From the creator of Hannibal Lecter and The Silence of the Lambs comes a story of evil, greed, and the consequences of dark obsession.
Twenty-five million dollars in cartel gold lies hidden beneath a mansion on the Miami Beach waterfront. Ruthless men have tracked it for years. Leading the pack is Hans-Peter Schneider. Driven by unspeakable appetites, he makes a living fleshing out the violent fantasies of other, richer men.
Cari Mora, caretaker of the house, has escaped from the violence in her native country. She stays in Miami on a wobbly Temporary Protected Status, subject to the iron whim of ICE. She works at many jobs to survive. Beautiful, marked by war, Cari catches the eye of Hans-Peter as he closes in on the treasure. But Cari Mora has surprising skills, and her will to survive has been tested before.
Monsters lurk in the crevices between male desire and female survival. No other writer in the last century has conjured those monsters with more terrifying brilliance than Thomas Harris. Cari Mora, his sixth novel, is the long-awaited return of an American master.
Librarian Note: There is more than one author in the Goodreads database with this name.
Thomas Harris began his writing career covering crime in the United States and Mexico, and was a reporter and editor for the Associated Press in New York City. His first novel, Black Sunday, was printed in 1975, followed by Red Dragon in 1981, The Silence of the Lambs in 1988, Hannibal in 1999, and Hannibal Rising in 2006.
Gourmand serial killer Hannibal Lecter may be off the menu, but now his creator, Thomas Harris, has added a new dish of terror. “Cari Mora” is Harris’s first novel since “Hannibal Rising” appeared 13 years ago. Fans of his earlier best-selling books — and the movies and TV shows wrung from them — will taste familiar ingredients in “Cari Mora,” along with a touch of Stieg Larsson’s “Girl With the Dragon Tattoo” and even a dash of Carl Hiaasen’s Florida zaniness. But the whole thing would definitely go better with some fava beans.
The story is mostly a snooze: not so much “The Silence of the Lambs” as The Counting of the Sheep. It opens in Biscayne Bay at a mansion once owned by the late Colombian drug lord Pablo Escobar. After passing through the hands of playboys, filmmakers and speculators, this fabled house now sits unused, filled with monster mannequins, slasher-movie props, an electric chair from Sing Sing and something called “sex furniture,” which I must ask about the next time I go to Ikea.
Only one person has the nerve to work as a caretaker of this old house of horrors: a beautiful immigrant named Cari Mora. At the age of 11, Cari was. . . .
Two it cannot be true I waited for 13 years and got this boring, predictable book with worst plot reminds you of low budgeted action movies stars!
As soon as I hear, one of the greatest thriller writers is back with a new book, I started to dance and raise my punch in the air while I was screaming “Yess!”. Well, when I start flipping the pages, my punch was still raised in the air but this time , it was punching an invisible man ( actually I was imagining the writer on my head, because I was so pissed off when I see missing potentials and opportunities and this book is totally both of them)
We meet Hans Peter Schneider, a serial killer, sadistic, dangerous man but there is nothing sophisticated or intriguing about him( if you compare him with Hannibal, he’s Disney character and worst copycat, only interesting thing he shares name with Hans Gruber/ all time best villain 😊)rents the house on Miami Waterfront was once owned by notorious Pablo Escobar,for finding millions of dollars of buried gold.
The house caretaker Cari Mora, tormented but tough heroine, escaped from violent past, is still scared of being sent back to her native country.
When I expect more Chianti and fava beans, I didn’t even get a Cuban cigar. Because vague and graphic parts weren’t terrifying, they were just distasteful!
From the beginning, I waited to see more action, more complications, anything witty, smart, surprising but I got none of them. I got bored and wanted to take an early Siesta break because I couldn’t stop my yawning ! Dull and pointless characterization, a storyline loses its own way and finishes predictably.
Well Hans- Cari’s only similarities with Hannibal and Clarice are the first letters of their names. They are never gonna have memorable, creepy , blood freezing prey and hunter kinda relationship !
1 star . . . maybe 1.5 because the climax was okay . . .
I read through many other reviews of this book before starting my review. I have taken a lot of guff on at least one of my 1-star reviews in the past, so since I was feeling another 1-star review, I knew I should probably tread carefully. In this case, it seems like the majority agree with me.
