Friday, September 14, 2012

Red Dragon: My New Obsession

Some villains should stay between the pages.
I recently read a post from fellow author, Madeline Iva, where she spoke about loving the bad boys. It got my head turning toward the villain and why a good one always keeps me wanting more. In fact, I’ve been obsessing over villainy so much that I couldn’t help but start re-reading Red Dragon by Thomas Harris. This is one of my all time favorite books and actually the book that introduced me to the world of the dark side. Up until this point, I’d always read pure romance novels.

Then, with Red Dragon, I grasped it. Red Dragon is a thriller that continues to suck me in and keep  me turning the pages, and I can’t help but ask myself why.

1. Hannibal Lecter
If you’ve ever seen the movies, Silence of the Lambs, Hannibal, or even Red Dragon, then you know how diabolically good this character is. To me, he embodies the psychopath quite well. There is no remorse or empathy, but he is charming …too charming. I mean, although I love his character, he is not one that I’d want to actually meet on the other side of the door, let alone have as my treating doctor. But without Hannibal, I don’t think this story would have been the same for me.

2. The  different crazy

When we think of crazy killers, we imagine one who is not as composed; one that truly appears crazy, i.e., their speech pattern is flighty, their eyes are shifty and they speak to voices in their heads. In this case, Hannibal Lecter is none of those things. His calm demeanor is disarming, and even though the narration continues to tell you that his character is off kilter, you can’t help but wonder if the narrator got it wrong. That is, until you see part of his devilishly good planned and perfect moves that shows what is under his well-maintained mask.
What would you do if
Hannibal was on the other side?

3. Police procedural with a “wounded” hero
I’m enjoying this story as well because the hero is damaged. Will Graham, the FBI agent that brought Hannibal in, is still haunted by everything that has happened to him. His life has suffered due to his time at the mercy of this diabolical killer. To me, this adds so much depth to the story. Every hour that the hero has to dive more into the psyche of a serial killer, i.e. The Tooth Fairy, the more it takes from him. There is something fascinating about such three-dimensional characterization.

4. Attention to detail
When I first read this book at the age of 15, there was a lot I didn’t understand, such as the weaver stance, but now with life’s experiences and having even done some great research, I can appreciate every iota of information that the author chose to include in this rich story, even the little things make you go….whoa, such as blood appearing black at night. I never would have considered that, but am forever thankful for his wonderful prose.

Now with the differences in technology, I can’t help but wonder how this story would play out….hmmm, sounds like a great beginning to fan fiction. Any takers?

Magnificent stories don’t age--they only get better.

 Have you read Red Dragon?


About Tina: I am the author of THOU SHALL NOT. I love creating three dimensional characters and am always looking for new people to kill…in my stories.
Check out my author's  blog at and my book is available at Amazon and Barnes and Noble. You can also connect with me on Facebook and on Twitter.


  1. Man, it would be really cool to see what you could do trying some fan fiction with this. Follow your obsessions, I always say. ;>

  2. Madeline,
    Thanks for supporting my idea. I am truly considering my hand at it. The more the idea is forming, the more my gut is screaming for me to go for it!

  3. Hi Tina!

    I'm not a reader of thrillers, but I would have to believe that the best are successful only because of all the things you listed. A good thriller has to have a truly challenging villain. You have definitely studied your genre and it shows in all your writing.

    1. Thanks Denise. I think the villain is what draws me in to the suspense/thriller/mystery genres. The villain has to be even stronger than the hero; he has to make the hero work for that happy ending.

      I am excited to see what comes next in my villainous world, and who is on the other side of the mental door that I have to soon open... :)

  4. I never read the book. The movie was scary enough! (And I like thrillers!) I'll have to check it out though.

    1. It is a great read and the inspiration is priceless. It still creeps me out (and that's a good thing). :)

  5. I found Red Dragon in my early twenties and read it probably three or four times - what a great read! I'm with you Tina, good books are like real class, they never go out of style.

    1. I'm hoping to read more from Thomas Harris, Elvy, once I finish Red Dragon. I am enjoying his characters and his killers. :)