Book Review: Hannibal


Hannibal- Thomas Harris
Hannibal- Thomas Harris

The third in the eponymous trilogy, Hannibal brings us another duel between legendary Dr. Hannibal Lecter and FBI Agent Clarice Starling. The events in the book happen seven years after Dr. Lecter’s daredevil escape from secure confinement.

Clarice Starling is struggling with a crumbling career when she gets a chance of revival- in the form of an opportunity to face Dr. Hannibal Lecter again. No one who’s met Hannibal is likely to forget the man in a hurry, more so a maimed victim blaming Hannibal for his predicament. That’s two people after Lecter, not to mention his own personal demons.

The last time Starling faced Hannibal, there was blood. What happens this time around? Harris takes us on another chilling ride filled with horror, revenge and intrigue. This time we delve deeper into Hannibal’s mind and the effect is somewhat of an anti-climax. The fear instilled by reading his actions are heightened and then allowed to fall heavily on ground, with a dull thud, after exploring the mind behind the mask of the man.

One can’t decide whether it humanizes Dr. Hannibal Lecter or makes him more grotesque. If you are looking for another Silence of the Lambs, you won’t find it. The book is a must because you have to know, you have to read it after reading Red Dragon and Silence of the Lambs, because you have to go the whole mile and see for yourself at what Hannibal has become and has made of others.

Harris still wields power with his words and plot, and at times overwhelms. But you know how a pampered mind is, once it has seen the best, it seldom if ever compromises with the almost best; but let that not deter you and go pick this tale of horror immediately.

You can also read the review here.

Book Review : The Firm by John Grisham


The Firm- John Grisham
The Firm- John Grisham

For a lawyer, getting signed on by a big law firm with a paycheck that’s almost indecent to talk in public circles must be a dream come true. Add to that a swanky BMW being leased to you, a lovely home with a decorator, and perks that even some of the white collar folks don’t get and that’s your very own fairy tale in the making.

For Mitch McDeere it started like that. He loved his work, loved his wife, loved his home, basically he loved his life and himself to death. And death it was in the wings for him. As days pass, an uneasiness begins to creep in their minds but McDeere is so taken with his life, he hardly has the time to pay heed to such feeble nagging doubts.

Till Wayne Tarrane, special agent FBI comes along and plants some seeds of information that would make their feeble doubts grow into wild untamed weeds. With the bean stalk of doubt growing larger every day, Mitch does some digging about and opens a big can of worms that’s more trouble than is worth.

Trapped between the FBI and his outwardly calm but sinister employers, Mitch has to find a way to keep his and his wife’s life safe. What follows is a plot that keeps you turning pages.

Grisham is a gifted story-teller. He belongs to the school of writers who stuck to a linear narrative while weaving a complex web of turns and twists. His characters beseech you to empathise with them and, at the same time, marvel at their sheer audacity and genius in executing this con of cons.

It helps that Grisham himself practised law and has a knack for not going overboard with jargon.He is your ultimate racounteur of modern-day legal thrillers.

This is such a bestseller that there’s bound to be a copy of it at every and any bookstore. So, go grab your copy, take the day off and get hooked.


You can also read other reviews here.

Book Review: The Silence of the Lambs

The Silence of the Lambs- Thomas Harris
The Silence of the Lambs - Thomas Harris

If Red Dragon was anything to go by, Harris outdoes himself in his second offering in the Hannibal trilogy with The Silence of Lambs. This time he brings in a new heroine, FBI Trainee Clarice Starling who is called in by Special Agent Jack Crawford to talk to Dr. Hannibal Lecter and see if he can provide any insights on the murderer fashioned “Buffalo Bill” by the Kansas City Police.

Buffalo Bill kidnaps young women, skins them and murders them and is now on a cross-country rampage. Starling suspects Hannibal knows much more about the killer than he is revealing after his predictions about the next victim are astoundingly accurate. But Hannibal plays around with Starling, divulging bits and pieces of information as clues in return for her allowing him to analyze her. When the daughter of Senator Ruth Martin gets kidnapped and they find her discarded blouse on the roadside, there is no doubt left as to who the kidnapper is and the heat increases on Starling. While she has to chase an evil twisted mind in a race against time, she has to endure further humiliation and seek help from the more sinister and dangerous Dr. Lecter.

Will Clarice Starling survive this game of cat and mouse? Will the crime fighters manage to keep these malevolent criminals from further horrors? You can only watch with bated breath and mounting excitement, for Harris unleashes his talent at coldblooded crime and mystery and shocks you. In the first novel, we see only a glimpse of Hannibal which manages to frighten us; this time we get to know him a little better and that doesn’t do any good for our stomach. It is hard to digested the horror contained in the mind of one man, one man who studied minds, who is brilliant and highly intelligent, and one who’s cold calculating mind understands crime and is capable of orchestrating a deadly game of chase. It is difficult not to be swept away and intimidated by Hannibal Lecter. Harris wears the crown of horror thriller very deservingly after this hell of a potboiler.

Read this one for an enormously satisfying experience of fantastic investigation into minds that perpetrate crimes and those that fight crime.


You can also read the review here.

Review: A Maiden’s Grave

A Maiden's Grave-Jeffrey Deaver
A Maiden's Grave-Jeffrey Deaver

“Eight gray birds, sitting in dark.

Cold wind blows, it isn’t kind.”

Eight school kids and their teachers are kidnapped by three escaped convicts and are taken hostage in a slaughterhouse in rural Kansas. The FBI is trying to negotiate their release with their abductors. Seems like a run of the mill hostage thriller? It would be. Had it not been for the eight school kids and their teacher to be deaf.

The prime criminal is Lou Handy, savage and brutal who threatens to kill a girl every hour if his demands are not meant. Arthur Potter, the FBI’s top negotiator, tries his best over the time frame of around 18 hours to get the hostages out safely. The cat and mouse game is as thrilling as it can get.

The routine hostage-release drama is convoluted and twisted by Deaver to bring out subtle nuances of relationships that develop between the hostage, the kidnapper and the rescuer. The hearing impairment of the hostages lends a subtext to the story overall and Deaver sprinkles illuminating factoids across the pages that bring out the scope of the drama in a more vivid manner.

When I read the book, I found it to be disturbing in some ways. But the twists and turns never ceased to shock. Deaver weaves a thriller so complex and tight, it is amazing to find a love story blooming amidst all the thorns.

Read the complete review here.