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The Silence of the Lambs - Thomas Harris

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Author: Thomas Harris / Genre: Crime / Thriller

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      29.12.2013 15:12
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      A complete classic of the crime thriller genre, featuring one of the iconic characters of fiction

      Having finished my first Shardlake novel and, having seen Mum enjoy reading it after me, I couldn't start the second one as I had ordered it as a Christmas present for her. But I was short of a new book to read - the shelves had to be consulted. It would need to be something that I hadn't picked up for a look in some years, as I was determined that I would not sit and invest valuable time during the festive period on something that I could already recall virtually scene for scene.

      Mum and I had been sorting through some things recently and amongst them were quite a few of my monumental book collection; I've started to admit defeat and that some must make their way to a local charity. Amongst those that survived the most recent cull were Red Dragon and Silence Of The Lambs, both by Thomas Harris, and I realised it had probably been about ten years since I had last read either. So I decided to revisit Silence Of The Lambs.

      Now, the usual warning about spoilers obviously goes - there will probably be some in this review - but the very title and its plot are now so culturally iconic that there will be few among you who don't know the story or the lead character, Hannibal Lecter - nor his leanings towards scoffing bits of human, often with a certain type of bean and a fine Chianti. But this is the book that inspired the film and I have always considered both to be brilliant - if also both now starting to look a little dated.

      But if you either want to read the original book, or have been living under a rock since the 1980s and want to catch up, this is Silence Of The Lambs - the book.

      As above please note there are spoilers in the below and, also, the review deals with the graphically violent and unpleasant aspects of the characters, which of course made the book such a compelling film basis back in the 80s. Violence is something very commonplace now, of course, but this is still fairly heavy stuff, so if this isn't your bag then I won't mind if you wait until I review some fluffy socks or something a bit more pleasant.

      ***THE PLOT***

      Clarice Starling is going through the FBI academy process when the legendary Jack Crawford contacts her with the intention of sending her on an 'errand'. Known for being a brilliant man with particular skill at utilising agents around him to their best ability.

      Some errand. Crawford's mind is mostly on the notorious serial killer at loose, nicknamed Buffalo Bill because of what he does to his female victims - removes their skins. The victims are found with no correlation geographically, all after going missing and being held before being murdered in different ways and dumped in rivers - after significant areas of the skin had been removed.

      What Crawford wants is to send Starling to interview the now-incarcerated Dr Hannibal Lecter - whose own murdering tendencies lent themselves further to cannibalism, and whose level of security in his mental institution is phenomenal...not least because since his capture he had also savaged a nurse.

      But not only was Lecter a man capable of massive violence, he was also an incredible psychologist - still one of the best from the inside of a cell in an institution. Crawford's hope was that Starling would be able to extract some sort of assistance from Lecter on the Buffalo Bill case. And she does indeed come away with something that puts her at the heart of the case; a situation which puts her fledgling career's progression on the line as well as in the midst of a massive case at a time when the sexist attitudes of those around her often still made her gender an issue. And the case can only get bigger when Bill's requirements in his choice of victim inadvertently leads him to kidnap the daughter of a Senator. Starling and Crawford know the pattern of the murders is escalating and that they are running out of time to save the girl and must do so at any cost - which Lecter knows is the only time they will ever bargain with him. But he doesn't just want to bargain with the authorities for a better standard of life - he also wants to trade information with Starling, information about herself and her past and her motivations, as they form a strange relationship of sorts from opposing sides of the walls of a cell.

      ***MY THOUGHTS***

      Okay. You probably have to have a bit of a weakness for crime novels - and fairly bold ones at that - to have even picked this up. If you don't go in for such stories then don't bother with this. There's violence and psychologically disturbing content and plenty of it.

      And reading it from a present-day perspective obviously the era of the book's publication (1980s) makes it feel a bit dated but, having said that, there is no reason for me to doubt the style of writing regarding the processes behind the FBI - not that I'd know of course, but this has a genuine feel and a good pace and is very well executed.

      However old it is, it is not your simple, flat crime thriller. Not only is there a brutal murderer to solve, and his psychological reasons to uncover, but there is the fantastic battle of wills between Lecter and those who keep him incarcerated, as well as the strange relationship he starts to build with Starling, seeking the one thing that he has left in the world from her - knowledge, understanding of what drives a person. There is Crawford's own personal story, Starling's ambition and how the case puts what she has worked so hard for in jeopardy, and the continual danger that Lecter's relishing of the torment of the situation could lead to failure for the FBI.

