A serial murderer known only by a grotesquely apt nickname–Buffalo Bill–is stalking women. He has a purpose, but no one can fathom it, for the bodies are discovered in different states. Clarice Starling, a young trainee at the FBI Academy, is surprised to be summoned by Jack Crawford, chief of the Bureau’s Behavioral Science section. Her assignment: to interview Dr. Hannibal Lecter–Hannibal the Cannibal–who is kept under close watch in the Baltimore State Hospital for the Criminally Insane.
Dr. Lecter is a former psychiatrist with a grisly history, unusual tastes, and an intense curiosity about the darker corners of the mind. His intimate understanding of the killer and of Clarice herself form the core of Thomas Harris’ The Silence of the Lambs–and ingenious, masterfully written book and an unforgettable classic of suspense fiction.
Review From Amazon.com
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
Review From Publishers Weekly
In this thrillingly effective follow-up to Harris’s masterful 1981 suspense novel Red Dragon, the heroine is new, but the villain isn’t: Dr. Hannibal Lecter, the evil genius who played a small but crucial role in the earlier novel, returns, to mesmerizing effect. When a serial killer known as Buffalo Bill (he kidnaps, slays and skins young women) begins a crosscountry rampage, FBI trainee Clarice Starling tries to interview Lecter, a psychiatrist whose brilliant insights into the criminally insane are matched only by his bloodlusthe’s currently imprisoned for nine murders, and would like nothing more than the chance to kill again. Lecter, a vicious gamesman, will offer clues to the murderer’s pattern only in exchange for information about Clarice, analyzing her with horrible accuracy from the barest details. When Bill strikes again, the agent begins to realize that Lecter may know much more, and races against time and two twisted minds. Harris understands the crafting of literary terror as very few writers do; readers who put themselves in his good, coldblooded hands will lose sleep, and demand a sequel. 200,000 first printing; $200,000 ad/promo; BOMC main selection.