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.
©1998 Thomas Harris (P)2011 Simon & Schuster
"Kathy Bates makes it sound so real you'll be looking over your shoulder for days." (Washington Post Book World)
"Scary Tales are always best when told out loud, which is why a novel such as The Silence of the Lambs works so well on tape." (Playboy)
Loyal member since 1998
I have always felt this is one of the few movies faithful to the book. But one must listen to the hypnotic narration by Frank Muller for a different take on the story. It would be ludicrous to summarize this tale, we all know it. But there are some aspects of the book that just could not fit into the time limit of the movie. The FBI bureaucracy and it's internal politics makes the listener fear the investigation will suddenly come to a screeching halt. The book shows how Agent Starling is willing to put her career on the line to stop the killing. It also deals with the terminal illness of Jack Crawford's wife and the stress it puts him under. The biggest difference between book and movie is that Buffalo Bill is actually more terrifying and sinister that Hannibal Lecter. Buffalo Bill is still on the loose(for most of the novel) and still on a killing spree. In the end Clarice Starling is the more interesting character, not Hannibal the Cannibal, because of her constant fight against a law enforcement world dominated by men and her ability to change, grow and thrive in it.
Let's face it, these authors aren't paying me, so there's no need to lie!!
Frank Muller was DESTINED to read this book to us. Plain and simple. The book itself is brilliant, but his reading takes it to a level that I didn't even think was possible! He nails Lector, and is PERFECT as Buffalo Bill (the other bad guy). By the way, to have TWO characters as iconic as Hannibal Lector and Buffalo Bill in the same book is quite an accomplishment unto itself. They are so different, and yet so perfectly dark in all the right ways. I found myself laughing quite a bit at Buffalo Bill's lines, but that's even more credit to how superb Muller's reading was.
If you loved the movie...even if you JUST WATCHED the movie... get this audiobook! It is top 5 on Audible, in my opinion.
I read the book decades ago, but my memory of the story comes from the Jodie Foster film -- which I thought was way beyond scary and absolutely excellent. Could be that it was, but this audiobook is far superior. The story itself is extremely innovative with provocative main characters and a host of colorful second-tier players, enough to make it a great book all by itself, but Frank Muller's narration makes it simply perfect. I don't know how he does it, but in some of the unbelievably tense scenes, I realize I'm sitting with every muscle ready to spring. The pure evil Muller brings out of the scenes, just by voice alone, is amazing -- the Radio Spirits people, who talk about 'the theater of the mind' could have been talking about this audiobook. You hear the words, but because of the excellent narration, the scenes that play in your mind are better than any film could be. I know this is a book I will listen to again and again -- and I'm sure, on subsequent listens, I will discover even more things about it than I saw this first time. It's a true classic, in every sense.
I have seen the movie several times, and i still enjoyed the book. Naturally, book provides detail that movie skipped. Hannibal is just as scary if not more that Frank Muller does an amazing job. I highly recommend this book.
While listening to the book, I was astounded by how much the film diminished Starling's strength of character and, to a great extent, altered the story line entirely. As is often the case, the movie doesn't hold a candle to the book. Until I listened to Mr Muller narrate the book, the movie was a favorite of mine. Mr. Muller's narration was excellent - one of the best audio book performers I've listened to thus far. I wish he would narrate the others in the Hanibal series as well - what a treat that'd be.
I am a 65-year-old psychologist, married for 25 years, with two sons who are 25 and 22. I love reviewing the books and the feedback I get.
This audiobook is thrilling, brilliant, very scary and it will get to you, no matter how worldly you are. No one has ever narrated like Frank. The plot goes a long way to scare the bejeebers out of you, and it succeeds wildly. Thomas Harris wrote one masterpiece, and this is it. The movie was perhaps the scariest thing I've seen, although I do remember not being able to watch several scenes from "Alien." To hear Frank voice these characters with all his skills at their peak is a delight that one wants to share with the world. I wonder if Jodie Foster has listened to Frank. If not, it might thrill her to hear a man with a voice so convincing, so deep and vivid that one almost forgets that he's a man. The adventure that the book develops is so frightening that you can't stop listening. You just can't believe that the villain will nab another innocent young woman. (No details, in case you don't already know the plot, although these are hard to omit.)
This is one of the few audiobooks that I will return to, again and again, over years of listening to other books. When eighteen months or so goes by, the details of the plot and the nuances of characters vanishes from memory, and listening to the book reveals new thoughts and new sounds. I have heard that the founder of Audible auditioned many readers before he found Frank Muller, and, after listening to Frank read once, he said, "I have a company." This story may well be apocryphal, but, frankly, I don't care. Like "The Testament" (John Grisham) and a couple of Stephen King's books, these are treasures. King is said to have remarked that he wrote for Frank's voice. I believe it. You will love "The Silence of the Lambs." It will stay with you for a very long time.
