1999 **** 546 pages
Quite possibly the most interesting and fascinating book in the Hannibal Lecter series, Hannibal takes place a few years after the events of The Silence of the Lambs. Clarice Starling's career is on the line as a drug bust gone wrong puts her in a bad place in the public's eyes, and a jerk of a boss who is sore at her refusals of his sexual invitations make her every move a worrisome one. Meanwhile, Hannibal Lecter is still at large; he has found himself in Florence, Italy, taking over as curator of a library. A former victim of his, who was left alive, has a reward out for Hannibal Lecter, for his own fun and games. It's the most psychologically rewarding book in the series, with an ending that will shock you to your core upon first reading. After psychoanalyzing the story, the characters, and the events, though, the ending makes sense, but only in this medium. Rightfully so, the film version changes the ending in such a way that makes sense for the visual medium. It may not be as expertly written as Red Dragon, but it's much better than The Silence of the Lambs.