In Hannibal, the third novel in the Hannibal Lecter series by Thomas Harris, we get to see Lecter interact with the world. While he enjoys his newfound freedom, Clarice Starling is held down by the FBI as she pursues the famed serial killer.
Starling is asked to assist with a sting to take down a meth dealer. But the operation goes south and Starling is forced to shoot and kill five people.The media paints her as a villain as her face is plastered all over the newspapers.
The FBI reviews Starling’s case and the FBI department tries to punish her to please the media. But Lecter’s letter to Starling keeps her from falling apart. The letter also showcases Starling’s importance to the Lecter case. That brings Starling back onto the Lecter case as he finally resurfaces since his escape seven years ago.
Mason Verger, a rich, disturbed pig breeder, wants to get revenge on Lecter. Before Hannibal Lector was caught, Mason was one of his clients. One day Verger invited Hannibal to his home and Hannibal fed Mason to his dogs. Mason survived but his face was disfigured and now Verger wants to settle the score. The bounty placed on Lecter pays off as he is found in Italy. Verger pays a hitman to kidnap Lecter and has trained wild boars to eat Lecter.
In The U.S. Starling is facing scrutiny within the FBI via Paul Krendler. He is a high ranking FBI agent who is working for Verger. He has a personal Vendetta against Starling and has stalled her career. And he and Mason decide to use her connection to Lecter as bait and make him come out of hiding. But catching one of the most dangerous man on the planet comes with risk a lot of blood.
Out of all the novels in the series, this is the most gruesome one so far. And that is saying something because the other novels did not hold back. So read at your own risk because it is not for the faint of heart.
While this is called Hannibal and we get a lot of his story and background, the novel is heavily focused on Starling. We follow her fall from grace and her only friend has become old and lost in the past. Starling is left alone facing scrutiny for doing her job. How much can one person put up with before they break? That question may finally be answered for Starling.
Like his other novels, we see a lot of corruption and misogyny. And Starting is on the receiving end of it. Harris does not filter the uphill battle for Starling but we do see how she has come to be revered by other females in the agency.
Lastly, I want to say it was great to see Lecter in the outside world and how he uses his resources. In the previous novels, we mostly saw Lector detained but in this novel we see him mimicking Jason Bourne and having a lot of things set in place. It is great to see a villain like Lecter overcoming hardships as he does and it showcases why Lecter is feared.
This novel was hard to put down once I started reading it. There was a lot more at stake her for Starling and Lecter and Harris builded the plot up well. Mason Verger was a great addition to the novel and we do find out why he was the only victim of Lector that survived.
I definitely recommend this novel and it was the best one in the series so far! The new characters and the angle taken by Thomas build a lot of suspense and it pays off as we see it all come together near the end of the novel.