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The Silence Of The Lambs by Thomas Harris
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The Silence Of The Lambs (1988)

by Thomas Harris

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Hannibal Lecter Series (2)

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Showing 1-5 of 79 (next | show all)
Even though I still have not seen the film, I thought I'd explore Harris' world when I discovered a paperback very cheap at a local book swap. Though the book is marketed as all about Hannibal Lecter "the ultimate villain," it's really about the minds of criminals and the people who wish to stop them.

It's interesting that each side is set in pairs -- the criminal side and the justice side of the equation.

At one end of the spectrum we have Clarice Starling, an FBI agent who is learning the ropes. I mean, she hasn't even finished school yet! She runs into prejudice all the time -- "how long have you been at the FBI Ms. Starling?" to which she quickly changes the subject. Her mentor and confidant Jack Crawford is in his own world. Struggling with his wife's terminal illness, he yet makes an effort to teach Starling the ropes -- and an ulterior motive to use her to get into Lecter's mind -- the only man who may have the clue to find Buffalo Bill -- the mad serial killer who is skinning women and leaving them floating in rivers.

The other end of the spectrum is Dr. Lecter, an expert of the mind and behavior, but also rather insane -- he literally will bite the hands that feeds him! His sense of smell is startling. His ability to see deep into Starling's core is also a bit unsettling -- for Starling as well as the reader! Lecter's pair is Buffalo Bill himself whom we meet as he prepares to skin a senator's daughter!

Will Clarice find the killer in time, despite the arrogance of bureaucrats and the curtains everyone of the characters seems to hide behind? And is she willing to give up a bit of herself to Lecter in return for some information?

**Spoiler - Fascinating pace of story, especially at the climax when she actually meets the killer and has no idea who this guy is -- but then does and man, you can't turn the page fast enough! ** End Spoiler

I am mighty impressed with Thomas Harris bit of crime fiction here. I may pick up his earlier work, Red Dragon [Red Dragon.

Recommended! ( )
1 vote James_Mourgos | Dec 22, 2016 |
One of my all time favorites.
Not a word is wasted in this bone-chilling thriller. The main character becomes the model for numerous film, tv and literary female FBI agents. ( )
1 vote Lauren2013 | Nov 19, 2016 |
With the introduction of Clarice Starling, Harris work got even better. that character, her insecurities, sold this book. ( )
  Kaethe | Oct 17, 2016 |
Loved it! ( )
  JennysBookBag.com | Sep 28, 2016 |
Another re-read of Silence of the Lambs, this time my favorite. Maybe it's because I'm more into the story and read them in the order of sequence and not popularity, I'm not sure, but this time around I found it even more fascinating than the first meet.

Clarice is a likeable character. Her background melding with who she wants to be is an admirable one. She's given the chance of a lifetime, handed out by a man she admires, to step her foot firmly into the FBI. Without meaning to, she's sucked into the world of Hannibal Lecter, who spurs her on to uncover clues and solve the mystery of the serial killer the media calls Buffalo Bill. Her determination mixed with fragile ego was a realistic blend, and her internal backward insults when talking to people who don't give her enough credit was downright amusing.

The character of Hannibal Lecter is larger than life, written so well on the pages I can see him clearly as the writer takes him through the motions. With class and culture, manners but enjoying cruelty with his words, the madman is interesting as he both torments Clarice and forces her to self-reveal. The heart of the book is their verbal warplay, the cautious pauses on her behalf, the strategic maneuvering on his.

I'm surprised how much I felt for Crawford in this one; I think before he fell in the shadows and I didn't pay as much notice. He's an intriguing character from his haunting moments with his ailing wife, his detached involvement with Hannibal, to his almost paternal bond of Clarice.

As a serial killer, Jame Gumb is twisted. Monstrous in mind and disgusting with actions, he absorbs just enough page time to be interesting but not enough to make it too much about him, to take the focus off the more fascinating areas of this book. And the escape with Hannibal is a tense, intelligently created one.

With books like Hannibal Rising, I sometimes found Harris too dry and to the point, but here in Silence he shines, obviously having a lot of enthusiasm to make a multi-layered, psychologically twisted work - the combining of such different people already in various forms of power to those just coming into their own.

I tried watching the movie again recently but turned it off after about 20 minutes. Too soon and I already missed some of the depth in dialogue the book held. ( )
1 vote ErinPaperbackstash | Jun 14, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 79 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (25 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Harris, Thomasprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Rambelli, RobertaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
If after the manner of men I have fought with beasts at Ephesus, what advantageth it me, if the dead rise not?
—1 Corinthians
Need I look upon a death's head in a ring, that have one in my face?
— John Donne, "Devotions"
Dedication
To the memory of my father.
First words
Behavioral Science, the FBI section that deals with serial murder, is on the bottom floor of the Academy building at Quantico, half-buried in the earth.
Quotations
A census taker tried to quantify me once. I ate his liver with some fava beans and a big Amarone.
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
WorldCat has ISBN 9024542871 for both Lelijk eendje [The Ugly Duckling] by Iris Johansen AND De schreeuw van het lam [The Silence of the Lambs] by Thomas Harris.
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Information from the Dutch Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
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Wikipedia in English (2)

Book description
HANNIBAL LECTER.
THE ULTIMATE VILLAIN OF MODERN FICTION.
A young FBI trainee. An evil genius locked away for unspeakable crimes. A plunge into the darkest chambers of a psychopath's mind-- in the deadly search for a serial killer...
Haiku summary

Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0312924585, Mass Market Paperback)

The Silence of the Lambs, by Thomas Harris, is even better than the successful movie. Like his earlier Red Dragon, the book takes us inside the world of professional criminal investigation. All the elements of a well-executed thriller are working here--driving suspense, compelling characters, inside information, publicity-hungry bureaucrats thwarting the search, and the clock ticking relentlessly down toward the death of another young woman. What enriches this well-told tale is the opportunity to live inside the minds of both the crime fighters and the criminals as each struggles in a prison of pain and seeks, sometimes violently, relief.

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 whose nickname is "The Cannibal" because he likes to eat parts of his victims. Isolated by his crimes from all physical contact with the human race, he plays an enigmatic game of "Clue" with Starling, providing her with snippets of data that, if she is smart enough, will lead her to the criminal. Undaunted, she goes where the data takes her. As the tension mounts and the bureaucracy thwarts Starling at every turn, Crawford tells her, "Keep the information and freeze the feelings." Insulted, betrayed, and humiliated, Starling struggles to focus. If she can understand Lecter's final, ambiguous scrawl, she can find the killer. But can she figure it out in time? --Barbara Schlieper

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:19:35 -0400)

(see all 10 descriptions)

FBI Academy trainee Clarice Starling hopes that Dr. Hannibal Lecter, a criminally insane psychiatrist imprisoned in a Boston hospital, can lead her to the serial killer known only as Buffalo Bill.

» see all 11 descriptions

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