Last year I decided to read the Hannibal novels after I watched the first season of NBC’s Hannibal. For those of you who have not seen Hannibal, please watch it. Don’t let them cancel it on me! Claire Danes’s husband plays Will Graham, and his crazy face rivals her cry face!
And man, these Hannibal Lecter books are FUN. I highly doubt I need to summarize the plot, but in case you have not been alive for the past twenty-five years, Hannibal Lecter is a convicted serial killer and a former psychiatrist. He is a sociopath, and adores tormenting his jailers and anyone who interacts with him. Clarice Starling, an FBI cadet, is sent to interview Hannibal as part of a routine survey, but it turns into a murder investigation of serial killer named Buffalo Bill.
Hannibal Lecter is one of the scariest characters I have ever come across, but I like him. The Silence of the Lambs is much more Hannibal-centric than the first novel (Red Dragon) featuring our friendly sociopath. The interactions between Hannibal and Clarice Starling are perfect, and the dialogue is chilling at times. I rewatched the movie immediately after I finished the book, just because I could. It was an almost perfect adaptation from book to movie, and it holds up incredibly well almost twenty-five years later.
Even though I remember the basic plot from the movie, I found the novel difficult to follow at times. Sometimes I lost track of who was speaking, or what characters were doing at the moment. I remember this happening during my reading of Red Dragon, so maybe Thomas Harris’s prose just doesn’t agree with me. Or it could be that I was reading too quickly because I was terrified about what was going to happen next!
A fun part of the book was remembering what crime solving was like during the early days of the internet. Sending a facsimile of a suspect’s fingerprint over the phone??? Amazing. I was alive and aware during this period, so it was a fun flashback. I had to look up some of the more timely references (like Add-a-Bead necklaces), but it was more of a blast from the past than distracting.
For anyone looking for a quick read and a fun romp with a serial killer, pick up The Silence of the Lambs! I’m sure I will get to Hannibal soon, but I need a few months to decompress…