Hannibal by Thomas Harris
“A STUNNER … writing in language as bright and precise as a surgeon’s scalpel, Harris has created a world as mysterious as Hannibal’s memory palace and as disturbing as a Goya painting. This is one book you don’t want to read alone at night.”
—THE ATLANTA JOURNAL-CONSTITUTION
“RELENTLESS … ENDLESSLY TERRIFYING … 486 fast-paced pages, in which every respite is but a prelude to further furious action … Hannibal begins with a murderous paroxysm that leaves the reader breathless…. Hannibal speaks to the imagination, to the feelings, to the passions, to exalted senses and to debased ones. Harris’s voice will be heard for a while.”
—LOS ANGELES TIMES
“A WORK OF ART … You’ll eat up Hannibal…. There isn’t a wasted word … the last 100 pages are the best I’ve ever read in the thriller genre.”
—Larry King, USA TODAY
“The readers who have been waiting for Hannibal only want to know if it is as good as Red Dragon and The Silence of the Lambs. … It is a pleasure to reply in the negative. No, not as good. This one is better. It is, in fact, ONE OF THE TWO MOST FRIGHTENING POPULAR NOVELS OF OUR TIME, the other being The Exorcist…. Hannibal is really not a sequel at all, but rather the third and most satisfying part of one very long and scary ride through the haunted palace of abnormal psychiatry… Hannibal is a full-out unabashed horror novel…. I hope with all my heart that [Harris] will write again, and sooner rather than later—novels that bravely and cleverly erase the line between popular fiction and literature are very much to be prized.”
—Stephen King, THE NEW YORK TIMES BOOK REVIEW
“A TRULY SCARY BOOK … Harris writes with authority and a knack for detail, creating some memorably creepy scenes.”
“GOTHIC, FANTASTIC … FULL OF WONDERFUL TOUCHES.”
—INTERNATIONAL HERALD TRIBUNE
“A TRIUMPH of straightforward, smart prose. Not a word is wasted, not a thought is irrelevant. Harris is a master, and in Hannibal he reached, he stretched, and once again, he grabbed the prize.”
—DAYTON DAILY NEWS
“A pleasurable sense of dread.”
—THE WALL STREET JOURNAL
“CHILLING … HANNIBAL IS SCARY, SOMETIMES UNENDURINGLY SO … you hardly mark the moment when an entertaining novel becomes literature … a bizarre book, indeed, but enthrallingly so.”
—DAILY NEWS (New York)
“A magnificently gory page-turner.”
“The book takes off … into the stratosphere of fantasy, into Hannibal Lecter’s private world… A GRAND GUIGNOL ROMP … Yet there’s still a basso ostinato of serious questions, and the answers are darker than in Silence.”
“ALWAYS MESMERIZING … BRILLIANT, BIZARRE, AND ABSURD … This is a post-suspense novel, as much sardonic philosophical jest as Grand Guignol thriller…. Although renowned for his mastery of suspense, terror and dread, Harris saturates these pages with a surprising elixir: a fierce irony.”
“GRIPPING … A PAGE-TURNING MARVEL … AN INGENIOUS PLOT … Harris writes wonderfully here, with elegant poetic rhythms and much striking imagery.”
—MILWAUKEE JOURNAL SENTINEL
“DIABOLICALLY CLEVER … Harris serves up a feast in Hannibal…. He writes like an angel with the devil’s sense of humor…. The hypnotic blend of horror story and psychological thriller lifts crime fiction to sublime…. Hannibal is ghoulishly good fare.”
“A PAGE-TURNER … Harris works some surprising twists … [he] paces the action well.”
“A delightfully perverse book … Harris is still one of America’s best, most daring pop writers.”
—TIME OUT NEW YORK
“[A] DEVILISH TALE … EERILY REALISTIC AND CHILLINGLY VIVID FROM BEGINNING TO END. As Harris sketches his hideous scenarios, he allows us to color them in with our imaginations. But not overdoing it, he draws us in, practically making us conspirators in his macabre fantasy.”
—NEW YORK POST
“ENORMOUSLY SATISFYING … a smashing good time, turning the pages for thrills, chills, horror and finally, a bracing, deliciously wicked slap in the face … perhaps the very best the thriller/horror genre is capable of producing.”