In at least one of the positive reviews I read it was mentioned that maybe memories of Silence of the Lambs was causing too much of a comparison and, thus, led to generally negative reviews. I like to think I went into this not expecting more of the same. If anything, I think it is more of a pre-conception of how I feel about Harris as an author. In this case, I have read Harris books I loved and Harris books I couldn’t stand, so I guess I was figuring anything goes!
I will stress that I did not look at reviews of this before reading, so I was not influenced by bad reviews. In fact, the only thing I heard about it was from a person who liked it. So, by the time I was about 2/3 of the way through and thought the book was not good, I figured I would be in the minority of thinking this. Imagine my surprise when I went to Goodreads and saw an average review of 2.89 stars! (as of August 11th, 2019) So, I was going into this review feeling the same as many! As much as I don’t like to celebrate 1 star reviews, I am glad to have some company.
From the very beginning I was not invested in the story at all. The beginning of the book must hook me and at least get me interested. I don’t care how unusual, bizarre, or hard to follow it becomes after that. Once I am hooked, I can then figure out if I am headed towards a low star or high star rating. In this case, Harris just kept throwing out rotten bait and I just kept swimming around the boat looking for something tantalizing. A couple of times I thought I finally got a really juicy nightcrawler, but then it fell of the hook, so I just kept on swimming. I mentioned earlier the climax was okay – maybe by then I was tired of swimming and just finally gave up and let a moderately-tasty morsel pull me in because I could sense the end was in sight. Needless to say, I hope my next excursion looking for a hook gets me pulled on board right away!
I’d give this zero stars if I could - what an unbearably tedious load of twaddle Thomas Harris’ new novel, Cari Mora, was!
Cari Mora is the caretaker of a house on the Miami waterfront that used to belong to Pablo Escobar. Unbeknownst to her, there’s millions of dollars of gold buried somewhere on the property and bad guys, including psychopathic Hans-Peter Schneider, are after it - which means she’s in the way and has to go. But, of course, Cari is no pushover - let battle commence!
I don’t know how a writer as experienced and talented as Harris could’ve made such a dog’s dinner of a seemingly straightforward story, but he completely bungles the execution. It’s an unfocused and unnecessarily complicated narrative with awkward scene transitions (random flashbacks to the past) and too many pointless details that slow an already sedate narrative down to an interminably glacial pace.
A lot of the time it’s confusing and unclear what’s happening and why, and it’s always, always uninteresting! It amounts to one set of dull wafer-thin characters vs another set with a predictable conclusion - duuuh, d’you think the obviously “good” character prevails against the obviously “evil” character? Yuh huh!
And that’s the other thing: the cast are a bunch of vaguely-written nobodies. Cari and Hans-Peter are bargain basement Clarice and Hannibal stand-ins while the rest - of which there are way too many, particularly as none of them are important anyway - may as well be called Stock Detective Character and Stock FBI Agent Character; that’s how memorable they are!
Cari Mora fails across the board. Badly written, boring beyond belief, and a total waste of time, I can’t believe this is the same writer that gave us The Silence of the Lambs - what a difference 30 years makes, eh?
I went into Thomas Harris's latest novel, Cari Mora, with no expectations, and found that I really enjoyed reading it. Set in Miami, Florida, a multi-million mansion home on Biscayne Bay used to belong to criminal drug lord, Pablo Escobar, and according to the now dying Jesus Villareal, buried in the basement is 25 million dollars of cartel gold, sought by the monstrously evil and depraved Hans-Peter Schneider, a human trafficking, organ harvesting psychopath, with a business fulfilling the desires of deranged rich men. A Columbian mob boss, Don Ernesto Ibarra, known by the tabloids as Don Teflon, has his eyes on the gold too, with Benito, the gardener, ex-marine Antonio and Captain Marco working for him.
