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The Silence of the Lambs – Thomas Harris

Innocent young females are being butchered by a suspected serial killer who threatens to compromise the societal harmony with his ghastly deeds. Clarice Starling, a student at the FBI is handed the task of prying information out of Dr. Hannibal Lecter, a renowned psychiatrist and a gory murderer himself to get an insight into the killings. With time running out, will Starling be successful in nabbing the culprit while confronting her own demons unleashed by the sly Dr. Lecter?

I know I’m terribly late in writing this review considering that the movie has been released years ago and was critically acclaimed. What prompted me to write this review was the fact that many people are still unaware that the famous movie was in fact, adapted from a novel. Sounds a bit unfair if you ask me!

Insights on the Plot

This is the second book in the Hannibal Lecter series written by Thomas Harris. The book begins on the point with the introduction of Clarice Starling and her mission. What follows is her attempt to help the FBI catch the culprit on time while being on the line herself.

She confronts Dr. Hannibal Lecter in his cell at the Baltimore State Hospital for the Criminally Insane supervised by Dr. Frederick Chilton – an attention seeking administrator. Though well-informed on Dr. Lecter, Starling is surprised at his razor-sharp observation and inference that is fast directed at her past.

Starling is forced to let her demons in as she helps Jack Crawford and his team collect evidence to find the serial killer. Things start going awry when the senator’s daughter is kidnapped and Dr. Lecter is transferred from the Baltimore State Prison. What follows is Starling’s grit and gumption to nab the murderer.

The best part about this book is the fact that it is not created in fairyland. It encompasses a lot of factors that work in tandem rather than a simple police-catches-thief story. Thomas Harris has added a realistic touch to his novels by depicting raw human traits like greed, lust for power and continuous political play at institutions.

Understanding the Characters

Clarice Starling is the heroine who dares to achieve the impossible despite being apprehensive and pulled down by superiors. She is as real as us with occasional bouts of anger and dilemma. She is also a subject to the unfair treatment dished out to females who supposedly take on a man’s job.

The real star of a character however, is Dr. Hannibal Lecter. Who would have thought that a serial killer could induce curiosity in readers about his actions? We have all grown up to adulate heroes and hate the villains but Dr. Lecter demands a pardon. He is an expert psychiatrist to the core who is extremely gifted in understanding the mental faculties of people with acute observation skills. You will relish his character if you are one of those who prefers reading about atypical characters and their stories.

A Reader’s Take

The book is set realistically with important technical information being used at places. It also helps us understand human emotions in a better way – people are what they do.  Silence of the Lambs is a delight to read if you have the stomach for gore which is another distinguishing factor of Harris’s writing! Crime readers enjoy reading books that come with suspense, intrigue and cleverly crafted plots and this book promises much more than the bargain!

Death to stock / Angelica

Death to stock / Angelica

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