‘Hannibal’ by Thomas Harris

My Review (5 stars out of 5)

FBI Special Agent Clarice Starling finds her career hitting the skids after a drug bust goes badly wrong. While arch enemy Hannibal Lecter takes up a new post in Florence, Italy, former Lecter patient Mason Verger and Italian detective Rinaldo Pazzi are hot on his trail. But it’s Starling who Lecter contacts, sending her perfumed letters and reminders of their previous relationship when they communicated through the prison bars of Baltimore State Hospital. As Justice agent Paul Krendler puts pressure on Starling in the hope of ousting her forever, the race is on to see who will find Hannibal first.

I first read ‘Hannibal’ five years ago but didn’t review it at the time. On re-reading it, I was surprised at how much of the plot I’d forgotten. Unlike the movie version, the ending makes more sense in terms of Starling’s history, though it clearly scared Hollywood with its view of Lecter as a sympathetic character. The storyline with Mason’s sister, Margo, (who doesn’t feature in the movie) is interesting and adds much to her creepy sibling’s background. While Harris, for the most part, writes beautifully, he occasionally lapses into clunkiness with badly structured sentences. However, as these are in the minority, I’d say the book overall is a masterpiece.

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