The beautiful Cari Mora with her scars on her arms, accompanied by her rather vocal cockatoo, works a multitude of jobs, one of which is as caretaker of Escobar's mansion, now rented out by Felix the agent to Schneider, in the guise of making a horror movie. The moment Schneider eyes Cari, he has nefarious plans for her, plans that become a obsession for him. What he is unaware of is that Cari is a survivor, she was taken to become a child soldier for FARC in Columbia, to eventually end up in Miami, with dreams of being a veterinarian with her love of birds and animals, but hampered by her Temporary Protected Status and fear of ICE. She knows she is in danger on meeting Schneider, and his motley crew, refusing to stay at the mansion, despite the pressure being put on her to do so by Felix. When Miami Dade Homicide cop, DS Terry Robles warns her Schneider is coming for her, he asks her to help them catch him.
I think for readers who go into this novel with expectations of another Red Dragon or The Silence of the Lambs, disappointment beckons. I really liked the character of Cari, fulfilling family care responsibilities, desiring her own home and wanting to be free to become a vet, she just needs to find the opportunities and money to attain her dreams. The serpent in her Florida paradise, threatening to take her and ruin her life is Schneider, culminating in Cari's ultimate fight for her survival. This is an enjoyable and entertaining read, of greed, violence, horror and brutality, likely to be appreciated by those readers who do not expect Harris to present them with similar storytelling from his past canon. Many thanks to Random House Cornerstone for an ARC.
I can't stave off my suspicion that this was written by some randomized neuro network choosing words at random just to follow it up with combining them into random phrases. I'm not sure how a human is supposed to read it. Or have written it.
A supremely boring novel about something or other... I won't be bothered finding out, of what exactly. A bunch of dudes keep stumbling about and raving about stuff and having the dullest ever adventures of the kind that induce sleep in 3...2...1...zzZZZ!
The only plotline that makes any kind of sense is the line of Cari and her child soldier background. And even that was undercooked. The rest is all over the place in just the way that the best chapter is about some croco's digestion. I'm not kidding: Q: The crocodile, pleasantly full, swam south, submerging whenever a boat came by. She was a fourteen-foot saltwater crocodile and she spent part of her time in the Everglades eating juvenile Burmese pythons and the odd muskrat and nutria, but she preferred the salt bay of the South Bay Country Club, where she basked on land near the golf course fairway. ... Crocodiles, unable to chew, must eat large creatures in chunks after they have decomposed and softened. But Chihuahuas can be swallowed whole, as can corgis, Lhasa apsos and shih tzus. They can be eaten fresh without having to soften in a larder, such as the one the crocodile maintained beneath the Escobar house. Other than Felix, the crocodile had eaten only one human, a drunk who fell off a boat full of drunks and was not missed at the time or ever accounted for or mourned. She had a buzz for perhaps an hour after eating him. The crocodile did not dwell on eating humans, but with her prodigious memory for food and the locations of food, she did recall how refreshingly free humans were of hair and feathers and tough hide and horns and beaks and hooves. Unlike a pelican, which is more trouble than it is worth. Dog owners with their shorts and their plump white legs, sneaking along briskly in the gloaming following their pets, were attractive to her and they could not see very well as the light failed. It only called for patience. The crocodile suffered some small discomfort in the night passing Felix’s headlamp, and left it beside the fairway, to the puzzlement of the grounds-keepers. (c)
Q: A progression of lights on and off up through the house as Cari made her way through the mannequins, the crouching movie monsters, the seventeen-foot Mother Alien from the Planet Zorn to reach her bedroom at the top of the stairs. (c) What?
Q: He sat naked on a stool in the center of his tiled shower room, letting the many nozzles on the walls beat water on him from all directions. He was singing in his German accent: “… just singing in the rains. What a glorious feeling, I am haaaappy again.” He could see his reflection in the glass side of his liquid cremation machine where he was dissolving Karla, a girl who hadn’t worked out for business. In the rising mist Hans-Peter’s image on the glass looked like a daguerreotype. He struck the pose of Rodin’s The Thinker and watched himself out of the corner of his eye. A faint smell of lye rose with the steam. Interesting to see himself as The Thinker reflected on the glass, while behind the glass, in the tank, Karla’s bones were beginning to stand up out of the paste the corrosive lye water had made of the rest of her. The machine rocked, sloshing fluid back and forth. The machine burped and bubbles came up. Hans-Peter was very proud of his liquid cremation machine.... If a girl did not work out, Hans-Peter could just pour her down the loo in liquid form—and with no harmful effect on the groundwater. (c) Bogey-crematorium villain served.
