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Thomas Harris (1)

Author of The Silence of the Lambs

For other authors named Thomas Harris, see the disambiguation page.

18+ Works 40,176 Members 473 Reviews 81 Favorited

About the Author

Author Thomas Harris was born in Jackson, Mississippi in 1940 to Thomas, an electrical engineer, and Polly, a high school chemistry and biology teacher. He graduated with a B.A. from Baylor University in 1964. He has one child, a daughter, from his first marriage. Harris worked as a general show more assignment reporter for the Associated Press in New York and covered the crime beat daily. He spent time at the FBI's Behavioral Science Unit in Quantico and has interviewed serial killer Ted Bundy in researching for his novels. Harris's first novel, "Black Sunday" (1975), was a collaborative effort with fellow reporters Sam Maul and Dick Riley. While working the evening shift for the AP, they came up with the idea of using the Goodyear Blimp as the vehicle for a terrorist attack at the Super Bowl. The next novel, "Red Dragon" (1981), tells the story of the FBI's search for a murderer and introduces the infamous character Dr. Hannibal "The Cannibal" Lecter. The 1986 movie version of this novel was titled Manhunter. Next came, what many considered to be a masterpiece of suspense, "The Silence of the Lambs" (1988) and brings back the psychopathic killer Hannibal Lecter in an intense exploration of evil. The film version became the third movie in history to claim the top five Academy Awards, which were Best Actor (Anthony Hopkins), Best Actress (Jodie Foster), Best Screenplay (Ted Tally), Best Director (Jonathan Demme) and Best Picture. The sequel, "Hannibal," was published in 1999 and it was also made into a movie. (Bowker Author Biography) show less


Works by Thomas Harris

Associated Works

Manhunter [1986 film] (1986) — Original book — 128 copies, 2 reviews
Hannibal: The Complete First Season (2013) — Author, some editions — 65 copies
Black Sunday [1977 film] (1976) — Original book — 29 copies, 1 review


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Common Knowledge



Suntup Press -- The Silence of the Lambs in Fine Press Forum (April 2023)



Years ago I saw the film version of the novel. It starred Robert Shaw, who was brilliant, and the movie itself was entertaining but not great. The book failed to interest me. I took days to read it simply because I kept putting it down - doing anything else was more fun than reading this. I know Thomas Harris is the author of the Hannibal Lecter series of books; I don't have plans to read them because of their content (would upset me), but I do hope they're better than this limp story.

One thing I will say in the book's favour - the author had a really broad vocabulary, and I was always pausing and looking up new words. The word for the basket that hangs under blimps and under hot air balloons is called a nacelle, that's one I learned! And the fedayeen are Arab guerillas operating in Israel and Palestine against Israeli government/forces. Even in a uninspiring novel there are things to be learned!
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ahef1963 | 29 other reviews | May 8, 2024 |
Oh boy, is this an epitome of involuntary humour. Or maybe voluntary, as I read that Harris was stalked by his publisher into writing a sequel to The Silence of the Lambs. I interpret the total, DouglasAdamesque, flamboyant unbelievability of story and characters as a form of cunning yet harmless vengeance.
Proofs that the guy was taking the piss, when he wrote this thing:

The Sardinian killers WITH A SAUSAGE IN THE RIBBON OF THEIR HATS. Of course, every Sardinian walks about his business with a hat, and a sausage stuck in it.

The Florence inspector who goes to the opera on a regular basis, has a super-pussy, ambitious wife, and is a descendant of the Pazzi family. Beware, not because that individual character has these out-of-the-norm traits for some reason. He just happens to be, you know, Italian from Florence. They all go the opera, have gorgeous wives and descends from ancient families. Moreover if they are (mwahahahaaaahah) policemen. Seriously, whatever.

The whole story of (SPOILER!!!) Clarice's kidnapping and romantic dinner. I actually appreciated. At the time, I would have sold my mother to eat my boss's brain sliced and sautéed.

Now, it's been a decade since I read this thing. This mean that these pearls are all I remember, but there is more, way more, to it. Together with Giorgio Faletti's masterpiece of (seriously) involuntary humour, Io Uccido, this novel introduced me to the guilty pleasures of horrible, fascinating purple prose and out-of-the-world characterisation.
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Elanna76 | 84 other reviews | May 2, 2024 |
I've read this book more times than I can count and it still manages to give me nightmares.
thatnerd | 137 other reviews | Mar 2, 2024 |
Having seen the movie adaptation of "The Silence of the Lambs" several times, it seemed at times that I could see the action on the pages of the book rather than just reading them. I cannot help but see Jodie Foster as Clarice Starling and it is the voice of Anthony Hopkins I hear when Hannibal Lecter speaks. While this may limit how I view the characters, this does not detract at all from the book and I feel that in many ways, the novel is superior and is still gripping despite my familiarity with the story.
Clarice Starling is in training at the FBI Academy. She is a star student in the Behavioral Sciences Division when the Department Chief, Jack Crawford, calls her into his office and gives her a job. She is to interview one Dr Hannibal "The Cannibal" Lecter in order to help get into the mind of a serial killer. There is an open case with a serial killer who has been nicknamed "Buffalo Bill", and Dr. Lecter may be the only chance to solve the case without there being many more murders. Starling is only a trainee, and this may be why Lecter is actually willing to speak to Starling about Buffalo Bill, though he is always holding something back.
Lecter is a villain of extreme intellect and this comes through in his dialogue. Like "Red Dragon", Dr. Lecter is not the central villain and the story does not revolve specifically around him (though he has a larger role this time around). Lecter does play a pivotal role because without him, the story cannot move forward. We never truly get into the psyche of Jame Gumb (not as much as we did with Frances Dolorhyde in "Red Dragon"), and it seems as if most of his actions happen off camera.
While Lecter is a very interesting character, it is Clarice Starling that we get to see grow as a character and become more confident and insistent in her work with Lecter and to catch "Buffalo Bill" even though she is only a trainee. She was put on this case and she intends to see it through.
As creepy as the movie could be, I loved this book. It had a very fast pace and stayed interesting throughout the story and it didn't matter that I had seen the movie multiple times. I was interested in the story Thomas Harris was telling. While Harris goes into detail about crimes, it doesn't feel very gory or unnecessary. It seems that this novel was a best seller in the late 80's and it is easy to see why. "The Silence of the Lambs" is a well told thriller and any fans of James Patterson and that genre should definitely give this one a look.
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b00kdarling87 | 102 other reviews | Jan 7, 2024 |


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