My Review of Hannibal by Thomas Harris

My Review of Hannibal by Thomas Harris

Finished on: June 26th 2013
Rating: 5 stars
Reading Challenge Book: 40
 
I’m sorry for not posting this sooner, I had it written and saved on my computer but I seem to have had a one tracked mind and forgotten to post it. 
 
Hannibal is the final book chronologically in Harris’ Hannibal Lecter series, following on several years later from Silence of the Lambs. Dr Lecter has escaped police custody and is living in Florence, whereas Agent Clarice Starling of the FBI is seeing her career crumble around her, fuelled by Paul Krendler. Wealthy businessmen, ex-patient and victim of Dr Lecter Mason Verger is desperately seeking revenge on the man who made him mutilate himself through drugs and hypnotic suggestion, offering a hefty reward for those who deliver Dr Lecter to him alive. 
 
This book for me was the most twisted of them all I think, particularly the ending, which if you’ve read the book and seen the film you will know that they are quite different. I thought the focus on Hannibal’s dead cannibalised sister Mischa was sometimes not that relevant, especially now with hindsight we know there’s an entire book dedicated to what drives Hannibal as a serial killer and his early years of living and killing. 
 
But, as always, I find it very hard to fault such complex and intriguing work on one of the most notorious characters in the horror/crime genre.
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My Review of The Silence of the Lambs by Thomas Harris

My Review of The Silence of the Lambs by Thomas Harris

 
Finished on: June 24th 2013
Rating: 5 stars
Reading Challenge Book: 39
 
I am really getting into Harris’ work and the Hannibal series of books. Today I’ve started the last in that series ‘Hannibal’ and am whizzing through it whilst enjoying every second. 
 
The Silence of the Lambs follows FBI academy student/trainee Clarice Starling, asked by Agent Jack Crawford to visit Dr Hannibal Lecter in the asylum and ask for his advice on a psychological profile/survey of people like him. The hidden motive is for Starling to extract information from Lecter that may be potentially useful for catching the killer known as ‘Buffalo Bill’ who has been killing and skinning women.
 
Lecter is as manipulative as ever, using ‘quid pro quo’ to extract information from Clarice about herself and her childhood. This book particularly opens up how Lecter is seen by those around him, with Chilton wanting to study him as a ‘pure sociopath’ and the orderly at the asylum Barney who he appears to respect, telling him that he finds rudeness so irritating that he likes eating ‘free range rude’. The way Clarice sees him I find particularly interesting though, she appears to respect him as an academic personality, although she is nevertheless horrified at his crimes and motivations. The way she refers to him as ‘Dr Lecter’ is interesting, sort of screams to me as a method of deference and shows that he is the dominant personality in this situation. 
 
I just love the intrigue of Harris’ writing and the complex psychological themes that he uses. Can’t wait to finish the last book in the series, where I’ve heard that Starling and Lecter’s relationship really gets twisted.

My Review of Red Dragon by Thomas Harris

My Review of Red Dragon by Thomas Harris

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.

My Review of Hannibal Rising by Thomas Harris

Finished on: 20th June 2013

Rating: 5 stars

Reading Challenge Book: 37

It’s been so nice to work my way back into reading and relax whilst reading with a bit of music on without having to worry about revision, exams or deadlines.

Now for those of you who know me or read a lot of my reviews, you’ll know that I love a bit of gory writing and horror, especially within the realm of crime/criminal psychology. My favourite series ever is McDermid’s ‘Wire in the Blood’, revolving around criminal psychologist Tony Hill. So it would make sense that I would enjoy reading Hannibal Lecter books and watching the many programmes and films based on him. Weirdly, it had never occurred to me to read the books until recently. 

I decided to read Hannibal Rising first, as although it’s the last book published, it acts as a prequel to the others in terms of chronology. You begin to understand what has driven him to become this psychopathic killer who kills without remorse or regret, and it does almost give you a sense of sympathy for him. I think that’s important with books and characters such as these as ‘monsters’ are simply not born that way, they have to be created through trauma, and although this does not excuse the crimes they go on to commit, it helps your understanding. 

I was blown away by how true the movie actually was to the book, as in I could recall individual lines from the book that were used pretty much as is in the film. Only a few minor details are skipped over, but this does not detract from the story that Harris has created! Brilliant!

Overall, I found this quite an enjoyable read, and a lot less gruesome I would imagine than the ones to come as it shows how he becomes this notorious killer on a learning curve rather than showing him at his murderous peaks.