Intriguing dialogues, relentless suspense and wickedness of Dr Hannibal Lecter keep reader turning pages. The primo in Hannibal Lecter Series.

Silence Of The Lambs - Thomas Harris
Genre – Crime, Detective, Thriller, Suspense, Murder Mystery
Author – Thomas Harris
Rating – 4 Stars Out Of 5


A madman, who sees beauty only in skin, is murdering women in the city. He is choosing all his victims randomly. There is no clue which would lead to the perp. There is only one man who can help FBI in solving this case. But that man is locked up in asylum. He is Dr Hannibal Lecter. He agrees to help FBI in capturing the madman nicknamed as “Buffalo Bill” if it will help him escape. What Dr Hannibal Lecter has on mind? What is he up to?


The Silence Of The Lambs” is an answer to all those readers (including me) who complained that “Red Dragon – Hannibal Lecter #1” didn’t have much mention of Dr Hannibal Lecter. Thomas Harris portrayed the cunning and wicked character of Dr Hannibal Lecter strikingly in “The Silence Of The Lambs”. I got only vague perception of him when I finished reading “Red Dragon”, but this novel exposed the evil and intellectual peculiarities of Dr Hannibal Lecter.

The book starts off very nicely. Clarice Starling, a trainee at the behavioral science section of FBI is assigned a task to talk to Dr Hannibal Lecter in connection with “Buffalo Bill” case. Dr Lecter is locked up in an asylum. The rules set out for all those who meet Dr Lecter are so queer and strict that the reader is left ruminating about this grim character of Dr Lecter. E.g. The person who meets him can’t touch him, can’t lend him ball point pen and so on. I thought author is trying to craft a contrived character by setting such rules. But ensuing pages about the evil Dr Hannibal Lecter made clear why so many rules. I was dumbfounded by the terror. The conversation of Dr Lecter and Sterling are intriguing. The dialogues are meticulously written and thought provoking. If Thomas Harris renders evil image of Dr Hannibal Lecter in initial few pages then this communication proves his ingenuity. He is lunatic but he is cunning and he is cannibal. He is Dr Hannibal Lecter.

After reading “The Silence Of The Lambs”, I must say that Thomas Harris has really improved his writing skills by leaps and bounds. He has stuffed the suspense in the book from page one. I like crime fiction novels which have rich Forensic Details such as “The Bone Collector”, “The Empty Chair” etc. But without any forensic details “The Silence Of The Lambs” stands out to be an unforgettable classic crime fiction for it’s magnificent dialogues and ceaseless suspense. Thomas Harris let the events occur in such way that it is hard to put down the book. Dr Hannibal Lecter gives clues which may lead to the perp but they are so intricate that FBI is kept guessing. It is sheer amusement to read.

The best part of the book is it’s title. Thomas Harris is genius. The dialogues between Sterling and Dr Lecter are magnificently written. In their conversation, Thomas Harris justifies the title of the book. I found that part of the novel most enchanting. It was perhaps the most amusing thing in this book.

The book is out-an-out entertainer. It never lets you down. But the villain of this novel is average. He is not fierce. The perp of “Red Dragon” was ferocious but in “The Silence Of The Lambs” the perp is not frightening. He is queer but not scary. But it doesn’t affect the quality of the book at all. It still entertains the reader. I also felt that even though Thomas Harris took the suspense level to the peak, it dropped towards the end. The events which lead FBI to the perp seemed incomplete. The enormously crafted suspense felt blunt towards the end of the book.

The Silence Of The Lambs” is a true Dr Hannibal Lecter novel. I liked this novel mostly for two things -

  1. Intriguing Communication of Dr Lecter and Clarice Sterling
  2. The title of the book and it’s justification

If I have to compare “Red Dragon” and “Silence Of The Lambs”, I would say that “Silence Of The Lambs” is much better and entertains the reader till the last page.

Rating & Conclusion

I would STRONGLY RECOMMEND this book to every crime fiction lover. I would have rated it 4.5 stars but minus 0.5 for fading suspense in the end. I could anticipate the sequence of events. But it is a sheer amusement to read this novel. I would recommend this novel to you for it’s splendid dialogues, the cunning character of Dr Lecter and the title justification. I would rate “The Silence Of The Lambs4 stars out of 5.

Posted by: Pravin Patil
Last revised: 31 Jan, 2014 02:51 PM


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