There’s a killer on the loose who knows that beauty is only skin deep, and a trainee investigator who’s trying to save her own hide. The only man that can help is locked in an asylum. But he’s willing to put a brave face on – if it will help him escape.
This is one of those rare instances for me where I saw the movie years before reading the book. Both of them definitely hold their own and are equally amazing! I really enjoyed seeing that the movie stayed true to the book. The novel, itself, is thrilling and goes into greater detail than the movie did without becoming tedious.
Let’s break it down!
Clarice is a young woman who is currently attending the FBI academy. She is at the top of her class and manages to attract the attention of one of the agents in charge of finding the serial killer, Buffalo Bill.
He instructs Clarice to join in on the investigation by interviewing the notorious Hannibal Lecter. Despite being in a prison and having Dr. Lecter locked up behind break-proof glass, he still manages to crawl into the deepest, darkest depths of Clarice’s mind and imbalance her.
Hannibal is a highly-educated, charming, renowned former doctor who has been sentenced to life imprisonment for murdering several people and consuming their remains. Hence, the nickname Hannibal the Cannibal. He specialized in psychiatry and is adept at finding the weaknesses in a person’s character and using it as a weapon against them. The FBI seeks out his assistance in forming a profile on Buffalo Bill in order to zero in on who the killer might be. He takes a liking to Clarice Starling, but also enjoys seeing her squirm beneath his artful gaze and exposing her deepest fears.
It takes awhile for Clarice to find her footing and figure out a way to get through to the elusive Dr. Lecter. After several failed attempts at following protocol to get him to assist the FBI, she decides to leave herself wide open to his scrutinization in a wicked game of Quid Pro Quo. He’ll only help her and give her information if she answers any private questions that he has for her.
Buffalo Bill is a cunning individual who kidnaps various women who are of a particular size in order to hold them captive; he starves them for the purpose of skinning them later on to make himself a human suit. Sounds crazy, right? Although the movie depicted Buffalo Bill in a very creepy way, he was even creepier in the book! We get to see a more in-depth characterization of him and details of how he treats his captives which was absolutely chilling!
I loved how the locations were described in the book. Many of the scenes take place in the maximum security prison that Hannibal Lecter is housed in. Some of the other scenes include the infamous torture house in which Buffalo Bill resides and keeps his captives locked away. As well as the FBI academy. All of them were described in a meticulous manner that helped me to envision myself in those areas.
The grand finale of the book was just as fantastic and jaw-dropping as the movie portrayed it. The only thing that I wish had been included in the book is the extremely chilling sentence at the end of the film when Hannibal says, “I’m going to have an old friend for dinner.” It’s the best line in cinematic history in my honest opinion. It has such a great impact solely because Hannibal is a cannibal and it’s quite obvious that he intends to have his friend for dinner in the most literal sense. (shudders)
This book was nothing short of fantastic! I highly recommend it if you are a thriller fanatic like me! 5 out of 5 stars!
Add to TBR:
“When the Fox hears the Rabbit scream he comes a-runnin’, but not to help.”
“I ate his liver with some fava beans and a big Amarone”
“She didn’t give a damn about some of them, but she had grown to learn that inattention can be a stratagem to avoid pain, and that it is often misread as shallowness and indifference.”
“I’m not sure you get wiser as you get older, Starling, but you do learn to dodge a certain amount of hell.”
“Over this odd world, this half the world that’s dark now, I have to hunt a thing that lives on tears.”
“God’s creatures who cried themselves to sleep stirred to cry again.”
“Nothing happened to me, Officer Starling. I happened. You can’t reduce me to a set of influences.”
“I have no plans to call on you, Clarice, the world being more interesting with you in it.”