If I'm not reading, I'm listening.
Hannibal. He's such a messed up dude.
When Hannibal remembers back to killing the sailor.
Frank Muller made Hannibal a detailed, flesh and blood creature. As good as or better than Anthony Hopkins.
Sometimes, the total of something is greater than the sum of its parts, and the discovery of such turns out to be an experience of pure joy; particularly for the rarity of the occurrence. As an avid audio book listener, I have been delighted to find that this is often the case with practically every performance by the late, great, Frank Muller. This chilling and profoundly interesting story is enhanced by the excellent performance (yet again!), by Frank Muller. When Frank passed a couple of years back as the result of a tragic motorcycle accident, the world lost a true virtuoso artist. I cannot adequately praise this particular combination of reading performance and subject material in a mere review; one must experience it for themselves, but I promise anyone who embarks on this work a truly a wonderful listen. I often do repeat listens to Frank Muller's performances and this one does not lose its edge even after many listens over the years. This is one of Audible's offerings which I must recommend most highly.
Other stupendous works by Frank Muller in which the performance and material merge into pure art transcending the separate components:
"1984" by George Orwell. "The Green Mile", "The Talisman" and others by Stephen King.
"The Hunt for Red October" by Tom Clancy, "A Christmas Carol" by Charles Dickens, a couple of novels by John LeCarre, and the Vampire Chronicles ("Interview with a Vampire", "The Vampire Lestat", "The Queen of the Damned" and "The Tale of the Body Thief") by Anne Rice.
I heartily recommend any and all of Frank Muller's performances which are available on Audible. There are several here, and I am aware of none which would disappoint. Further, I wish that Audible could finally add all of the above and indeed all of Frank's performances (of which several are yet unavailable through Audible) to their library so that the legacy and art of one of the World's most outstanding audio book performers could be easily accessible to discerning audio book aficionados for generations to come.
Special thanks to Sasha, Stacy and Stef for sharing the Audible experience with me and being the best of company during my recovery.
The works of Thomas Harris, particularly those in the Hannibal Lecter series are works of art in the thriller/ terror field. I'm certain that the plot of this book has been recapped enough that it isn't necessary that I do another one. The genius of Hannibal Lecter and the factors that made him who he is; related in the book Hannibal Rising; are a fascinating study into the nature/nurture duality. This is the second book in the series and the first that presents Lecter in any depth. In Red Dragon he was just a malevolent evil in the background; this book focused attention on him in greater depth and presented him in more complexity. The sense of justice, albeit a totally over the top sense that occurs due to Migs due to his rudeness to Starling in the corridor; in which he convinces him to do what he did to himself. The insight he has into what drives others made him an excellent therapist. It's the effects of his experiences that compel him to use the information given to him by these patients to exact a justice far more severe than anyone but him would consider appropriate.
Though the concept of a trainee chasing a serial killer is clearly ludicrous it works as a literary device. The wide eyed innocence of a young woman when contrasted with the cynicism of those around her makes for excellent literature. This is the penultimate Lecter story and for anyone not repulsed or offended by the novel's violence it's a can't miss listen.
Say something about yourself!
Listened for Fun (Audible)
Overall Rating: 4.50
Story Rating: 4.75
Character Rating: 4.25
Audio Rating: 4.00 (not part of the overall rating)
First Thought when Finished: The Silence of the Lambs was a reread for me. However it was the first time I have listened to it--EXCELLENT!
Story Thoughts: I love the Hannibal Lecter series though it has been a long time since I originally read this series. These are still probably some of my favorite thrillers. I wasn't worried about them losing magic on the reread because this is probably my 6th or 7th time reading them. However, listening to them on audiobook was a new experience and I enjoyed it. I had forgotten how creepy, brilliant, and downright spooky Harris' writing could make me feel. From the methodical way that Starling tracked down the killer to the brilliant way Lecter manipulated the situation--I was enthralled even though I knew how it played out. You just can't beat good rhythm in a thriller and Harris has it! LOVED IT!
Character Thoughts: I know you are looking at my character rating and wondering why it isn't higher. To be honest, if I was basing it on Lecter and Starling it would be a 5 straight across the board. However, I usually base part of the character rating in thrillers on the "bad" guy. Buffalo Bill was only interesting because Lecter made him interesting. He just wasn't all that compelling to me and I felt so much more could have been done to give him a personality. He kind of got lost in the brilliance that was Starling and Lecter but I felt he could have been so much more!
Narrated By Frank Muller/ Length: 10 hrs and 44 mins
I was worried about picking this up in audio after having read it so many times and seeing the movie. However, Frank did an EXCELLENT job bringing the characters of The Silence of the Lambs to life through his narration. His pacing, timing, and creepy factor were just right for this series. The only voice that took awhile to get used to was Starling but after I got there, it was excellent.
Final Thoughts: This is on my series reread list for this year!
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