—SAN DIEGO UNION-TRIBUNE
“It was worth waiting 11 years … Vivid details and crisp dialogue … Brilliantly intertwined and absolutely, unbelievably violent. It’s horrifying and breathtaking and so beautifully written that you’ll be tempted to read it in one sitting…. Harris has succeeded on every level with Hannibal…. We’re very much a part of the action, from first page until the last breathtaking chapter. The conclusion is one of the most startling I have ever read; it will knock your socks off.”
—THE KNOXVILLE NEWS-SENTINEL
“[A] PAGE-TURNER … I have read every word of Hannibal, most of them only twice, but some as many as five or six times.”
Also by Thomas Harris
THE SILENCE OF THE LAMBS
Other Books By This Author
Part I - Washington, D.C.
Part II - Florence
Part III - To the New World
Part IV - Notable Occasions on the Calendar of Dread
Part V - A Pound of Flesh
Part VI - A Long Spoon
You would think that such a day
would tremble to begin ….
CLARICE STARLING’S Mustang boomed up the entrance ramp at the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms on Massachusetts Avenue, a headquarters rented from the Reverend Sun Myung Moon in the interest of economy.
The strike force waited in three vehicles, a battered undercover van to lead and two black SWAT vans behind it, manned and idling in the cavernous garage.
Starling hoisted the equipment bag out of her car and ran to the lead vehicle, a dirty white panel van with MARCELL’S CRAB HOUSE signs stuck on the sides.
Through the open back doors of the van, four men watched Starling coming. She was slender in her fatigues and moving fast under the weight of her equipment, her hair shining in the ghastly fluorescent lights.
“Women. Always late,” a D.C. police officer said.
BATF Special Agent John Brigham was in charge.
“She’s not late—I didn’t beep her until we got the squeal,” Brigham said. “She must have hauled ass from Quantico— Hey, Starling, pass me the bag.”
She gave him a fast high five. “Hey, John.”
Brigham spoke to the scruffy undercover officer at the wheel and the van was rolling before the back doors closed, out into the pleasant fall afternoon.
Clarice Starling, a veteran of surveillance vans, ducked under the eyepiece of the periscope and took a seat in the back as close as possible to the hundred-fifty-pound block of dry ice that served as air-conditioning when they had to lurk with the engine turned off.
The old van had the monkey-house smell of fear and sweat that never scrubs out. It had borne many labels in its time. The dirty and faded signs on the doors were thirty minutes old. The bullet holes plugged with BondO were older.
The back windows were one-way mirror, appropriately tarnished. Starling could watch the big black SWAT vans following. She hoped they wouldn’t spend hours buttoned down in the vans.
The male officers looked her over whenever her face was turned to the window.
FBI Special Agent Clarice Starling, thirty-two, always looked her age and she always made that age look good, even in fatigues.
Brigham retrieved his clipboard from the front passenger seat.
“How come you always catch this crap, Starling?” he said, smiling.
“Because you keep asking for me,” she said.
“For this I need you. But I see you serving warrants on jump-out squads for Christ’s sake. I don’t ask, but somebody at Buzzard’s Point hates you, I think. You should come to work with me. These are my guys, Agents Marquez Burke and John Hare, and this is Officer Bolton from the D.C. Police Department.”
A composite raid team of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, the Drug Enforcement Administration SWAT teams and the FBI was the force-fit product of budget constraints in a time when even the FBI Academy was closed for lack of funding.
Burke and Hare looked like agents. The D.C. policeman, Bolton, looked like a bailiff. He was about forty-five, overweight and yeasty.
The Mayor of Washington, anxious to appear tough on drugs after his own drug conviction, insisted the D.C. police share credit for every major raid in the city of Washington. Hence, Bolton.
“The Drumgo posse’s cooking today,” Brigham said.
“Evelda Drumgo, I knew it,” Starling said without enthusiasm.
Brigham nodded. “She’s opened an ice plant beside the Feliciana Fish Market on the river. Our guy says she’s cooking a batch of crystal today. And she’s got reservations to Grand Cayman tonight. We can’t wait.”
Crystal methamphetamine, called “ice” on the street, provides a short powerful high and is murderously addictive.
“The dope’s DEA business but we need Evelda on interstate transportation of Class Three weapons. Warrant specifies a couple of Beretta submachine guns and some MAC l0s, and she knows where a bunch more are. I want you to concentrate on Evelda, Starling. You’ve dealt with her before. These guys will back you up.”
“We got the easy job,” Officer Bolton said with some satisfaction.
“I think you better tell them about Evelda, Starling,” Brigham said.
