, Dolarhyde falls in love with a blind co-worker named Reba McClane. Dolarhyde’s new-found love conflicts with his homicidal urges, which manifest themselves in his mind as an alternate personality he calls “The Great Red Dragon”. After beginning a relationship with Reba, Dolarhyde attempts to stop the Dragon’s “possession” of him; he goes to the Brooklyn Museum, beats a museum secretary unconscious, and eats the original Blake watercolor of The Red Dragon.
Graham eventually realizes that the killer knew the layout of his victims’ houses from their home cine films, which he only could have seen if he worked for the film processing lab that develops home movies. Dolarhyde’s job gives him access to all home movies that pass through the company. When he sees Graham interviewing his boss, Dolarhyde realizes that they are on to him and goes to see Reba … in Red Dragon by Thomas Harris… (Summary by Wikipedia)
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