      And there is that Harris has crafted something very clever - a criminal capable of such violence and depravity who is also someone that you can't help but root for in the face of thoroughly vile characters that surround him. Whilst Starling is a well-crafted character and Crawford believable if slightly flat, Lecter is a character that pushes a lot of buttons in the reader's mind - many of them at odds with each other. Why this became such a popular film, and that the character carries on both in further books and adaptations, is evident on reading.

      If I were to have one criticism it would be that the character of Buffalo Bill could have been fleshed out even more but in some way the fact that he isn't is explained within the text. And equally, were he to have been built on as a character then the pace and balance of the book might not have been what it is. Whilst he is not by any means a side story, what is really fascinating here is the fact that this naïve young FBI would-be agent captures some sort of intrigue in the mind of the most terrifyingly intellectual serial killer alive, and that their respective aims cannot be met without gaining something from the other.

      So in short I completely recommend this. If you have seen and liked the film then I think that the book is on a par - for me the casting in the film is superb, spot on, and the visual aid that gives you if you read the book afterwards is bang on the money. Dark, creepy, full of foreboding and danger, populated with the full range of human emotion. This is a fantastic book and it probably reads as well now as it did when it must have engrossed the generation who read it when it first arrived.

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        06.09.2012 17:17
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        One of the best books I have ever read!

        Today I am going to review the novel "The Silence of the Lambs" by Thomas Harris.

        Reader's appeal
        It's not been so long since I first saw the film adaption of "The Silence of the Lambs". For some reason I just never had any reason to watch it as I didn't really know what it was about. I only knew that it was supposed to be scary and interesting. When I finally watched it, I was amazed and couldn't get it out of my head, so the natural solution to that was: get deeper into my mania and read the book!
        Since it wasn't expensive at all, I ordered it immediately.


        The plot
        Agent Starling, a young ambitious woman, wants to get into the unit of behavioural science. She's only a trainee so far but she has already made a good impression, which is why she is asked to interview the famous prisoner, cannibal and murderer Dr. Hannibal Lecter.
        The FBi and police are troubled by a horrible serial killer whom they have nicknamed Buffalo Bill. Bill skins his young female victims for yet unknown reasons and then dumps them in rivers. The FBI believes that Dr. Lecter can give them a clue on how to catch Bill, but Lecter, having been a psychologist himself, knows all about manipulating his visitors and smartly dodging their questions. He is intrigued by Agent Starling and gives her clues, but he is not making it easier for her. He is very interested in her personal life and agrees to trade information about herself against clues to Buffalo Bill's whereabouts. Through Hannibal Lecter's inquisitive questions the reader gets to know about Clarice Starling's complicated childhood and a traumatising story.
        The reader also gets some inside knowledge on the killer himself. Buffalo Bill has a horrible reason for skinning his young victims and he also has his own background story.
        Time ticks on fast when a senator's daughter is kidnapped. Agent Starling wants to desperately save her, but they have no clues on Bill's whereabouts and dealing with Hannibal Lecter is not easy and indeed, very very risky and dangerous.


        My opinion
        I loved this book! It was so exciting and rich in detail. I couldn't put it out of my hands and finished it in less than a week. I am usually not a reader of crime fiction or thrillers, but "The Silence of the Lambs" gripped me and didn't let me go.
        The steps on investigating the crimes are really interesting and I learned a lot about such procedures which I didn't know before. Eventhough I saw the film before I read the book I was very excited and trying to puzzle things together while reading.
        The narrative form is very calm and straight-forward, but without lack of emotion. How straight on and graphic it is can shock when Starling makes horrible discoveries.
        I found myself most sympathising with Buffalo Bill. His sections of the book are scary, but also touching.
        It is so exciting and scary to find out about the characters motives. As I said - I couldn't put the book away. I always wanted to get to know more and more!
        This book is amazing and inspired me to get all the other Hannibal books. Thomas Harris has created an amazing setting with his novels!


        The price
        The novel is available as a paperback edition for £5.59 on Amazon.co.uk.


        Conclusion
        If you love an exciting, fast-paced story that will follow you forever, "The Silence of the Lambs" is the one for you! I recommend to anyone above the age of 16. The fact that the investigator is female, but not girly, makes it a nice read for both men and women. So get it and discover the scary genius that is Hannibal Lecter!

