I read this book about 10-Sep-2002. I've read this book before. The book is copyright 1981. This note was last modified Monday, 05-May-2014 22:10:17 PDT.
This is book 1 of the "Hannibal Lector" series.
This note does not contain major spoilers for the book.
An excellent and extremely disturbing book about some very unpleasant events and a few very unpleasant people. None of them without redeeming features. Really, really, excellent.
It's about a serial killer and the people who hunt him. The psycho has a vaguely believable background—I mean, who can really believe anything will break anybody that thoroughly? Yet people broken that thoroughly continue to turn up, so it must be possible.
The people who hunt him are more interesting, of course. Will Graham, in particular, is very well done, too good at getting inside other people's heads. He's not comfortable with some of the stuff he's able to understand. And, in a nice cameo, a very nice relationship with his stepson. Even if it's left in bad shape at the end of the book.
I like the combination of police procedural and psychological thriller; he pulls it off really well. Nobody looks shallow, events don't look arbitrary, gods do not arrive in machines.
It doesn't seem to me to be played for shock, for "splatter", but bits of it are gross and there is some gore. Playing it down too far wouldn't work given the subject matter.