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Black Sunday Mass Market Paperback – February 1, 2001

3.9 out of 5 stars 83 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

This is the 1975 debut novel from Harris, who went on to write Red Dragon, The Silence of the Lambs, and Hannibal. Black Sunday pits an American Vietnam veteran of dubious sanity and PLO terrorist accomplices against a ruthless Israeli security agent and the FBI in a race to kill the 80,000 spectators at the Super Bowl, with the president of the United States in attendance. The plot (large-scale terrorist act perpetrated in the United States by an American) was considered somewhat improbable when first reviewed but is considerably less so today. The suspenseful and relentless action is adequately paced by the reading of actor Ron McLarty. Character development, perhaps necessarily, takes second place in this abridgment. An exciting thriller from a popular author, and a title that may be less familiar to many of Harris's current fans. Recommended for fiction collections. Kristen L. Smith, Loras Coll. Lib., Dubuque, IA
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

BreathtakingàAll forces converge with an apocalyptic bang. (New York Times)

Suspenseful, nightmarish. (Los Angeles Times)

Frighteningly believable. (Chicago Tribune)

A spellbinderàhair-raisingàwill keep you rooted to your chair. (Hartford Courant)

Action-packed, crisp, fast-paced, timelyàa first-class plot told in a first-class fashion. (Associated Press)

All too realisticàwith a shattering climax. (Kirkus Reviews)

Suspenseful and relentless actionàan exciting thriller. (Library Journal)
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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Signet (February 1, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0451204158
  • ISBN-13: 978-0451204158
  • Product Dimensions: 4.3 x 0.9 x 6.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (83 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #191,117 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Alex Diaz-Granados on October 6, 2004
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Before Thomas Harris, a respected reporter for the Associated Press and ace novelist, created the creepy-yet-charismatic serial killer Hannibal Lecter in his novels Red Dragon, The Silence of the Lambs, and Hannibal, he had already dabbled in another and even more frightening topic: a massive terrorist attack against a "soft" (undefended, usually civilian) target in his 1975 debut novel, Black Sunday.

Like The Sum of All Fears, a Tom Clancy "Jack Ryan Novel" that was clearly inspired by Harris' tautly written thriller, Black Sunday's plot focuses on a plan by Palestinian terrorists to commit a deadly and spectacular attack on a highly televised event: the Super Bowl.

The reason for the attack -- at least from the Palestinian side -- is a common thread that runs through both novels: America's unswerving support for Israel in the apparently never-ending Middle East conflict.

And just as Clancy --possibly taking his cues from this novel -- would later do in Sum, Harris not only has a dedicated group of terrorists to carry out this diabolical plan, he has a psychotic American co-conspirator on board, a man whose recent life has pushed him over the edge from understandable resentment to psychotic lust for revenge against his own country.

There, however, the similarities end, for whereas Clancy's obviously insane Marvin Russell was a murderous Native American of the Lakota tribe and was considered both untrustworthy and expendable by his Arab "allies" and was used as a mere conduit into the Denver area until the homemade nuclear bomb was in place in that Colorado city, Black Sunday's Michael Lander is a willing planner and executioner of Black September's spectacular plot to turn a blimp into a makeshift weapon of mass destruction.
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Format: Hardcover
This is the book that began the terrorism genre, and yes, many of the elements have been done to death over the years. (In an odd hommage, in Tom Clancy's The Sum of All Fears, the terrorists set off a nuclear blast at the Denver Superbowl because they've read Black Sunday!) Still, 26 years after its first publication, it's still one of the best of the lot -- though Nelson DeMille's The Lion's Game is a brilliant updating. I just read it for the fifth time and loved it as much as the first. In The Silence of the Lambs, Dr. Lecter tells Agent Starling that Jame Gumb's "pathology is a thousand time more savage" (than the average transsexual). Well, Lecter never doctored blimp pilot Lander. He's one of the great villains in popular fiction, mainly because Harris makes him so comprehensible.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
All three of Thomas Harris' other books, Red Dragon, The Silence Of The Lambs, and Hannibal are masterpieces. Black Sunday was his first book and it's good, but Harris' signature style is not quite intact. It's a good book, interesting, a little slow in parts but nothing unforgivable. The detail is there, the sympathy for all characters is there, it's just, missing somthing. The polish his other books have I suppose. Thomas Harris is one of the great writers of our time, Black Sunday is well worth reading, both for entertainment, and for an interesting study on the evolution of an artist.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
Being a fan of Thomas Harris's other work, I decided to give this book a chance. While the spy genre is not one which I favor, the author's other work made me think I might enjoy "Black Sunday". While I did enjoy the book on some levels, I found it disappointing on other levels.

Michael Lander is the ideal flunky for a terrorist organization. Angry at the government that abandon him after Vietnam and scorned by the wife that left him, Lander has little left to live for. Enter Dahlia Iyad. Possessing strong kinship with terrorists and anti-Israeli movements, she takes a liking to Lander. Opposing the terrorists is David Kabakov. With detective skill that would make James Bond green with envy, Kabakov decodes the plan of the terrorists.

Being the first major publications of Thomas Harris, this book is quite raw on a lot of levels. The ending of the book seems very rushed. The author spends most of the book leading to the day of the planned attack. Yet the authors spends approximately twenty pages explaining how the attack unraveled. Even more implausible is the method by which Kabakov foils the muderous plot. At other times in the book, the author is too busy introducing characters which the reader never gets to know. These characters should have ended up on the editing room floor. There are way too many people in this book for just over 300 pages.

This book bears an eerie resemblance to a 9/11 style attack for a book written in the mid-1970's. While the book may have been exemplary in its time, the flaws of the plot are more clearly revealed today.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
An ex veteran is hell bent on killing a whole lot of people. He proposes to turn a blimp into a giant claymore mine. Anyone ever having seen the damage a very small mine like a claymore can do can only imagine what destruction a larger version could do on an unknowing crowd.

This book gives lots of depth to the characters. Fully develops the madman's desire for a massive bloodbath on National TV. In light of the events of 9/11 one realizes just how possible this would have been.
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