‘The Silence of the Lambs’ by Thomas Harris

The Silence of the Lambs

FBI rookie Clarice Starling finds herself in the middle of a murder hunt when an interesting errand (interviewing serial killer Hannibal Lecter), turns into a race against time. As Lecter probes Starling’s mind for juicy personal facts, he forces her to face up to the traumas of her own childhood. Meanwhile, Buffalo Bill is on the hunt again…

I read this book many years ago after seeing the movie (starring Anthony Hopkins and Jodie Foster). Trouble is, the movie is such a classic of the genre, it tends to linger into the memory more than the book does. Over the years, I’d forgotten what I thought of that first read, so wanted to re-visit the original to see how it stands the test of time.

Sometimes movies based on bestsellers create memorable lines that were never in the original book, but I’m happy to say that lots of the best lines uttered by Lecter and Starling in the film version, are right there in the text. And even though the build-up of tension works marginally better on the big screen, this is still a fantastic read. Thomas Harris has a gift for gory storytelling, and his characters, even when they’re being very, very bad, have a knack of grabbing you where it hurts.

“As delicious a thriller as you’ll find anywhere,” said Hannibal, savouring a nice chianti.

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‘Girl Ghosted: A Penny Wade Mystery’ by Lucy English

Girl Ghosted: A Penny Wade Mystery

Social worker Penny Wade throws herself into the world of online dating in a bid to forget the past. But a killer is on the hunt, scanning dating profiles to choose his targets. Can Penny identify the bad guy before she becomes ‘ghosted’ for good?

This is an easy and enjoyable read with well-drawn and likeable characters, whose day-to-day lives have a comfortable familiarity about them. Heroine Penny Wade’s up-and-down love life is entertaining and will no doubt be familiar to readers who aren’t quite as ancient as this reviewer. My only criticism (and it’s a small one), is that the ‘mystery’ part of the tale does take a while to get going and though it’s nicely done with a satisfying conclusion, I think it might have worked better if the ‘hook’ had come a little sooner in the story.

Lucy English has created an interesting character who will no doubt get herself into more trouble in the next episode of this mystery series.

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