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          04.06.2010 13:46
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          A great read, you wont put the book down

          Story

          The book focuses on a young FBI agent Clarice Starling who has been put on the case to find a serial killer nicknamed 'Buffalo Bill'. He kidnaps young women, skins them and then dumps the bodies, With not enough leads Clarice must enlist the help of the most psychotic, criminally insane former psychiatrist Dr. Hannibal Lecter.
          Jack Crawford, lead detective on the case, believes that Dr. Lecter can answer the questions that they can't. However, it is easier said than done as Clarice must first gain Dr. Lecter's confidence and make sure that he doesn't outsmart her.
          When Lecter begins giving demands, and asking about her past, Clarice must face up to her own demons before dealing with the real life one in front of her. She has to be strong and courageous before the next girl dies...
          How do you outsmart a man who's job it was to get inside people's heads? Do you trust a man who has nothing to lose but a lot to gain?

          What to expect

          This was the first horror/thriller book that i read and to be honest i haven't found a better one since. It is a real page turner that will keep you gripped from start to finish. Though Dr. Hannibal Lecter is a very bad man (understatement of the century) you cannot help but be fascinated with him and an occasion you do find yourself taking sides with him. This is a sign of a great writer, to make you empathize with a mass murdering cannibal...
          Expect some gruesome descriptions and rather violent language. The description in the book is amazing and is good enough for you to envision actually being there. It is by far the best Thomas Harris (Hannibal Lecter) books in my opinion and i don't think he will ever top this!

          Is it for you?

          To be honest i am going to some it up in one word: Yes!
          Though there are some disturbing language and descriptions everyone will be able to appreciate the well written story and no matter how grossed out you get won't want to put the book down!

          Also on ciao

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            24.03.2010 14:45
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            a book that is now a well-known film!

            I got this book, because I was really struggling to get into the film and I thought that the book may help me get into the film better. Was I right in thinking that? I really don't know as I haven't watched the film as of yet and so therefore I cannot judge.

            Thomas Harris is a new author to me, which always gives me a joy of excitement, as I get to experience a different author's writing skills. The reason why I enjoy starting new authors is that it's like going into a tunnel, when you enter the darkness, you have no idea on where you are going, Depending on the tunnel, and it will help you to the end. If the person who made the tunnel put lights inside then it will help you towards the end, however some people hates it when people guide you and like to go into pitch darkness. I have decided to compare new authors with tunnels as they both can be considered exciting one way or another.

            I have recently realised that I have jumped ahead in this series and that this book is in fact the second book in the "Hannibal Lecter" series, which I didn't know and I bet many other people do not know either. I have to admit there were unknown bits of story-line in this book that I failed to understand such as Hannibal Lecter's past, but I thought that it would make it clearer the more you read or in the books following after this one. Obviously I was wrong, and I shall be adding the book called "Red Dragon", which is the 1st book in the series, to my wish list to attempt to resolve some of the questions that were swirling in my head after this book.

            The plot is about this person called Clarice Sterling, she wants to become an FBI agent and so she is enrolling in a training course to do so. Soon enough is hired to help out on a case, her role is to get some information from a person called "Hannibal Lecter" who knows a lot of stuff, and who is currently locked up in some sort of prison.

            Clarice is good and that is shown as she manages to get a bit of information, and in doing so she is hired to help crack the case, the problem for her is that she has to juggle the case with the training course she is on, and so therefore things get complicated, can she really juggle both of them?

            The writing style is very different from what I have previously read by other author's works and some authors I cannot get into at all. In the case of Thomas Harris, it is quite easy to read and read and read, and it is pretty hard to even put the book down as it captures you from the start. This is obvious because I didn't realise that I was reading the 2nd book in the series, and I seriously hate reading a book that is not the 1st book in the series.

            I really do think that anyone who reads this book will fall for the writer's techniques in captivating the audience. But I have to really suggest to you that you do not make the same mistake as I have done by reading this book before "Red Dragon", otherwise the questions that are still swirling in my head will also be in your head and I'm sure you do not want that to happen!

            Thank you for reading and I sure hope I have helped a few people!

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              05.07.2009 18:06
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              A book that makes you want to turn the next page.