Q: She did not blink. The black pupils of her eyes had the smudge of intelligence. (c) Quite a smudge, it must have been.
What I hated is that this is all pretty much a recipe for making some or other boring film. See this: Q: Two men talking in the middle of the night. They are 1,040 miles apart. One side of each face is lit by a cell phone. They are two half-faces talking in the dark. “I can get the house where you say it is. Tell me the rest, Jesús.” The reply is faint through a crackle of static. “You paid one-fourth of what you promised.” Puff-puff. “Send me the rest of the money. Send it to me.” Puff-puff. “Jesús, if I find what I want with no more help from you, you will receive nothing from me never.” “That is truer than you know. That’s the truest thing you ever said in your life.” Puff-puff. “What you want is sitting on fifteen kilos of Semtex…if you find it without my help you will be splattered on the moon.” “My arm is long, Jesús.” “It won’t reach down from the moon, Hans-Pedro.” “My name is Hans-Peter, as you know.” “You’d put your hand on your peter if your arm was long enough? Is that what you said? I don’t want your personal information. Quit wasting time. Send the money.” The connection is broken. Both men lie staring into the dark. Hans-Peter Schneider is in a berth aboard his long black boat off Key Largo. He listens to a woman sobbing on the V-berth in the bow. He imitates her sobs. He is a good mimic. His own mother’s voice comes out of his face, calling the crying woman’s name. “Karla? Karla? Why are you crying, my dear child? It’s just a dream.” (c) This is how it all starts and... it goes on and on and on... Is it just me being lazy or is some serious rambling around happening in here? Gosh. I wish there was more infodumping on crocodiles instead.
I haven't the slightest idea of how I'm supposed to rate it. I sorely miss the negative stars.
This Harris' book was a bit of a tour de force and I didn't like it the way I liked his other books. A gold treasure buried somewhere in the former house of Pablo Escobar and some crooks trying to get it. The baddest crook is Hans-Peter Schneider, a sadistic German who once studied medicine and sells organs, Don Ernesto, Jesus, Capt. Marco. Everybody tries to get his share, some die. Then you have mysterious former FARQ fighter Cari Mora. Can she survive the story? Is she able to get the gold? There were too many characters involved, too much Spanish spoken (maybe his target readers should speak Spanish here), the frame story was a bit simple (gold buried in a difficult way in a house) and the chapters read a bit long winded. You can read this book, no question, but watching it as a movie would be the better option. Not completely bad, but different to Harris' other books, with a bad guy that reminded me a bit on Pendergast (maybe Harris wanted to give a satire on that character). That is a contemporary novel with many old school ingredients (descriptions of weapons, music...). But to me it didn't really take off. If you're interested in South America/Mexico and crime stories based around related stuff you might take a peak. If not, there are better page turners out.
With CARI MORA Thomas Harris does what he does best - takes us on a spine-tingling, edge-of-your-seat ride steeped in intrigue and nail-biting suspense. You will not sleep. You will not eat. This book screams to be devoured in one sitting.
“Pulse pounding thriller” I CANNOT BELIEVE THOSE WORDS WERE USED TO DESCRIBE THIS BOOK!!! Yes, I’m yelling a’la Annie Wilkes!!! No, just no. I was soooo looking forward to this book, how is it the same author from Silence of Lambs wrote this caca-doodie!?!! Needless to say I am gravelly disappointed. (I think this is the first 1 star book of this year.)
I can't believe I waited thirteen years for the author who inspired my love of writing and reading and serial killers to reenter my life only put me to fucking sleep.
I'm so sorry Mr. Harris, but girl what is you doing?
Beneath an unoccupied Miami Beach mansion that used to belong to Colombian drug lord Pablo Escobar, rumour has it there are millions of dollars in gold. Two men are in a race to get to the gold first. Don Ernesto, a Colombian mob boss, and Hans-Peter Schneider, a depraved "business" German sausage who kills women and sells their body parts to wealthy buyers to satisfy whatever their particular fetish or hobby is. That's a class system statement right there.
