Cari Mora by Thomas Harris – Book Review

Cari Mora by Thomas Harris – Book Cover

Cari Mora isn’t just tough, but sexy too

Thomas Harris’s protagonist, Cari Mora, a former child soldier from Colombia and current Miami Beach hottie, is the caretaker of Pablo Escobar’s old villa. The meticulous and careful Pablo once hid $25 million worth of gold in the mansion. The mafia and a despicable German psychopath, whose hobby is organ trafficking, are both vying for the gold. (Cari Mora has no such plans; she simply wants to be a veterinarian.)

Thomas Harris has returned with a renewed style of novel – as you’ll gather from the blurb. As for why, only God knows, because there was nothing wrong with the old style: The Silence of the Lambs was almost as good in book form as the brilliant film made from it. This new style means the whole thing is a bit flatter and more superficial. And faster-paced – perhaps due to changing reader preferences or maybe because it’s much easier to write a book this way.

Thomas Harris seems to have forgotten how to write a good novel

Nevertheless, Harris’s book, while painfully mediocre, still falls into the readable category. It manages to find some footing towards the end, becoming slightly more exciting with a bit of character development, thanks to Don Ernesto and his bodyguard. But Cari Mora, the main character, remains just as dull as she was at the beginning. Perhaps because the author struggles to effectively convey her backstory, he just throws the poor girl into the beginning of the book, like, here she is, see, and so it doesn’t really work out well.

The same goes for the villain Schneider, the operetta-style villain of the book. It’s as if he has a label stuck on him saying, “This man is a psychotic madman. Beware!” You read it, okay, fine, let’s move on; it evokes about that much reaction.

A crocodile is the most developed character – almost

The much better-developed Detective Robles is carefully built up by Thomas Harris, only to be cunningly removed from Cari Mora’s story. Even more baffling and unnecessary (though at least it consumes a few other side characters) is the brief appearance of a crocodile in its own chapter; but at least that’s somewhat entertaining.

Thomas Harris’s last book before Cari Mora was written 13 years ago, titled “Hannibal Rising,” which already showed signs of decline. His works have been steadily weakening as goddam time marches on. Of course, he’s not alone in this (just look at Frederick Forsyth’s The Fox). If I’m still writing this blog at 79 years old, it will surely be a lot more embarrassing as well.

Rating: 7/10

Cari Mora by Thomas Harris
311 pages, Hardcover
Published in 2019 by Grand Central Publishing

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