Saturday, March 24, 2012

Book Review #8: The Silence of the Lambs

I must say: I can't believe that I've been oblivious to an iconic fictional villain such as Dr. Hannibal Lecter all this while! I doubt I've ever heard of this book or this author, either. To think that the movie won several Oscars!

The Silence of the Lambs (1988) is the second crime/mystery novel in the series of four books featuring Dr. Hannibal Lecter. I picked this without reading the precursor (Red Dragon) and thankfully, I didn't feel like I was being led into a mind-boggling conundrum. They're all separate stories, really. This exhilarating thriller is about an FBI trainee, Claric Starling, who is aiding a search for a serial killer, crassly nicknamed, "Buffalo Bill". Buffalo Bill catches his victim, starves them, kills them and then skins them. She needs to gather information from Hannibal to succeed in finding the killer. (cues frightening music da da da da)

You may be wondering who Hannibal is. Hannibal the Cannibal suffices but besides being a cannibalistic serial killer, he is also a brilliantly smart, seductive and impressive psychiatrist.

Hannibal's story is the sub-plot in this book but I seem to focus on him more and not the highly irritating, gruesome Buffalo Bill who is the actual center villain here. I'm really impressed with Hannibal, I find him highly amusing, chillingly so. Although he is sort of an anti-hero in this book, we shouldn't forget that he is still capable of tearing your face off with his mere mouth. I pitied and had compassion for him towards the middle of the novel... and it was a regrettable decision. Goes to show I can't be an FBI agent :'(

I loved the short, clipped conversations throughout the book. It sets a quick pace which is characteristic of a crime thriller, I would say. I hate it when plots drag their asses a mile long unnecessarily. The FBI and detective jargon were harder to decipher but other than that, it was perfect. The dialogues between Clarice and Hannibal were stellar. I genuinely wished that they interacted more. Hannibal is smart, he can read your thoughts and know your actions but Clarice was not fazed so I think that's why the interaction was good. I think Hannibal had some sort of... attraction to Clarice. Not exactly in a sexual way, but in a way he uses to amuse himself.

One thing which I didn't like was the way the case was resolved. SMALL SPOILER, SKIP THIS PARAGRAPH ENTIRELY: I wished that "Buffalo Bill" (not telling you the actual name in case you're blind to the spoiler warning) had the chance to actually let the investigators pry his sick mind. It was explained by the narrator, but I felt it was not as thorough or real as him telling from his perspective (are you still reading? I bet you are. Nay, I didn't spoil much)

I took a month to read this, because of the amount of college work I have and how I let other books come in the way. If I'd read in two days in a row, it would've been more gripping and consuming. I'd like to see more gore and bone-chilling action from the other books, please because it wasn't that scary. You can probably pass this off as a bedtime story (or not). Scare factor's not really present but the thrill makes it worth your while. Still pretty badarse to me. Thank me later! ★★★★

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