Falling somewhere between history, historical fiction and spy novel, An Officer and a Spy is a fact-based account of the Dreyfus Affair, one of the more troubling times of the French military. When Alfred Dreyfus is accused and convicted of treason, it takes the newly appointed head of the French spy division, Georges Picquart to ferret out the truth. Robert Harris is a master story-teller, and this book is surely a page turner. At times the story seems unbelievable, or, at best, inconceivable, but the reader has to remember that all the events did actually occur. A definite must for anyone who has read and enjoyed Harris or Jean le Carre, or who is interested in French history.
FBI agent-in-training Clarice Starling is just as surprised as anyone else when she is called upon to investigate the serial killer Buffalo Bill, who skins his female victims to create a wearable suit. After Starling finds no leads, FBI Director Jack Crawford directs her to request the incarcerated Dr. Hannibal “Hannibal the Cannibal” Lecter for aid. Dr. Lecter develops a personal bond with Starling, and offers her information in exchange for personal details about her early life. However, when a Senator’s daughter is kidnapped by Buffalo Bill, the stakes are raised, and suddenly Dr. Lecter becomes the single most important person in the case. Building upon its prequel, The Silence of the Lambs is an absolutely beautiful masterpiece that blends a relatable protagonist and a despised yet admired cannibal genius, alongside profound symbolism and a twisting plot. Silence of the Lambs is definitely a must for all mature young adults and older. – Akshay B. ’16
Retired FBI profiler Will Graham is sought out by Agent Jack Crawford after a serial killer referred to as “The Tooth Fairy” murders two families, each at a full moon. Unable to glean any insight from the crime scenes, Graham realizes that he must consult Dr. Hannibal Lecter in the Baltimore State Hospital for Criminally Insane. Three years ago, Graham captured Lecter, who later came to be known as “Hannibal the Cannibal,” but was nearly disemboweled by the killer and thus retired. Graham must now face his past with Dr. Lecter and remain level-headed whilst racing to catch the Tooth Fairy before the next full moon. Harris masterfully creates a sympathetic hero and villain, causing the reader to root for both sides. Full of surprises, exquisite detail, and enough gore for a week, fans of thriller and mystery will find Red Dragon an excellent choice for a pleasure-read. – Akshay B. ’16