              Clarice Starling is a trainee FBI agent who is sent by her boss to interview Dr Hannibal Lecter in the hope that he may help the FBI to track down a serial killer. Lecter is not only a convicted serial killer, but also a killer who liked to indulge himself by eating certain body parts of his victims.
              Thomas Harris has set the character of Lecter to be a very intelligent and well read individual. Harris conveys this intelligence very well in the pages of the book and i must admit, that at times i was reading the book to get to the parts where lecter is involved.
              Lecters high levels of intelligence and cunning, for me, came out much stronger in the book, than what is shown in the preceding movie. Thomas Harris has a great ability to make the two central characters come alive in your imagination.
              I found the book both absorbing and somewhat foreboding at times which added to its readability.
              Although it will never be a classic, if you have seen the film and not read the book, then you are in for a real treat. Even with the big name stars in the movie the book is far better.

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                30.07.2008 19:04

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                A worthy successor to Red Dragon

                The Silence of the Lambs is probably the most famous of Thomas Harris's books... and more than likely the best. It marks the return of Hannibal Lecter and the introduction of one of his best characters, FBI Agent Clarice Starling. It's hard to imagine Clarice Starling as anyone else but Jodie Foster now but try to cast that out of your mind as you read the book - thoughts like that will drive you mad. And the same goes for Sir Anthony Hopkins. Dissassociate. A serial killer is on the use, kidnapping girls and, after a while, killing them. He goes by the name Buffallo Bill and Clarice Starling thinks Hannibal Lecter can help solve the case. She goes to him and finds herself in the unenviable position of having to open up to the sociopath. Lecter starts to manipulate her from behind the bars of his cage and begins formulating a potential plan of his own... meanwhile the killings continue. Wonderfully told and a must read for fans of the film and newcomers alike. A lot more satisfying than its sequel, Hannibal.

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                08.01.2008 14:58
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                A great introduction to the world of dark crime thrillers

                When adapting a book to film the quality of the source material is not always essential and neither is closeness. The recent 'I am Legend' is the third film adaptation of the book, not including unofficial adaptations such as '28 Days Later', and each has differed from the other. Many times the film only pays minimal notice of the book using the central premise and little else. However, there are a couple of reasons why filmmakers may seek to stay close to the source. Firstly, the book may be a popular 'classic' and cinema goers just want to see a direct copy of the book in picture form e.g. 'The Da Vinci Code', unfortunately these films are often too wordy (Da Vinci) or detract from the film narrative by making continual concessions to readers of the book e.g. 'The Golden Compass'. The more positive reason that a film mimics a book closely is because the source material is of a high quality. It's for this reason that 'The Silence of the Lambs' in both book and film form are so similar - both are great examples of the modern-feel crime thriller genre.

                Clarice Starling is a trainee FBI agent who just happens to be in the right place at the right time. One of her bosses is short of staff and needs someone to try and persuade an evil serial killer to partake in a survey whilst he is in jail. Surprisingly to everyone involved said serial killer, one Hannibal Lector, decides to talk to Starling and in doing do reveals his insights into another killer on the loose. This killer dubbed 'Buffalo Bill' is kidnapping and skinning young women. Now a politician's daughter has been taken and Lector finds himself in a great bargaining position. Starling finds herself caught between wanting to capture a killer and the various political interests in and out of the bureau. Is there more to Lector's giving attitude than meets the eye?

                'Silence of the Lambs' was one of the most talked about and successful films of the early 90s combining tense storylines with top acting. I am glad to say that these are in a large part due to the quality of the book. Thomas Harris has not written many novels, but what he does sell millions. In Starling and Lector he has created two characters that play wonderfully off one another as well as being mysterious and interesting in their own right. The majority of the book follows Starling and making her a Rookie FBI agent open to the whims of her superiors means that Harris forces her to rely on Lector more than if she had been a senior officer. The inexperienced nature of Starling is a highlight of the book as she reacts to situations in a not dissimilar manner as the reader would.

                The book would not be nearly as good if it had just been Starling hunting down 'Buffalo Bill'. Hannibal Lector is a great creation and this book probably represents his best appearance. The way in which Lector manipulates the entire cast of the book is great to read as although we dislike what he does Harris makes the majority of the smaller characters unlikable enough so that Lector becomes somewhat of an antihero. Lector is best used sparingly, with the reader only being given glimpses into his motives. This is what happens in this book and it makes the character and his relationship with Starling that much more tense.

