Wednesday, April 5, 2023

Cari Mora by Thomas Harris

I have read four previous novels written by Thomas Harris, Red Dragon, The Silence of the Lambs, Hannibal, and Hannibal Rising. All four novels I enjoyed reading tremendously.

In early 2019, I was thrilled to learn that Thomas Harris had written a new novel titled, Cari Mora, to be published in May 2019. This would be the first novel published by Thomas Harris since 2006. Additionally, Cari Mora would not feature the infamous character, Hannibal Lecter. Needless to say, I was initially excited about the impending release of Cari Mora and looked forward to reading this novel when it debuted.

Upon the release of Cari Mora, the reviews were less than stellar for this novel. In fact, it seemed like most reviewers didn't care much for Cari Mora at all and that seems to be putting it mildly. Because of the lackluster reception for Cari Mora, I decided to take a hard pass on reading this novel and moved on to reading other books instead... That is until this year when my curiosity got the better of me. I purchased the eBook edition of Cari Mora from Amazon on sale.

After reading the first 20% of Cari Mora, I was left wondering if I should continue reading it or not. The writing wasn't engrossing in the least. In fact, I found Cari Mora very lackluster. Cari Mora contained too many characters to keep track of initially. I also felt like the writing style wasn't living up to what I expected from Thomas Harris, which left me seriously wondering if Mr. Harris had lost his writing mojo altogether.

I decided to push forward and read a few more chapters of Cari Mora to see if things picked up. I'm glad I finished reading Cari Mora. However, it wasn't a great read and definitely not one of the author's finest works of writing, in my opinion. 

Cari Mora, the main character, is a strong female character and has lived a difficult life. As a child, Cari was kidnapped and trained (brainwashed really) to work as a child soldier in Colombia before arriving in the US on a Temporary Protected Status. Since Cari's arrival in the US, she has lived in limbo trying to make the best of her precarious resident status. I would have loved to see more character development with Cari Mora. With the exception of the last two chapters and another chapter earlier in the novel showcasing Cari's life as a child soldier, she felt very two dimensional overall.

Additionally, the main bad guy, Hans-Peter Schneider, was freaky weird and more of a 'caricature' bad guy... Yes, Hans-Peter Schneider is pure evil, but just plain weird. Again, think two dimensional... Hans-Peter Schneider just seemed hollow to me. Whereas the character of Hannibal Lecter is so well developed by Thomas Harris. It just left me wondering what went wrong in creating the character of Hans-Peter Schneider?

I still think there were way too many characters for this novel to keep track of with all its action. Perhaps if there were less characters or a longer length novel to accommodate both character development for all the characters and the storyline as well, Cari Mora would have been a better read.

The most bizarre chapter was hands down chapter 25. Chapter 25 is told from the perspective of a saltwater alligator (or was it a saltwater crocodile??). This chapter felt so random. Like why was it even in the novel?

Below is the plot summary for Cari Mora by Thomas Harris from Amazon's website:
A resilient young woman must outwit a sadistic psychopath in this pulse-pounding thriller from the author of The Silence of the Lambs, a "master still at the top of his strange and chilling form" (Wall Street Journal).

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.

The following YouTube video is a video review for Cari Mora created by Ron Charles, book critic, The Washington Post that I found intriguing.

I am giving Cari Mora by Thomas Harris a rating of 2 stars out of 5 stars.

Until my next post, happy reading!!

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