Cari Mora is an immigrant and the caretaker for the mansion. To Ernesto and Hans-Peter, Cari is in the way and needs to go.
Okay, so that's basically an amazing-sounding story. It's got everything, hidden treasure, dead drug lords, the mafia, a heroine who is vying for the title of the newest Badass Female in Fiction, sex furniture and a demented body parts smuggler who really enjoys the murder-y part of his work.
So, please, take a moment to register my utter shock and heartbreak that this book was boring AF.
The only decent chapter was one told from the perspective of an alligator that was having digestive issues after eating a person. And honestly, that chapter made no sense in context with the rest of the novel. So, honestly, wtf?
Some other quick points: There were too many characters and they were 100% not required and only served to muddy up the plot waters.
Cari Mora as a character is so disappointing. It's like the author forgot to finish writing her.
There has only ever been one good villain named Hans, so don't even bother.
The pacing of this was so goddamn sedate that you might as well stick it in a pill bottle and prescribe it to insomnia sufferers.
The plot was actually very linear and didn't involve anything that could be described as climactic or unexpected. But at the same time, the narrative is complicated and hard to follow? And also totally uninteresting?? So, I guess props for confusing me with how that contradiction is possible.
I don't understand how Thomas Harris could actually be the author behind this novel. What is happening?! I blame Trump. It's this goddamn multiverse we slipped into in 2016 where nothing makes sense and Nazis are chillin'.
I'm about to go all Annie Wilkes up in here.
I love Thomas Harris dearly, and that's why this is getting two stars instead of one.
Cari Mora, the most recent brain child of famed writer Thomas Harris, does 2 things brilliantly: it confuses the reader, and it bores the reader.
There are so many flimsy character connections and even flimsier motives behind the characters' actions that I didn't know what the hell the novel was trying to be. Crime novel? Thriller? Psycho-thriller? Horror? Historical fiction? Nature pamphlet? Miami vacation tour brochure? We are introduced to so many characters, with almost no character development for any of them, that I couldn't remember to which team each of them belonged, nor who was the bad guy or good guy half the time.
I'm not entirely sure what point Cari had in even being in the story, other than to be a half-assed attempt by Harris at constructing a successful heroine on par with Sterling in Silence of the Lambs. She is given bizarre, choppy flashbacks which are supposed to give us some insight into why she is the way that she is - but it fails, because Harris forgets to tell the reader just who the hell Cari Mora is supposed to be. Why is she there? What's her purpose? What's her motive for anything? Because I'm not believing her past as having any connection to her present-day motives. Her character might have made sense if handled more carefully, and/or if it had been fleshed out. She's interesting...ish, but only if the writer does her story justice. Her story felt lazily done, as though Harris wanted us to care about her, maybe even cry over her, but didn't want to actually put in the work to get the reader to that point.
Then there was Hans Whomever: the villain that wasn't. I don't even really know what to say other than I have no idea if he was there for the gold, or to murder people, or to kidnap Cari, or to get his jollies off, or to....whatever. I just am not sure. One thing is for sure: he ain't no Hannibal. Not scary. Not creepy. Not really anything.
By far the most interesting character in this novel was the random crocodile, which even got its own brief chapter of about 3 pages near the latter portion of the book. Also some of the birds. The birds are nice. Tweet tweet.
The chapters were also confusing. The locations were sometimes unclear to me, though I was sometimes quite bored so I might have been zoning in and out. This might be surprising; at first glance, you'd think that a 300+ page book has plenty of room to fully flesh out an interesting story. Not this kind of story, nosiree. There's too much back story and too much historical significance to a lot of it to just gloss over the way Harris did. This book could have been 200 pages longer, maybe more, and then it might have been good. Also, don't be fooled into believing for a second that this book is a legitimate 300 pages - the font is so large it reminds me of those times in university when I'd increase my font size to make my essay a couple pages longer. I'd be surprised if this was even a 250 page manuscript, then suddenly became 300+ when they increased the font size from 12 to 16. Oh, and also added a blank page in between each of the chapters, which were only like 3 pages each to begin with.