Starling waited while the van rattled over some railroad tracks. “Evelda will fight you,” she said. “She doesn’t look like it—she was a model—but she’ll fight you. She’s Dijon Drumgo’s widow. I arrested her twice on RICO warrants, the first time with Dijon.
“This last time she was carrying a nine-millimeter with three magazines and Mace in her purse and she had a balisong knife in her bra. I don’t know what she’s carrying now.
“The second arrest, I asked her very politely to give it up and she did. Then in DC. detention, she killed an inmate named Marsha Valentine with a spoon shank. So you don’t know … her face is hard to read. Grand jury found self-defense.
“She beat the first RICO count and pled the other one down. Some weapons charges were dropped because she had infant children and her husband had just been killed in the Pleasant Avenue drive-by, maybe by the Spliffs.
“I’ll ask her to give it up. I hope she will—we’ll give her a show. But—listen to me—if we have to subdue Evelda Drumgo, I want some real help. Never mind watching my back, I want some weight on her. Gentlemen, don’t think you’re going to watch me and Evelda mud-wrestling.”
There was a time when Starling would have deferred to these men. Now they didn’t like what she was saying, and she had seen too much to care.
“Evelda Drumgo is connected through Dijon to the Trey-Eight Crips,” Brigham said. “She’s got Crip security, our guy says, and the Crips are distributing on the coast. It’s security against the Spliffs, mainly. I don’t know what the Crips will do when they see it’s us. They don’t cross the G if they can help it.”
“You should know—Evelda’s HIV positive,” Starling said. “Dijon gave it to her off a needle. She found out in detention and flipped out. She killed Marsha Valentine that day and she fought the guards in jail. If she’s not armed and she fights, you can expect to get hit with whatever fluid she has to throw. She’ll spit and bite, she’ll wet and defecate on you if you try to pat her down, so gloves and masks are SOP. If you put her in a patrol car, when you put your hand on her head, watch out for a needle in her hair and secure her feet.”
Burke’s and Hare’s faces were growing long. Officer Bolton appeared unhappy. He pointed with his wattled chin at Starling’s main sidearm, a well-worn Colt .45 Government Model with a strip of skateboard tape on the grip, riding in a Yaqui slide behind her right hip. “You go around with that thing cocked all the time?” he wanted to know.
“Cocked and locked, every minute of my day,” Starling said.
“Dangerous,” Bolton said.
“Come out to the range and I’ll explain it to you, Officer.”
Brigham broke it up. “Bolton, I coached Starling when she was interservice combat pistol champion three years straight. Don’t worry about her weapon. Those guys from the Hostage Rescue Team, the Velcro Cowboys, what did they call you after you beat their ass, Starling? Annie Oakley?”
Starling felt pierced and lonesome in this goat-smelling surveillance van crowded with men. Chaps, Brut, Old Spice, sweat and leather. She felt some fear, and it tasted like a penny under her tongue. A mental image: her father, who smelled of tobacco and strong soap, peeling an orange with his pocketknife, the tip of the blade broken off square, sharing the orange with her in the kitchen. The taillights of her father’s pickup disappearing as he went off on the night-marshal patrol that killed him. His clothes in the closet. His square-dancing shirt. Some nice stuff in her closet now she never got to wear. Sad party clothes on hangers, like toys in the attic.
“About another ten minutes,” the driver called back.
Brigham looked out the windshield and checked his watch. “Here’s the layout,” he said. He had a crude diagram drawn hastily with a Magic Marker, and a blurry floor plan faxed to him by the Department of Buildings. “The fish market building is in a line of stores and warehouses along the riverbank. Parcell Street dead-ends into Riverside Avenue in this small square in front of the fish market.
“See, the building with the fish market backs on the water. They’ve got a dock back there that runs all along the back of the building, right here. Beside the fish market on the ground floor, that’s Evelda’s lab. Entrance here in front, just beside the fish market awning. Evelda will have the watchers out while she’s cooking the dope, at least three blocks around. They’ve tipped her before in time for her to flush her stuff. So—a regular DEA incursion team in the third van is going in from a fishing boat on the dock side at fifteen hundred hours. We can get closer than anybody in this van, right up to the street door a couple of minutes before the raid. If Evelda comes out the front, we get her. If she stays in, we hit this streetside door right after they hit the other side. Second van’s our backup, seven guys, they come in at fifteen hundred unless we call first.”