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.