It wasn't all bad, though. It had some good moments. Some of the action-y moments were good, but too short-lived. I'd have liked more of that. It was just missing complex characters; what we got were cardboard cutout characters and an anti-climatic conclusion. Typical Good, Typical Bad, and finally, Typical Ending. It felt lazily composed of, hastily published. Apart from the beautiful book jacket, there's not too much going on here.
Perhaps in time, and with distance, this book will improve in my head. I've also rounded up, cuz I just feel bad giving it 1 star.
Cari is the caretaker of a property in Biscayne Bay, Miami whose previous owner was Pablo Escobar. It’s been empty a while though is leased to film companies but it could be yours if you’ve got a cool $27 million in your back pocket. What makes the house even more valuable is that it’s reputed to contain a hidden stash of gold left there by one of Escobar's minions. There’s a race to acquire it by the Ten Bells organisation of Don Ernesto Ibarra (Don Teflon) and a rival group led by psychotic Paraguayan Hans-Peter Schneider. The rivals will stop at nothing to prevent the other from succeeding in the race for gold.
One of the positives of the book is the character of Cari who is totally underestimated by Schneider who has nefarious plans for her. What he doesn’t know is that Cari was conscripted into the paramilitary group FARC in Colombia as one of their child soldiers. Like many of those poor children she grew up the hard way and through it she developed survival skills and is more than capable of using what she learned. She is fazed by very little. The premise of the novel is good, the setting on the Miami waterfront provides an interesting backdrop too. There are parts of the story that are quite exciting and it’s certainly gritty in places.
However, following a quickening of the pace there will then be a section that is plodding, a bit sedentary and your interest wanes. There are so many interruptions to include detail that is unnecessary and somewhat mundane. There are so many characters to work out that it makes your heard spin and ache with the effort! Hans-Peter should have made your flesh crawl but he didn’t give me the shivers like Hannibal Lecter did. Some of his dialogue and expressions made him look ridiculous so his evil deeds get reduced in impact.
Overall, I certainly didn’t hate it but neither did I love it. It’s a quick read but it’s uneven pace, convoluted plot, over burdened characters made a really good premise result in a middle of the road book. Cari is the shining light of the novel and I would really like to see her feature in a follow up but hopefully one that does the potential of her character justice.
Many thanks to NetGalley and Bloomsbury Press for a copy of the book in return for an honest review.
Ugh. I bought a copy with Harris’ signature in it from B&N. If not for the neat autograph, I’d ask for my money back. The best thing about this book was the cover. Someone needed to pay-off a mortgage, a mistress, or send their kid to Harvard. I feel like I did when I was a kid and saw Tom Clancey jump the shark. It is so bad, it makes me question all his other books a bit.
For a brilliant writer thirteen years of silence should have produced a better book. This wasn’t the disaster that other reviews had promised. I think with Thomas Harris there were expectations that a lot of previously successful authors feel when they decide to write something completely new, many years later. Cari Mora wasn’t hard to get through, but it was hard to get into.
I was so torn on what to rate this book. On one hand—well, it’s Thomas Harris…….but on the other hand—nothing can compare to the iconic Hannibal Lecter, and it’s silly to even try. Alas….
Cari Mora is the caretaker of an old mansion, notoriously known as previously belonging to drug kingpin Pablo Escobar. Living in Miami Beach, Cari is trying to stay under the radar and out of trouble. Years ago, she fled to the United States to escape her life as a child soldier, and has had wobbly immigration status ever since. Hans-Peter Schneider does bad deeds for even worse people, including the kidnapping and selling of young women to the highest bidder. When he spots Cari Mora, he knows that she will be his next target and when he discovers the infamous house she is responsible for (and what possibly lies underneath it), he sees an oppourtunity he can’t turn down.
“Cari Mora” is fast-paced and page-turning. Small chapters make this novel a quick read, but if you are expecting another The Silence of the Lambs, prepare for disappointment.
Cari herself is a great character, tough as nails and ready to take down anyone who gets in her way. She is the ultimate female phoenix- rising from the ashes of a horrible background and trying to start her life anew. Hans-Peter is also eerily intriguing, for all of his disturbing flaws. Obviously, there are some similarities to Hannibal Lecter, and these comparisons make him even more appealing. These two characters aside, there is a large cast of back up characters (with Latin names) , that are exceptionally difficult to keep track of. One group of criminals is on Cari’s side, and another group is against Cari (and both are after the gold under Pablo’s house), and a good portion of time is spent trying to determine which is which and who is who.
