The second thriller in the series featuring Hannibal Lecter and in my opinion the best of the four. The movie was an absolute blockbuster so there is no wonder that the book it is based upon is so brilliant. Harris brings us another of his wonderful characters – Clarice Starling. She is a trainee with the FBI and one of the main characters of this novel and the next. The story in this book takes place a couple of years after the first one. Dr.Hannibal Lecter plays a more significant and bigger role in the book.
Jack Crawford, Section Chief of Behavioral Science Section of the FBI, assigns Starling to take a questionnaire prepared to be answered by serial killers to Lecter. Lecter refuses to answer her questions at first but when another inmate Miggs behaves inappropriately with her, he changes his mind and decides to talk with her. He tells her that she should “Look in Raspail’s car for her Valentines”. Lecter will only talk to Starling and says he knows more about the case Crawford is working on.
The case is that of a serial killer named “Buffalo Bill” who abducts women, kills them and then skins his victims before dumping the bodies. Starling follows the clue and finds information which has connection to the present case. When the sixth body turns up Crawford takes Starling along for the investigation. Meanwhile the killer has kidnapped his next victim Christina Martin, daughter of a junior US senator. Crawford offers a deal to Lecter in exchange for information. Dr. Chilton later reveals that the offer was lie but he makes another deal with Lecter that he would transfer Lecter to another asylum if he is provided with information. Lecter says he would talk only to the Senator. Starling discovers the killers motive and also discovers how he chooses his victims.
I guess I’ll stop here. There is more mind-games from Lecter and a case to be solved, which you’ll have a great time reading. Those who have seen the movie know what is coming but for the sake of those who haven’t, I’m not saying anything more about the plot. Even if you have seen the movie, you’ll enjoy reading this book.