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 AgentJack 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.
This is the first novel in the Hannibal Lecter series by Thomas Harris. The story brings Special Agent Jack Crawford, trying to rope in his protégé and the man who caught Hannibal Lecter, Will Graham to catch a serial killer called the Tooth Fairy.
The Tooth Fairy seems to be randomly stalking and murdering families and Crawford hopes Will would be able to catch the killer before the next crime. The Tooth Fairy is actually a disturbed man named Francis Dolarhyde who worships Lecter, a brilliant psychiatrist and a cannibalistic serial killer. 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“), the killer is unable to control his violent, sexual urges.
The Tooth Fairy begins correspondence with Dr. Hannibal Lecter and following their secret communication, Will Graham fears that Lecter might divulge his whereabouts and has to uproot his family and place them in security.
Graham already bears scars from his struggles in apprehending Hannibal. What will he take this time in dealing with Hannibal’s protégé? Will he be able to keep his family and himself safe from the killer who has sworn revenge from Graham?
Harris weaves a tightly spun web of deceit and evil, a constant chase between the killer and its nemesis. His portrayal is spine chillingly too close to reality, and his characters enduring on pages of crime and mystery fiction. The greatest achievement probably is the creation of Dr. Hannibal Lecter, appearing in sequels The Silence of the Lambs, Hannibal and Hannibal Rising and who has been immortalized on the silver screen by Anthony Hopkins. It would be hard for anyone who has seen ( or read of ) the image of Dr. Hannibal Lecter with his face covered in an iron mask to keep him from biting his visitors and his maroon eyes, will always get the creeps while reading the Hannibal novels.
Pick this one up to be thrilled and get some well directed heebie-jeebies.