I was desperate for more Hans-Peter. The snippets we get of him (and his gory deeds) do not nearly satisfy. The extraneous gold-hunting characters could have been completely eradicated, and more of the historical development of Hans-Peter would have made this novel a full-blown five stars.
That being said, this novel was short and I was able to read it in a day. It was interesting enough that I wanted to find out how it resolved (and was not disappointed) , and Harris has a creative (if not choppy) writing style that is all his own.
On its own, this novel is worth exploring for those who like gold-hunting, murderous gang novels, with just a hint of psychopathy. Compared to The Silence of the Lambsand Hannibal, it will leave you disappointed, but those are two novels that leave one hell of an impression and any author would have difficulty writing anything anywhere near comparable.
Just finished reading this in two days, and, yes, it's pretty good, indeed. A total page turner. Harris has the ability to share just enough info with the reader to keep them thinking and guessing, all the while weaving plot lines together till they ultimately cross and come together in a moment near epiphany (but closer to an "a ha")!
IDK how or where Harris does his research (Experience vs the Dark/Deep Web?!?) but he not only gets into the minds of organized global serial killers but also knows their means and ways, their techniques and correspondences, their very sharp, honed skills of survival. Riveting, upsetting, and to be seriously concered about, believe that.
Thomas Harris.... what happened? This book was boring all the way through, populated with uninteresting characters doing uninteresting things... I don’t really understand what happened and how 13 years of not writing produced this book but I would rather it hadn’t been published...
I Loved Cari Mora. She is a beautiful, courageous, smart and true bad-ass main character as well as the title of Thomas Harris's new novel- his first in 13 years. Cari is a born survivor. She is living in Miami, working multiple jobs, and surviving. She is the house care taker for a Miami beach mansion, which buried beneath lies millions of dollars in cartel gold. Pure evil, cold blooded, Hans-Peter Schneider is the leader of a group of ruthless men that have been tracking the gold. However, Cari is a survivor and Hans-Peter doesn't know what he is up against when he starts after Cari. This is a heart-stopping, hold your breath thriller that can't be missed.
The good news is that this is a quick read. The bad news is everything else. I just can't believe this was written by the same Thomas Harris who wrote Silence of the Lambs and Red Dragon. It seemed, to me, to be more of an outline or rough draft for a novel. I wondered if he had felt pressure to publish something quickly and had a really crappy editor who let an incomplete book make it to the shelves believing that his reputation was enough to make it a hot summer read. The characters were complex, but not fully fleshed out, not even the title character. The bad guy (the "worst guy"? The book has a lot of unsavory characters) comes across as an over-the-top cartoon-like villain who was almost laughable in his depravity.
If you are stranded on a deserted island, this could help you kill some time until help arrives. Or, just enjoy the view while you wait.
I don’t get it. Weak plot and character development. Confusing scene switching. Introduce new characters just to kill them off, in the most gruesome ways. Dumb dumb dumb. I can’t help but wonder what a publisher would do if an unknown would have turned in this terrible mess of a book?
I simply do not understand the polarizing reviews for this book. I really liked it, even though I have enjoyed some of Harris’s other work better. I’m better at lists than full-fledged reviews so here is a list of some of the things that I love about this book (as well as my few qualms):
1. This book is, on the surface, a crime/thriller novel, yet the true heart of this book is the city of Miami, richly detailed and described by Harris throughout. Much like the object of conflict, I could almost feel the golden rays of sunshine and the heat of the Miami sun. This is Harris’s love letter to the city he has resided in for many years now, and his love shows on every page.
2. The soul of the book, and a noticeable concern of the author, is the plight of illegal immigrants in the United States. Cari’s story, slowly revealed, is heartbreaking and the best part of the book, and made me sympathize for her even more.