                The book has a fantastic relationship at its centre and Harris also creates a rich world of side characters to play with. However, without the central mystery being intriguing it would all pale into mediocrity. Therefore, the fact that Harris creates a hideous monster in 'Buffalo Bill' means that we have a vested interest in Starling and Lector's relationship. You truly wish for her to uncover who the murderer is before the next victim is dispatched, even if it means being manipulated by the hyper intelligent Lector.

                The one area of concern that I have with 'The Silence of the Lambs' is probably not the original text's fault, but what has gone since. 'Lambs' was written back in 1988 and helped spawn dozens of copycat novels of which I have read many. This meant that although some of the ideas on show may have been original then, they are now cliché. There is also the problem that the book is very similar to the film to the extent where if you have read/seen one the other can be pretty much left alone.

                Despite these misgivings I found the book a pacey and exciting read. Harris does write novels that read like films so the two feel very similar. The quality of writing does stand out and the relationship between Starling and Lector is one of the best in the crime thriller cannon. If you are interested in reading a dark modern crime novel that is not for the squeamish then there are worse ways to introduce yourself by reading one the best and most copied books around.

                Author: Thomas Harris
                Price: amazon uk - £5.49
                play.com - £5.49

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                  17.01.2006 01:10
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                  Excellant Book, well wrtiten

                  This truly is an excellent book and well worth reading. If you have seen the film and think you know it, then think again, the book is much better and in my opinion, grips you much more.

                  THE STORY:

                  The central base of the story is about Hannibal Lector, a serial killer and Clarance Starling a FBI Trainee. The aim of the story is to help a missing women who has been captured by a psychopathic killer with the help of another killer (the above mentioned Hannibal Lector).

                  A female FBI trainee is brought in to talk to Hannibal Lector to gain his knowledge about a phychopathic killer who has kidnapped a young woman.

                  You follow the story with Clarance Starling chasing down the serial killer.


                  The AUTHOR:

                  Thomas Harris has written the book and he has written a sequel as well called Hannibal based on this story as well as other titles. He started his career writing about crime in the US and Mexico and was a reporter and editior in New York. His first Novel was Black Sunday.

                  MY OPINION:

                  I recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a good thriller. It is written excellently and you really get into the characters. It has a great ending and really leaves you wanting more.

                  Clarance Starling really comes across well as the young FBI Agent who has to face a monster, while Hannibal Lector really comes across as a fruit cake. My one regret now with Hannibal Lector is that I always see him as the Actor from the film, reducing my own imagination. But then that is just me, you might be different.

                  The story is good, although not a particularly happy one. Do not read this if you do not like thrillers or major frequent deaths and violence.

                  I would recommend this book to everyone, even if you have seen the film as it is just great.

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                    08.02.2002 00:09
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                    Having watched the film I felt almost compelled to read the book. I was not dissapointed in the slightest. It fulfilled my evert expectation and more. Thomas Harris uses his excellent skill of luring the reader into the book withsuch intensity that you feel almost unable to put it down until you have finished reading it. The book has a number of twists which differ from the film, some which are pleasurably different and some which have been left out of the film. Overall the 'extras' gained through reading the book made me want to read Hannibal as well. This I have recently started and haven't really got into it fully yet. I have yet to read Red Dragon but I don't feel that I have missunderstood anything within Silence of the Lambs through not doing so. The main thing that I feel compliments this book is the amazing depth to which Thomas Harris goes to describe the thoughts and feelings of the charcters which simply cannot be portrayed within the film. Would definately reccomend this book to the nation as a whole because I feel that the depth it goes into should be experienced by every one! The book starts with Clarice Starling in training in the FBI. Running alongside the stroy of Clarice there is also the story of a serial killer who is taking women, keeping them for a few days and then removing their skins. Clarice is asked to go and speak with Hannibal Lector 'Hannibal the Cannibal' whom has been put within the confines of a maximum security prison for having brutally assaulted and killed a number of his patients from when he was a psychiatrist. Through becoming close to Lector Clarice eventually gains some knowledge about the serial killer and then goes about attempting to catch him. The serial killer (Jame Gumb) continues with his 'work', which we have discovered by this time is to try to use the skins to adorn himself with the figure of a woman. Lector uses a series of criptic clues and suggestiv
                    e questions to lead Clarice towards the killer, whom Lector knows personally through previous psychiatric work. This information is traded by Starling for some of her own personal facts about her life.

