Review: Hannibal – Thomas Harris

thomas harris hannibal cover

Hannibal Lecter #3

SYNOPSIS: Years after his escape, posing as scholarly Dr. Fell, curator of a grand family’s palazzo, Hannibal lives the good life in Florence, playing lovely tunes by serial killer/composer Henry VIII and killing hardly anyone himself. Clarice is unluckier: in the novel’s action-film-like opening scene, she survives an FBI shootout gone wrong, and her nemesis, Paul Krendler, makes her the fall guy. Clarice is suspended, so, unfortunately, the first cop who stumbles on Hannibal is an Italian named Pazzi, who takes after his ancestors, greedy betrayers depicted in Dante’s Inferno. Pazzi is on the take from a character as scary as Hannibal: Mason Verger. When Verger was a young man busted for raping children, his vast wealth saved him from jail. All he needed was psychotherapy–with Dr. Lecter. Thanks to the treatment, Verger is now on a respirator, paralyzed except for one crablike hand, watching his enormous, brutal moray eel swim figure eights and devour fish. His obsession is to feed Lecter to some other brutal pets. – via Goodreads

GRADE 6You all know I absolutely loved the first two Hannibal novels. The Silence of the Lambs and Red Dragon were both absolutely brilliant, beautiful, well-structured and very well written. Hannibal Lecter was creepy, freaky, the stories were intense, Will Graham and Clarice Starling were in fine form, the books were, simply, smart and chilling. I have been waiting years to get to this novel (I know, I really need to work on how I prioritise what I read) and I finally got to it. I have praised how loyal the previous movies were to their books, which is amazing. I know that Scott’s Hannibal does not get so much love, and I wondered if that was due to a bad book adaptation or what. Harris is a great writer, and I honestly thought this book would be so much more than it was, but let me tell you, it’s quite the disappointment. It starts strongly, it really does. I thoroughly enjoyed the story and the initial setup, there was so much potential. But then the story took on this weird, not-suited life of its own and it went downhill from there. Steeply. It was unbelievable, and not in the grand, oh wow kind of way, either. The writing that had started so crisp and rich dwindled, the story setup and the characters that were so fascinating were quickly thrown aside, Hannibal was brought front and centre and then there was this horrible sense of disappointment because the Hannibal of this novel is so intensely different from the Hannibal that has been set up before. Lecter and Clarice no longer chill and thrill, and that conclusion? People complain about the movie conclusion and then there is this one… the whole thing simply becomes a caricature of what it was, which is a real pity. I feel bad about scoring it what I did, but I cannot possibly score it any higher. It starts with a bang and just loses steam and becomes jilted and silly. I mean Hannibal takes on this whole supernatural power, and then there is the drugging and hypnosis and he cannot be caught (I could deal with it – but it got messy). A large chunk of this novel was simply not credible. I couldn’t buy into it like I could the other two, not to mention that the book itself just wasn’t as engrossing or thrilling as it could have been. What a waste.

Completed Book Challenge 2014

completed book challenge

Another year, done and dusted! Here are the new books that I have made it through this year. I managed some rereads in between, but I cannot count those again. It was most enjoyable. Thanks to all who gave me recommendations that I got to, it was lovely!

1. The Fault In Our Stars – John Green

2. The Perfect Husband (FBI Profiler Series – Quincy #1) – Lisa Gardner

3. Sworn to Silence (Kate Burkholder #1) – Linda Castillo

4. One False Move – Alex Kava

5. Windmills of the Gods – Sidney Sheldon

6. Night Shift – Stephen King

7. The Third Victim (FBI Profiler Series – Quincy #2) – Lisa Gardner

8. The Goldfinch – Donna Tartt

9. Unseen (Georgia #5) – Karin Slaughter

10. Gone Girl – Gillian Flynn

11. Pray for Silence (Kate Burkholder #2) – Linda Castillo

12. The Gunslinger (The Dark Tower #1) – Stephen King

13. Horns – Joe Hill

14. The Perks of Being a Wallflower – Stephen Chbosky

15. An Abundance of Katherines – John Green

16. Mailman: A Novel – J Robert Lennon

17. Whitewash – Alex Kava

18. Shutter Island – Dennis Lehane

19. The Rolling Stones: 50 – Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Charlie Watts, and Ronnie Wood

20. Fight Club – Chuck Palahniuk

21. Will Grayson, Will Grayson – John Green & David Levithan

22. Drive – James Sallis

23. Looking for Alaska – John Green

24. Are You Afraid of the Dark? – Sidney Sheldon

25. The Silence of the Lambs (Hannibal Lecter #2) – Thomas Harris

26. Under the Knife – Tess Gerritsen

27. A Game of Thrones (A Song of Ice and Fire #1) – George R.R. Martin

28. Dracula – Bram Stoker

29. Dead Until Dark (The Southern Vampire Mysteries / Sookie Stackhouse #1) – Charlaine Harris

30. Tell Me Your Dreams – Sidney Sheldon



That was the original challenge. I finished all of those and then decided to up it to fifty.

