The Silence of the Lambs

By Thomas Harris,

Book cover of The Silence of the Lambs

Book description

As part of the search for a serial murderer nicknames "Buffalo Bill," FBI trainee Clarice Starling is given an assignment. She must visit a man confined to a high-security facility for the criminally insane and interview him.

That man, Dr. Hannibal Lecter, is a former psychiatrist with unusual tastes and…

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Why read it?

19 authors picked The Silence of the Lambs as one of their favorite books. Why do they recommend it?

 When I find a book with wonderful, relatable characters, I’m hooked. Add a villain unlike any I’ve ever read, and I can’t put it down. Put me in the villain’s point of view, and I’ll lose sleep to find out why he’s so evil.

I raced through it the first time, then read it twice more to savor every detail. I even kept a record of how many points of view Harris used to make his story so spectacular!

He’s a splendid writer, and I always admire that. Silence of the Lambs is timeless, digs into the heart and soul…

This is my eccentric pick. This book shows how the protagonist forms a kind of family when she has lost her own.

Clarice, a young FBI trainee, must enlist the help of a Hannibal Lecter, a serial killer, to find another serial killer. Clarice’s father was killed and her mother unable to keep the family together, which caused her to be sent to an orphanage.

She is without a family but has two father figures: her FBI boss who is shown to be wonderfully devoted to his dying wife, and Hannibal Lecter, a man who is incapable of love but…

Suspense is the backbone of any story – even a love story. In fact, anything that keeps those pages turning as a puzzle begins to unfold with an intriguing, high-concept idea, I find fascinating! In this case, the high concept is a serial killer making a coat of his victim’s skin. We want to know why, how, and whether he can be stopped.

I normally love heart-warming books with meaningful characters you want as friends, but sometimes the puzzle and suspense are enough to make me tear through a book. Alfred Hitchcock also does that to me! Thomas Harris’s novel…

The Silence of the Lambs is a psychological thriller that delves deep into the complexities of identity. Clarice Starling, the protagonist, is a young FBI trainee navigating a male-dominated field. Her background as "poor white trash" adds another layer to her struggle for acceptance and respect.

The book masterfully explores her identity as she interacts with Dr. Hannibal Lecter, a brilliant but twisted psychiatrist (and cannibal). This relationship forces her to confront her own prejudices and insecurities, making her character arc incredibly compelling. The story also tackles societal expectations and the limitations they impose on individual identity.

If you're fascinated…

From D.P.'s list on complex identities.

If I don’t mention this book, the literary police will lock me up. Harris’s iconic novel (and the highly acclaimed movie it inspired) molded our conceptions – and misconceptions – of serial killers.

The book’s creepy atmosphere and slowly building tension remind us why we can’t resist a good psychological thriller, and the novel’s disturbing questions remain long after The End: How do people become monsters? And would we survive a close encounter?

There are some novels that are absolutely perfect, and The Silence of the Lambs is one of them.

There is not a word, not a sentence wasted in this entire book, and despite the reputation of this novel and its well-known film adaptation, there is very little visceral horror ‘on the page’.

There are two or three moments of Hannibal Lector’s great crimes, but really this is a book about Clarice Starling, not only dealing with a killer but with the constant threat of violence – from the men around her, from the the job she is in, and from…

From Heather's list on compelling creepy.

Yes, yes, I’m sure you’ve seen the movie. Who hasn’t watched Anthony Hopkins slither his tongue in such a way that makes you want to crawl away and hide forever? But the real important question here is: have you read the book?

This fact may reveal me as a little weird and that’s okay: I was obsessed with this movie as a child. I couldn’t get enough of the taut, haunting relationship between Hannibal and Clarice.

When I finally got around to reading the book, I was annoyed with myself for waiting so long. Letting the words of Hannibal go…

A young woman in training at the FBI's behavioral sciences unit is assigned to interview a brilliant forensic scientist at a high-security mental asylum. Dr. Hannibal Lecter agrees to help by using facts she tells him about the case to help construct a psychological profile of a vicious serial killer now on the loose.

However, his condition for doing this is her agreement to tell him about her unhappy childhood. Dr. Lecter is skillful at understanding the hidden motivations and vulnerabilities of the killer, and also of Clarice. There is a complication, though: he himself is an incarcerated cannibalistic serial…

From Monica's list on good and bad psychiatrists.

As I was writing my first novel based on the relationship between killer and psychologist I needed inspiration. I wanted to recreate a narrative that was deeply disturbing but avoided conventional horror clichés.

I’d always loved the film, a staple for any horror fan, but had never read the book: It brought home just how much of one’s imagination as a reader is lost in film.

To enjoy Silence of The Lambs, the contents of Red Dragon are not necessary – there are only a few brief references to Francis Dolarhyde and Will Graham, and in no way do these…

Harris attended some of John Douglas' classes at the FBI Academy, which significantly impacted his writing and crime fiction in general.

He modeled Jack Crawford, the head of the Behavioral Science Unit in three of his novels, after Douglas. This one is his best. It incorporates many of the forensic tools law enforcement agencies possess, like profiling, psychology, and entomology, to bring violent offenders to justice.

It also features a young female graduate of the FBI Academy who serves as our "guide" throughout the investigation of a serial killer who has abducted the daughter of a U.S. Senator.

Clarice Starling's…

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