Finished on: June 22nd 2013
Rating: 4 stars
Reading Challenge Book: 38
It’s so hard to believe that I’m getting so close to finishing my reading challenge for this year so soon, maybe I will get to 100 again like I did last year.
I moved on from Hannibal Rising to the next book chronologically in Harris’ Hannibal Lecter series, the first book to be published, Red Dragon. This story deals with the hunt for the ‘Tooth Fairy’ serial killer by the FBI, led by Jack Crawford. Hannibal Lecter is at this point incarcerated after being caught some years before by investigator Will Graham, who paid a heavy price for catching him both before the story begins and as it ends.
I have to admit, I’ve seen all of the movies of this and Red Dragon didn’t impress me storyline wise as much as the others. However, the new TV series Hannibal tells the pre Red Dragon story in a very intriguing way which I think provides extra layers into how I interpret the book.
Overall, I still view Harris as a master of this type of genre, the characters are subtle and believable with many complex layers which make them really interesting. I would credit Will Graham as the most intriguing character of this book outside of Lecter himself for being a man so alike to serial killers in terms of psychology and particularly empathy, but so desperate to escape his FBI past in favour of a normal life.
Death Sentence follows Danish crime writer Frank Fons, who has a reputation for gritty, gory murder scenes in his books. When murders are committed exactly how he has written them, rather than sharing what he knows with the Police, he decides to track the killer down himself. As this story unfolds, you are presented with several flashbacks of Frank’s career, from losing his family, using writing as therapy and turning to alcohol.
This book wasn’t actually as bad as I was expecting it to be if I’m honest. The writing style leaves something to be desired but the storyline developed well, culminating in an explosive ending that you can’t help but question. It’s one of those moments where you half expected it to happen but half can’t understand how it ended up at this point. The way Frank was portrayed to me showed a certain darkness to his character with the twistedness of his writing and his state of mind in parts of the book. These character traits of his almost make the ending make sense as Frank is so irrational in places, a bizarre ending is the only way to finish up his story.
It bugs me that the killer is actually never revealed and you don’t find out their story, as for me that makes a crime novel slot together, where you understand their motives and piece together these motivations with events and subtle details within the book.
Overall, this book is probably not for everyone, but if you’re into crime fiction it’s worth a try.