It’s hard to be objective about this one, because it’s my mortal enemy for the month. Because of Dueling Monsters, I’ve sorta brainwashed myself into talking smack about it. But I’ll try my bestest to tell you what I really thought (as opposed to my staunchly anti-Hannibal Dueling Monsters stance).
Will Graham is called out of early retirement to help find a psychopathic serial killer the police have dubbed the Tooth Fairy (he likes to bite). Will is stumped, so he calls upon his old buddy (not really) Hannibal Lecter to help give him some insight into the mind of the Tooth Fairy.
Unfortunately for Dueling Monsters, we went with a book that doesn’t feature much Hannibal. Oops. However, the Tooth Fairy aka the Red Dragon does get quite a bit of attention, and he’s definitely not a nice guy. The Dragon (he much prefers Dragon over Tooth Fairy…wouldn’t you?) has quite a few of his own chapters, so it’s certainly no secret as to who the murderer is. The only question is whether Will can get his shit together quick enough to catch him before the next family is killed.
Although I got bored with parts of the book (the police procedural sections…yawn), the Red Dragon parts were appropriately scary. Especially what happens to Freddy the journalist (and I use that term loosely in reference to poor Freddy). Ewwww. Ew, ew, ew, ew, ew.
The dragon dude (whose real name is Francis Dolarhyde) had a rough childhood (cleft palate, mom who didn’t want him, mentally abusive grandma who came with one scary-ass set of chompers herself) and he’s become obsessed with body building, film, and perfect families. Also, this painting:
That’s William Blake’s The Great Red Dragon and the Woman Clothed in Sun. Seems Dolarhyde enjoys fantasizing that he is THE DRAGON. And when he’s THE DRAGON he starts to talk like Owen Meaney (ALL CAPS, ALL THE TIME). Luckily, this doesn’t happen until the end of the book, because as much as I can appreciate an occasional word or two in all caps, continuous all-capsy dialogue is wearisome.
Also, it’s a shame that when Francis made a little snack out of the painting (yes, he EATS it) it didn’t negate it’s existence. Because that painting really does exist, and the dragon image is used on the cover of my copy of the book. Only with more red tones. It’s horrific.
Originally, the Dragon’s focus was on choreographing the perfect, beautiful murder. I thought that was a great premise, but it seems to have been forgotten as The Dragon meets Reba and then loses his shit. Okay, so he’d already lost his shit, but he really, really loses his shit after Reba enters stage right. Anyways…the whole film thing gets lost, and while I certainly am not advocating for more murders, I think that the whole film angle could have played out more had the Dragon been given more time to do his thing. More backstory, maybe? Because he’d only killed and staged two families before the story began. Like I said, it’s not that I want more murder, but I think a longer killing spree might’ve been more effective in showing what he was all about. Cinematically, at least.
A few other notes:
Grandma Dolarhyde? What a bitch.
Mother Dolarhyde? Ditto.
All the Vogt kiddos? Ditto ditto.
Will and Molly’s ending? Tragic.
That old wheelchair? Shudder.
Hannibal? The man is so brilliant it’s frightening. I’ve never read any of the other books, but I saw Silence of the Lambs in college and just the thought of that movie still scares me. Anthony Hopkins whispering Clarice? Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah.
However, when all is said and done? I still think Patrick Bateman from American Psycho is the ultimate bad boy of monsters. Check back later this week and I’ll tell you why.
This is also one of my R.I.P. reads.