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                      01.09.2001 21:36
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                      A madman is stalking the suburbs of America. He is a confused loner. Unable to get the sex change operation he so desired, he decides to take drastic action. He is making himself a girl suit...out of real girls! Thomas Harris has proved himself to be no one hit wonder, with this superb follow up to Red Dragon. A master of terror, his pen unleashes genious with each stroke. In The Silence of The Lambs, Harris offers up a serving of characters so believable that you feel at times that you know them personally. His writing style is faultless. Powerful descriptions of scenery and scenarios, he takes the reader on a roller-coaster thrill ride, only letting you off of the ride as you turn the last page. Some characters are re-introduced from Red Dragon, namely Jack Crwford, the craggy section chief of Behavioral Science at the FBI, and, of course, Dr Hannibal Lecter, the sinister killer with an off the scale inteligence level, currently incarcerated in a top security asylum for the brutal canibalistic murders of several unsuspecting aquaintances. Crawford is heading up a team hunting for a serial killer who abducts women, kills them then helps himself to their skins. Six bodies have been found floating in rivers around the country so far, and the authorities are certain that more will follow unless this killer is caught. He has become known as 'Buffalo Bill' as a result of a sick joke by some police men who said that he always skinned his humps. Jack finds help in the unlikely form of an FBI trainee named Clarice Starling. She has a keen mind and is eager to make her mark with the acadamy. Starling is sent to interview Lecter in his cell. At first, she is merely picking his brain to try to draw up a profile of serial killers, but a strange bond is formed between the trainee and the monster. Lecter offers to help her find Buffalo Bill in exchange for intimate details of her own life. Pressure is added to the hun
                      t when Bill selects his next victim. She is the daughter of a prominent senetor. Frantic to get to her before Bill kills her, a deal is struck between the FBI and Dr Lectar. He will be moved to another institution where he will have a view, in exchange for him naming Buffalo Bill. It seems the latest victim will be saved, until Hannibal's jailor, Dr Frederick Chiltern interferes. Chiltern is desparate for fame and glory, and by sticking his oar in, it looks as though he has sealed the fate of the young girl held by the madman. A high tension race against time ensues. The consequences of Chiltern's envolvement are dire. Starling puts herself in danger and at risk of being thrown out of the FBI acadamy as she follows the trail of the killer. Racing pulses and beads of sweat on brows are the order of the day right up until the last page of this fantastic story. Just when you feel yourself start to sigh with relief, Harris provides you with another twist to his tale. Will Starling find the kidnapped girl, and will Chiltern get his just deserts? Read the book, and find out for yourself.

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                        16.05.2001 22:47
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                        Discovering the identity of a serial killer is a combination of research, relations and a lot of physical action. This book tells the tale of the FBI's investigation into the serial killer 'Buffalo Bill'. Clarice Starling is a young women studying to become a member of the FBI, she gets drawn into the case by asking to do a psycological analasist of Hannibal Lecter, (introduced in 'Red Dragon' also by Thomas Harris) An imprisioned serial killer but also a man of extreme intelligence. This helps spin the tale of a very complex, detailed and most interesting story that gripped me from the moment I picked up the book. Harris writes with a definite style, detailed yet appealing to every audience. Harris writes with intelligence and the story goes into details of theorys and discoveries by the characters that make you wonder how on earth he thought of them. The book is cleverly structured throwing the reader one way and then another, not letting them have time to lose interest before capturing them again in another action. It is impossible to put this book down. I was first drawn to this book due to the hype surrounding the film 'Hannibal', before this (you may call me uncultured) I had never even come across this book, but my love of all things dark and interest in what happened before the film made me buy it. Although this book is darkly interesting it may appear sickening or 'gross' to more screamish readers. In order not to give away the entirity of the plot I am not going to tell you the details of what happens at the end of the book, hoping that your curiousity may make you go out and read this book yourself as I think anyone would enjoy it.

