- 18 Jul 19
“Ah!” you might think, “Thomas Harris? The guy who gave us Hannibal Lecter? A gripping thriller, surely?” Think again. The appeal of Lecter’s adventures – and 1981’s Red Dragon practically created its own genre - were largely due to Harris’ skill in creating a character who was genuinely disturbing but also strangely likeable, despite his questionable culinary choices. Perhaps conscious of that fact, he aims for similar terrain here, but falls well short. Bear in mind that it has been thirteen years since his last publication, and that was the barely-passable - and apparently written under duress - Hannibal Rising. If someone told you he knocked this out last weekend, you might well believe them.
As in Silence Of The Lambs we get a female lead in the titular heroine - a former child soldier haunted by bad memories who is now a house cleaner in Miami and another weirdo in liquid cremation machine owning bad egg Hans-Peter Schneider who singularly fails to engender Gumb or Dolarhyde-level uneasiness - but that’s where the similarities end.
The plot as it is revolves around a booby-trapped safe under Pablo Escobar’s old house, which may or may not contain some of the late powder purveyor’s ill-gotten gains. Jesús Villarreal stirs up trouble by selling this info to both the Ten Bells gang and the hairless albino amputator Schneider.
This is a lazily written series of clichéd episodes – there’s a lot of dodgy Latino types and the writing makes it difficult to tell them apart, although most of them don’t get to hang around too long anyway – swirling towards a dénouement showdown between Cari and Schneider, but you’ll have lost interest long before that. It’s hard to believe we’re talking about the same Thomas Harris. Disappointing.