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Hannibal by Thomas Harris - Book Review


Thomas Harris

Fiction-Net Rating 4 Star Rated Book

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Cover Story

Seven years have passed since Dr Hannibal Lecter escaped from custody, seven years since FBI Special Agent Clarice Starling interviewed him in a maximum-security hospital for the criminally insane. The doctor is still at large, but Starling has never forgotten her encounters with Dr Lecter and the metallic rasp of his seldom-used voice still sounds in her dreams.

We Say

Hannibal is a big book. Big in every sense - we have waited over ten years for it and consequently it is big news. The film of Hannibal's predecessor was a massive success and therefore it is big bucks and its also pretty long and so it's a big read. I approached it with relish, the thought of being reunited with the enigmatic FBI Agent Clarice Starling and the most frighteningly intellectual monster ever created was an intriguing prospect.

The success of these two characters lies in the fact that Thomas Harris explores their psyches and motivations so well. In the case of Clarice, who was the main focus in The Silence Of The Lambs, this is an interesting case study of her orphaned childhood and resulting resilience in adulthood. However, in the case of Hannibal Lecter, who is the more fully explored character in this book, it is a terrifying journey into the mind of a complicated and cold lunatic.

The imagery is dark and sinister and this book is not a thriller based on violence and dramatic plot development alone. The fact that Thomas Harris does not use gratuitous gory language but a quiet conviction when voicing the thoughts and deeds of Lecter, however grim, results in a very scary character indeed. As we know from previous form, Lecter seems to have total invincibility and as a reader, you are just waiting for the inevitable fate of those who stand in his way. The consequence of this is that the pace of the book is fast and makes for an entirely compelling read.

As ever, there is a strong cast of characters, from the corrupt and vengeful to the good but misguided. Overall, Hannibal is a completely satisfying thriller not to be read late at night unless you have a particularly strong disposition.

Review by: Rachel Taylor

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