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                          11.02.2001 18:57
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                          No one could forget the nerve wracking film adaptation of this book but how does the book measure up? Well I think the film was more tense but the book is deeper. In brief the plot is as follows - Someone nicknamed Buffalo Bill is abducting young women, holding them captive for a few days and then dumping their partly skinned bodies. The FBI is at their wits end and need some help. A young female recruit called Clarice Starling is given the unenviable task of going to see Hannibal the cannibal i.e. Doctor Hannibal Lecter. Why was this important task given to a young recruit? Starling is top of her class and has a double major in psychology and criminology. As the other specialists are busy on the Buffalo Bill case, Starling has to interview Lecter and to try and get him to answer a questionnaire called the Violent Criminal Apprehension Program. Over the course of the book Starling visits Lecter several times to try and gain more information about Buffalo Bill. This book deals more with Lecter than the previous novel "Red Dragon". The security precautions that have to be taken, the way Lecter acts, the way he speaks are all described in more detail than the previous novel. The fact that Starling is a woman adds to the story. She can relate more to the victims that the male agents, she interacts better with Lecter than the male agents and she can probably get away with more than her male counterparts. In this respect the book was better than the film. It went more into Starlings private life and her college life. We all know that the one great clue that gave the killer away was the cocoon of the Death's-head moth that he placed in the throat of his victims. The bumbling entomologists were a good touch even if it was a little bit stereotyped! The book comes to a climax with the kidnapping of a Senators daughter - not a good thing to do. The FBI is put on full alert and desperate methods are sought
                          . So desperate in fact that the Senator agrees a deal with Lecter. She will ensure that he is moved to a "nice" prison where he can have a cell with a window and a view if he reveals who the killer is. When he is moved Lecter escapes without naming the killer, never to be seen again or will he? This book deals rather more with Lecter than the previous book "Red Dragon". Unfortunately the book still didn't go deep enough into the psychology for me. I would like to no more about the minds of the killers and why they do it. I might have to try a non-fiction book for that. The book was enjoyable but predictable as the story is so well known. There are no hidden surprises in the novel I'm afraid. "Silence of the Lambs" is an enjoyable read with a fast moving story but I preferred "Red Dragon" I'm afraid!

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                            23.09.2000 23:31
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                            This is a truly great read for anyone interested in serial killers fact or fiction and also it deals alot with forensic science which too is very interesting, The story revolves around Clarice Starling a trainee FBI agrent trying to make it to the top and she unwillingly gets involved in the hunt for a serial killer by getting information from the infamous dr hanibal lecter,a truly great read also the film is great too which rarely happens when a book is made into a film.Oh and another bit of usefull info for anyone who was as frustrated as me about this matter is that the music from the film where Billy is dancing infront of his video camera, this song is called Goodbye Horses by Q Lazzarus and is available on Napster, I was hunting for this ever since i first saw the film and fell fulfilled now i have it (well maybe not but it's a great song)Another point on the criterian edition(dvd) of the film you can watch it with directors comentry over the top where you discover that Buffalo Bill is created from serial killers, Ed Gein,and Neilson well i thought it was interesting anyway, but for anyone who hasn't seen or read it yet get on with it it's great.

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                            08.08.2000 23:34

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                            'The Silence of the Lambs' shot into the public consciousness as a superb film starring Jodie Foster and Anthony Hopkins. The name refers to the laying to rest of past memories of one of the main characters, Clarice Starling, a young FBI trainee who is sent to interview a prisoner in a psychiatric prison, mass-murderer Hannibal Lecter. She hopes to gain an insight into a spate of killings around the eastern United States but Dr Lecter is far from helpful, preferring instead to tease Starling with games and obscure hints, to his own ends. Harris writes with a knack of getting the crucial details into the text whilst still leaving the reader with enough questions to continue reading. The result is a superb novel which is well worth a read, particularly if you haven't seen the film.

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                            24.07.2000 19:38

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                            After I read Red Dragon I was really looking forward to reading The Silence of the Lambs. I was totally blown away by this book. I thought that it was brilliant the way Hannibal was depicted asking Clarice about the screaming lambs and the way he played with people's minds. Anyone with a weak stomach shouldn't read this. You'll know why when you get to what Hannibal did to some of his victims. It is certainly a well thought out book and I would recommend ti as look as you are not faint hearted!!!

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                          Clarice Starling, a precociously self-disciplined FBI trainee, is dispatched by her boss, Section Chief Jack Crawford, the FBI's most successful tracker of serial killers, to see whether she can learn anything useful from Dr. Hannibal Lecter. Lecter's a gifted psychopath nicknamed The Cannibal because of his proclivity for eating parts of his victims. He plays an enigmatic and infuriating game of Clue with Starling, providing her with snippets of data that, if she is smart enough, will lead her to the criminal.