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Black Monday: A Novel [Mass Market Paperback]

Bob Reiss
3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)

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Book Description

April 28, 2009

Now in paperback and soon to be a major motion picture—the terrifying techno-thriller in the bestselling tradition of Michael Crichton!

When the first planes go down — in Europe, in California, in Asia—authorities blame terrorists. All flights are grounded as world leaders try to figure out how the global assault has been coordinated. And when cars, ships, and factories stop running too, it becomes clear that the common link is oil. Somehow a microbe, genetically engineered to destroy petroleum, has infected the world supply. As the world’s economy grinds to a crashing halt, Dr. Gregory Gillette, an epidemiologist with the Centers for Disease Control, races against the clock before more havoc, devastation, and terror is wreaked. Utilizing his skill as a seasoned Hollywood screenwriter, Reiss weaves the plot into a page-turning, blockbuster thriller.

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

The pseudonymous Reiss, in his unsettling debut, depicts a truly frightening scenario: a deadly microbe contaminates the world oil supply, effectively shutting down all cars, planes and machines—anything driven by oil. Food supplies and electricity run out. Police have no way to patrol the streets. Gangs and marauders seize control in the world capitals. Scrambling to find not only a solution to the problem but who's behind it is Greg Gillette, an epidemiologist for the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. As Gillette furiously tracks the microbe from the Nevada desert to rural Massachusetts, experts predict total chaos will soon sweep Earth. Lost in the maelstrom, however, is a full explanation of how the microbe works and the motive behind the calamity. Still, Reiss, a Hollywood screenwriter, has created a true page-turner of pell-mell action and momentum, already in production as a movie produced by Tom Jacobson. (Feb.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

Screenwriter Reiss (the name is a pseudonym) plants himself firmly in Michael Crichton territory with this techno-thriller. A microbe that eats oil has somehow appeared in oil fields around the world. Any machine that runs on gasoline is rendered inoperable by the microbe. Greg Gillette, an epidemiologist, tries to beat the clock and find an antidote to the techno-plague before society collapses. Written with urgency and wit, the novel (already snapped up by Hollywood) is imaginative and plausibly plotted. The book doesn't feature Crichton's lengthy scientific explanations, but it does have the same sort of plucky characters and high-octane pacing. Sure to be a crowd-pleaser. David Pitt
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 432 pages
  • Publisher: Pocket Books (April 28, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1439109222
  • ISBN-13: 978-1439109229
  • Product Dimensions: 1.4 x 4.1 x 6.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,941,467 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Bob Reiss is a New York-based author and journalist, a former "Chicago Tribune" reporter, and former correspondent for Outside magazine. His work has also appeared in the "Washington Post Magazine," "Smithsonian," "Parade," "Rolling Stone," and other national publications.

For media inquiries about "The Eskimo and the Oil Man" please contact Nick Small at Grand Central Publishing (

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Don't bother December 5, 2010
By G. Kohl
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Black Monday

As others have written, the plot (oil eating/crapping bacteria) was interesting but during the course of the novel, our main character aka SUPERHERO manages to fight entrenched bureaucrats, discover the means of infection, and foil the evil plot, while being a good father, husband and neighborhood block leader. By the end, everyone Good becomes a Better person and a few neighborhood nasties get their just desserts. The waffling US President probably isn't going to be reelected and the world economy; after ditching the US dollar as the world reserve currency, gets all better in a paragraph and a half. Hurrah!

My sentences have become on running and more incoherent as I realize the time I wasted reading this tripe.

Oh, another thing. A submarine captain and a couple of blue jackets rowing ashore in a rubber dingy would not conduct a snatch and grab of the EVIL Mastermind on foreign soil. That's what we have SEALS for.
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12 of 15 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Entertainings, Some gross scenes... February 13, 2007
What would happen if a super-bug infects the nations oil leading to massive economic breakdown, looting, and paralyziation of the nations's military? Reiss explores this premise in Black Monday, a thriller about corruption, human greed, and human perseverence.

I really enjoyed the premise of this novel and many of the characters.

***Mild Spoilers***

I did find myself mildly put off by the first part of the book which describes a hitman gruesomely killing someone in a casino. The same hitman commits several murders during the course of the book including murdering children. There is also a semi-graphic scene of torture which I found rather disturbinng. I found the graphic quality almost made me stop listening. I don't mind thrillers, sex and violence but I don't need the details.

***End Spoiilers***

The hero Gillette is interesting but a tad superhuman. Not only is he an ex-gang member, but he is a super-scientist of the ludlum variety, who can out-shoot, out-ski, and out-snowmobile the badguys at a moments notice. He also has 2 hot women lusting after him. Fine, but a little fantastic.