31. Living Dead in Dallas (The Southern Vampire Mysteries / Sookie Stackhouse #2) – Charlaine Harris

32. Paper Towns – John Green

33. Club Dead (The Southern Vampire Mysteries / Sookie Stackhouse #3) – Charlaine Harris

34. One Scream Away (Sheridan #1) – Kate Brady

35. Dead to the World (The Southern Vampire Mysteries / Sookie Stackhouse #4) – Charlaine Harris

36. Warm Bodies (Warm Bodies #1) – Isaac Marion

37. Dead as a Doornail (The Southern Vampire Mysteries / Sookie Stackhouse #5) – Charlaine Harris

38. Heart-Shaped Box – Joe Hill

39. Definitely Dead (The Southern Vampire Mysteries / Sookie Stackhouse #6) – Charlaine Harris

40. To Kill A Mockingbird – Harper Lee

41. All Together Dead (The Southern Vampire Mysteries / Sookie Stackhouse #7) – Charlaine Harris

42. Cop Town – Karin Slaughter

43. From Dead to Worse (The Southern Vampire Mysteries / Sookie Stackhouse #8) – Charlaine Harris

44. The Bad Place – Dean Koontz

45. Dead and Gone (The Southern Vampire Mysteries / Sookie Stackhouse #9) – Charlaine Harris

46. A Drink Before The War (Kenzie & Gennaro #1) – Dennis Lehane

47. Dead in the Family (The Southern Vampire Mysteries / Sookie Stackhouse #10) – Charlaine Harris

48. The Villa – Nora Roberts

49. Dead Reckoning (The Southern Vampire Mysteries / Sookie Stackhouse #11) – Charlaine Harris

50. Darkness, Take My Hand (Kenzie & Gennaro #1) – Dennis Lehane

Well, there we have it folks. I know I have some recommendations that were given to me, they are on my list, they will most likely make the new year’s challenge 🙂 Thanks so much to everyone who read, commented and recommended, it is much appreciated!

Review: The Silence of the Lambs – Thomas Harris

the silence of the lambs book cover

Hannibal Lecter #2

FBI trainee Clarice Starling is working hard to prove herself and make something of herself at the Bureau. Head of the Behavioural Unit is Jack Crawford, who calls Clarice in to set her on an assignment. The assignment? To talk to convicted serial killer, psychiatrist and cannibal, Dr Hannibal Lecter. Just a routine interview for their databases, nothing more. Clarice is unsure as to why she would be requested to do this considering that Lecter has not spoken to anyone in years. Regardless, she goes to meet Lecter, who surprisingly meets with her and talks to her. He sends her on a mission which ultimately culminates in her discovering a severed head and a whole lot of new questions.

Crawford, meanwhile, is hunting Buffalo Bill, a serial killer that is skinning women and dumping their bodies in rivers. He needs to find him. Lecter wishes to help with the Buffalo Bill case, but Clarice knows nothing of it and is not there for that. After her meeting with Lecter, Crawford takes her with to a crime scene of a victim of Buffalo Bill, a young girl, and Clarice is asked to fingerprint the deceased and inspect the body. Lodged in the girl’s throat she finds a moth, which opens up a new avenue for them to explore. Crawford, meanwhile, dismisses anything and everything that Clarice tells him Lecter told her in connection with the Buffalo Bill case, not wanting any help from the madman he despises.

Catherine Baker Martin, the daughter of a powerful senator, goes missing, and it is soon established that Buffalo Bill is the man who took her. Crawford relents and decides that they are going to have to work the angle of using Hannibal Lecter, as he may provide answers or leads for them, but they keep Senator Ruth Martin out of it, knowing that playing with her will thrill Lecter more than helping them find her daughter. Frederick Chilton, head of the Baltimore State Hospital for the Criminally Insane, gets a little too involved with trying to get back at Starling for rejecting him and Hannibal embarrassing him all those years ago, and instead tells the senator that Lecter could possibly help and that Crawford is keeping her out of the loop. It is arranged that Lecter will be taken to speak directly with Senator Martin and discuss who has her daughter.

Does Hannibal Lecter really know who has Catherine Baker Martin? Will Buffalo Bill kill Catherine just to get rid of her because the police are taking this one that much more seriously? Will Clarice finish up her training at the FBI and go on to become an agent? What will happen now that Lecter is being moved away from Chilton and into a place he would prefer more?

GRADE 8This book was very entertaining. I was hooked and I enjoyed the writing style and characters, although not many of them advance. I know that Clarice Starling may have the more popular movies, and that she is the one that Harris eventually fixated on, and she is a very compelling character and all that, I am just that much more taken with Will Graham. But let’s move away from that. Harris is a talented writer with a knack for bringing the disturbing to the page. I found it enjoyable how he brought in some of the technology and techniques of the day it was written in, as well as the procedures, making it feel a lot more authentic. As for Dr Hannibal Lecter? He thrilled me, again. Not that I expected anything else, but wow. I have to give the movie credit for remaining pretty damn loyal to the book, and being one of the best page to screen adaptions I have ever seen. Naturally I am recommending this. The plot was solid, the dialogue entertaining and interesting, keeping you at the edge of your seat, Starling’s history was laid out and had quite a bit going for it, and her relationship with Hannibal was an odd one, though interesting.