~ Synopsis ~
As part of the search for serial murderer nicknames “Buffalo Bill,” FBI trainee Clarice Starling is given an assignment. She must visit a man confined to a high-security facility for the criminally insane and interview him.
That man, Dr. Hannibal Lector, is a former psychiatrist with unusual tastes and an intense curiosity about the darker corners of the mind. His intimate understand of the killer and of Clarice herself form the core of Thomas Harris’ The Silence of the Lambs – an unforgettable classic of suspense fiction.
Excuse my sick sense of humor. Silence of the Lambs has been one of my all time favorite movies since it was released in 1991 when I was just 12 years old. I turned thirteen a few days after it’s release, I remember vividly buying a ticket to the Neverending Story 2 and sneaking in to watch Silence of the Lambs. I’d been somewhat obsessed with Anthony Hopkins since Magic – if you haven’t heard of that movie? Anthony Hopkins + Ventriloquist doll = the stuff of nightmares.
Annnnnyways. I’ve had Silence of the Lambs sitting on my bookshelf for YEARS and for whatever reason I never actually picked it up and read it. I was going through all my books on my bookshelves and trying to sort them out between what I’ve read and haven’t – Silence of the Lambs shot to the top of the TBR list of these paperbacks and I’m still asking myself why the hell I didn’t read it sooner – I couldn’t put it down, even though I’ve seen the movie 1,000,000 times – no joke, and I knew just about everything that was going to happen (there were some slight differences from book to movie) I was still very much hooked.
Especially the last 100 pages of the book – it was non-stop action and I was reading as fast as I could to find out what would happen next. All the while, Anthony Hopkins dancing around in my imagination – screwing around with Clarice and generally making everyone’s lives a living hell – hoping they find Catherine before Buffalo Bill skins her.
The story is a dramatic one – and so much pain-staking detail written to really give you the feel that you’re part of this investigation right along side Clarice – and it was SO much fun! (If you like chasing serial killers and talking to psychopaths.)
I can’t believe I didn’t read this sooner.
I read Red Dragon years ago, probably right after Silence of the Lambs came out in the theater – and I loved it, why this one escaped my clutches until now? BEYOND me. Because really, it’s a classic cat/mouse chase – just a little more disturbing circumstances than what might happen to the mouse if the cat got a hold of him.
The one thing I wasn’t expecting was the relationship between Hannibal and Clarice – now, I’ve heard rumors of what happens in Hannibal – but I’ve never read it, so I won’t make assumptions. But honestly, it was as if Hannibal was almost flirting with her – more so than I thought Harris would illustrate. And it makes Hannibal that much more human – and why we fucking root for this mad man. Because under any normal circumstances we wouldn’t (would we?)
He’s killed numerous innocent people – some for no other reason than their mistakes made during a musical recital. Or that their therapy wasn’t going anywhere – boring Hannibal to the point of bashing their heads in and eating their kidneys. But the way Thomas Harris writes this character – we do root for him, for his revenge and the hopes that he’ll be able to escape the hands of Dr. Chilton. That’s just plain talent.
If you’re in the mood for a fast-paced, action thriller (that you may or may not know the outcome of) you should check this out – it’s so worth it, even if you’ve seen the movie. It may be the best adaptation of a novel I’ve ever seen now comparing the two.
About the Author, Thomas Harris
Thomas Harris began his writing career covering crime in the United States and Mexico, and was a reporter and editor for the Associated Press in New York City. His first novel, Black Sunday, was printed in 1975, followed by Red Dragon in 1981, The Silence of the Lambs in 1988, Hannibal in 1999, and Hannibal Rising in 2006. (via the author’s website)