4 stars. The ending was a bit over-the-top, and I could've done without the graphic murder, it didn't add anything in my opinion.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining but ultimately falls short March 6, 2007
This book had all the ingredients for a great read. A terrifying plot, visions of an apocalyptic America, a ruthless assassin and the mysterious master mind lurking in shadows. This potentially fascinating story however gets lost in the authors uninspiring writing. The novel seems to be very scattered. Reiss uses flashbacks way too often and at the worst times. I'm sorry, but I find it hard to believe that as Gillett is getting shot at, he finds the time to reflect on his mentor's lessons and how they molded him into the person he is. This happens through out the entire book as it seems to be the author's only device for developing his characters and it gets old quick. There also is not much explanation about the virus that attacks oil, or the motives behind the villain's use of it which leaves the end a little unsatisfying.

There are however some positives to the story. After all, a bacterium that renders oil supplies useless in today's over dependent society is a scary and timely scenario. There are some gruesome chapters which illustrate the complexity of civilization and how easily it can brake down. The scenes of chaos and destruction are well described. The way that governments deal with social breakdown is frightening. It also sends a tremendous message about our dependencies not just on oil, but on anything capable of destroying us should it disappear. Is it a far fetched plot? Probably, but lets not forget that this is a work of fiction. This is a "what if" book and as long as the reader starts with that question in mind it will be at the very least a quick entertaining read.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Great Premise, Flawed Execution May 10, 2008
BLACK MONDAY starts with a great "what if" premise: what if the Western world was suddenly deprived of the use of all of its oil? Unfortunately, Reiss doesn't really deliver on the promise of this idea.

In this novel, Reiss goes into familiar territory: within a few weeks of the oil disappearing, he imagines a post-apocolyptic world arising in the United States where Americans, stripped of all their modern conveniences, become violent and cannibalistic. I've seen this type of world before, in novels like Stephen King's THE STAND and Cormac McCarthy's THE ROAD. There is nothing new about Reiss's own attempt, which falls well short of what's been done before.

The major flaw of this novel is the flat characterization. Reiss just isn't very good at creating characters that are distinct and memorable. The square-jawed hero of this book is a virtual superman -- and not the least bit interesting. Most of the dialogue is bland and colorless. There's a lot of action in this novel, but you don't care about any of the key characters, so the suspense level is close to zero.

BLACK MONDAY isn't exactly terrible, but I just didn't find it very engaging. Other than some interesting scientific information about how oil is used and refined, there is little about this book that stands out. I would give it a pass if I were you.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Good Read
well thought out book and theme. really enjoyed it , good premise and
well written. would recommend it highly in a fictional book
Published 3 months ago by Alden Whitenack
4.0 out of 5 stars Great read
This book create a discussion on another factor of when TSHTF. The author creates suspense that will keep you on the edge of your seat in how it will come out and who is running... Read more
Published 22 months ago by lynler
2.0 out of 5 stars Strange
Reading this book was like taking a ride in a jerky car. You start off pretty good, then the main character has a flashback at the most inappropriate times (including right in the... Read more
Published on February 27, 2012 by Suspense reader
5.0 out of 5 stars Easy Read & Scarily possible
Definitely recommend this for those who like apocalyptic stories. This and
One Second After by William R. Forstchen. Love it!
Published on October 20, 2011 by Keep the Fayth
1.0 out of 5 stars Poor reader (audio version)
I am generally neutral toward readers of audio books. A few make the book memorable by adding breadth to the experience. Rarely do they detract. Dick Hill is an exception to this. Read more
Published on April 4, 2011 by gregory r. weaver
5.0 out of 5 stars IT COULD HAPPEN!
This is an exciting story about what could happen in the world if people don't pay attention to what is going on with the oil situation. Read more
Published on July 13, 2010 by Madeline
2.0 out of 5 stars good if you like Ayn Rand and Ann Coulter and own guns
If you own a gun, you'll probably like this book, because guns are its real heroes. In the book, lack of oil causes society to disintegrate within three weeks, and only those who... Read more
Published on May 30, 2009 by Amazon Customer
2.0 out of 5 stars Not quite Crichton.
R. Scott Reiss' debut novel, "Black Monday", is compared on the book flap to a 'Crichton-like thriller'. It is ironic that I am reading this book the week that Mr. Read more
Published on November 10, 2008 by Ray J. Palen Jr.
3.0 out of 5 stars Would Make a Good Far Fetched Movie but Not a Very Believable Novel
I have to admit even with all the storyline's flaws I would still hand over a couple of bucks to rent a DVD movie version of this novel. Read more
Published on May 23, 2008 by James N Simpson
2.0 out of 5 stars Fast Read but Ultimately Flawed
Interesting premise that (if nothing else) does a great job of showing the nations' dependence on foreign oil--- the book is worth reading for that, if no other reason. Read more
Published on December 18, 2007 by Only Best
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