3. The writing style. Harris’s recognizable short, yet incredibly atmospheric prose is on full display throughout the book. At times I felt his prose style was a bit clunky, with short simple sentences and repetition of certain words, but I think Harris was aiming to make the book move at a quick, almost cinematic pace. This book was written almost like an Ellroyvian crime novel, with short bursts of dialogue and action, and I think it works for the most part.
4. Character development was a bit of a mess. While the titular main character and the main antagonist are relatively well fleshed out, the development of many of the secondary characters is missing, making it difficult to relate or care for them.
5. Hans-Peter Schneider is a meh villain. Sex-traffickers are absolutely terrifying to me, but Hans-Peter sometimes comes off as a goofy character, a villain almost Disney-movie bad. He resembles Hannibal in some aspects, yet Hannibal is far more intriguing. I wish Hans-Peter was more interesting, and that Harris had approached the villain in this book differently than he has multiple villains before.
Did I love Cari Mora? Somewhat. The plot was interesting, and I couldn’t put the book down for many reasons, none of which I want to spoil here. There are problems with it, but I am so happy that it was published and would love to read more about Cari, just preferably not have to wait 13 years for a sequel.
3 golden stars.
(My original rating was 3.5 rounded to 4 but I believe it really deserves 3.)
I have now lowered my rating yet again. I cannot shake the feeling that this book could have been so much more than it ultimately was. The greatest disappointment I have felt towards a book in recent memory.
Harris's books explore the mindset of killers - from would-be mass murderers to deranged serial killers - and his latest novel, Cari Mora, is no exception. A search for Pablo Escobar's hidden gold draws together a number of killers; some who kill for money, some who kill for pleasure, and some who kill to survive. Harris explores the differences in these killers, much as he did in the Hannibal Lecter series in which he pondered what causes a person to cross the line and become a serial killer. Unfortunately, the book is not as well written as the early books in the Hannibal Lecter series, and - like the widely panned Hannibal Rising - feels rushed and abbreviated at times, lacking the polish of Red Dragon and The Silence of the Lambs. Still, for Harris fans, there is a lot to enjoy here, especially after the bumpy first few chapters.
“The wind off the bay was full of ghosts tonight — young men and women and children who had lived or died in her arms….other nights the wind batted lightly at her like the memory of a kiss, of eyelashes brushing her face, sweet breath on her neck” (12).
Thirteen years. It is impossible to NOT be overly excited when one of my favorite authors of all time announces a new book after a little over a decade. I pre-ordered. I waited. It was to be set in a different world than Lecter, but that was fine. I loved Black Sunday, too. And then it was here, delivered on release day. YES!! The review that follows is my honest reaction to reading this newest from Harris: part joy, part disappointment, and a bit of bewilderment.
"From Thomas Harris, the writer of The Silence of The Lambs", the promotional materials blare at you. You'd never know it based on this tepid thriller. I hadn't liked Harris' previous novel Hannibal Rising. Thought it was a basic prequel with no real reason to exist. Was looking forward to Cari Mora thinking Rising was just a glitch and Harris would return to form. I was wrong.
While Cari is a terrific character, she isn't given much to do while the plot starts and sputters all around her. You keep waiting for the novel to get better and then you realize you have no more pages left. You'd be better off rereading Red Dragon or Silence again.
I wish I could put into words what a disappointment this book was. I loved "Red Dragon" and "Silence of the Lambs" ,so I was looking forward to this book. It was flat with little or no character development. The "villain" was rather lame,the writing and storytelling disjointed,it lacked smooth transitions. Overall,I wish I had borrowed instead of purchased.
I enjoyed this book. It had a fast moving plot and was entertaining from beginning to end. That said, I understand why many people didn't like it. For a Thomas Harris novel, this book was an easy, simple read. Outside of our main character, Cari Mora, the character development was lackluster. While Harris doesn't release many books, he's certainly set a high level of expectations, and this one was no where close to the quality of his earlier work. If we had to rank his novels in order of quality, this one is definitely on the bottom.
I understand a writer will change over time. He is no longer the same man who gave us a masterpiece in Silence of the Lambs. I try to read every book as if I've never heard of the author before, and in that sense, this book is an entertaining and well-written story. He certainly hasn't lost his touch for beautiful prose. If you can enter this read without any expectations, then I think you'll enjoy it as well!