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Black Sunday

3.60  ·  Rating details ·  7,792 ratings  ·  236 reviews
When the game begins in New Orleans this Super Bowl Sunday . . . 80,000 people had better get ready to die.

The Super Bowl--where thousands have gathered for an all-American tradition. Suddenly it's the most terrifying place on earth . . .

Michael Lander is the most dangerous man in America. He pilots a television blimp over packed football stadiums every weekend. He is
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Published December 5th 2006 by Random House Audio (first published January 1975)
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Average rating 3.60  · 
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 ·  7,792 ratings  ·  236 reviews

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Are you nostalgic for post-Vietnam, early Middle East conflict, height of the cold war espionage/terrorist thrillers? Well, then look no further because all of your interests will be satisfied with Black Sunday. I would say that that this story has not necessarily aged well in that a person not familiar with the political climate of the late 70s/early 80s may not get it, but as a representation of the world at that time I think it is a pretty good throwback. Now, I was only a little kid at that ...more
"Black Sunday" is one of the big thriller/suspense novels from the 1970's. It's up there with "Jaws", "The Exorcist" and "Marathon Man". I can remember seeing used copies at garage-sales and used bookstores for many years. Also, like the other novels I named, it was made into a big budget A-list movie during that decade. I was curious to see how it's aged over the past forty years. I was also curious to see how much Mr. Harris changed his writing style so I finally picked up a copy. I was ...more
Jan 04, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

I read this long ago, long before 9/11 I mean, and now that I read it again I find that reality has dismally caught up with the plot. Written and set in the middle of the 1970s I thought it might have become a little dated by now, but it isn’t. Even without all the technology and stuff that has been invented in the last 45 years or so the story is still captivating and the pace was just right for me. There are a few insertions that shed light on the past of the prota- and antagonists and help
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jul 31, 2018 rated it really liked it
I have to say that I really enjoyed this book.
This is a book about terrorism, fanaticism and retribution.
One has to read this book with an eye to how the world was in 1975, when the book was first published.
The Palestinians, PLO, hate the Jews. The Jews hate the PLO. Both hate with fatalistic fanaticism. The war in Vietnam is over and there are a lot troubled veterans back in the USA.
Michael Lander is one of these troubled vets. Troubled by PSTD Michael wants to die but in so doing want to take
Feb 21, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2018, thriller
Welcome to Thomas Harris first and stand alone novel about a terrorist attack on US ground. For those interested this books has been filmed as well starring Robert Shaw (jaws, The Deep & From Russia with Love) and Marthe Keller (famous European movie star that never had a stellar career but a fascinating face nonetheless). The movie is worth your while due to actors more than the story.

This book actually tells you more about the motives and feelings of the "baddies" than the hero's. It is a
Arun Divakar
When your plot line involves a major terrorist attack, there are some plot elements which are unavoidable : the pace that builds up until the D-day, terrorists and law enforcement trying to outwit each other every step of the way, a couple of romantic flings on either side of the law and then the whole world goes to hell ! Black Sunday is no different and within the premise of the story, Thomas Harris brings the Israel-Palestine conflict to the heart of America.

When you set out to read this
Mohammed Algarawi
Yes it's a thriller, but it was disturbing. I didn't like how the novel exploited the stereotype and made the terrorist, who were planning to bomb a stadium full of people watching the Super Bowl, to be Arabs. The only twist was that they were aided by a Vietnam vet who "sold his country". There's some psychology in there, but overall, I didn't like how the Israeli agent was portrayed as the hero and the Palestinians were the terrorist who were getting their revenge by bombing 70,000 people. ...more
Charles  van Buren
Review of Kindle edition
Publication date: February 1, 2001
Publisher: Berkley
Language: English
324 pages

Before serial killer Hannibal Lecter there was terrorist and mass murderer Dahlia Iyad and madman Michael Lander. Before FBI agents Will Graham, Clarice Starling and Jack Crawford there was agent Sam Corley and Israeli Mossad agent David Kabakov. The main protagonists in Thomas Harris' first novel, BLACK SUNDAY. Published in 1975 after the 1972 Munich Olympics massacre of Israeli
Benjamin Stahl
A Heartbreak Hipster Review

This was one of those books I had no real interest in reading. One of those books I went ahead and paid for anyway. One of those books that sat unnoticed on my shelf for months until finally I decided to get rid of it.


One of those books I just hadn't the heart to dispose of. Not without reading it first. I decided I would force myself. Fuck it. Here it goes.


This kind old man on the left created one of the creepiest, most original and somehow loveable psychopaths of
I have to admit first that the premise didn't sound exiting to me, but when I found out the author of the Hannibal series had an earlier book I just head to read it.
Harris' style is already noticable here, although it is improved in later books. It is actually a more quiet book for most of it than one would expect from the premise. It is also very character driven, which I enjoyed. The character moments and the way Harris discusses these people are the best things about the book. They are
Lots of tension and suspense in this debut by the author which was published back in 1975. The terrorism plot was realistic, though sometimes it did becomes mired down in the technical details of the plan, and the characters and their motivations were well drawn. A good first effort though his later works were much more polished.
Karl Marberger
A solid international intrigue thriller. The fact that it was written in 1975 did wonders for the context considering that I read it in 2016. This book was on the ball ahead of its time.
Jun 21, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: genre-thrillers
Frankly I can't give a **** about the recent and far-fetched, 'Hannibal Lecter' saga. I think that though it is the more popular, it is clearly the less thoughtful or compelling work from Harris' career; it smacks of "pandering" (as do the works of Brett Easton Ellis) to the usual morbid American fascination with blood-and-gore. That's what the high sales of that franchise say to me.

Instead, I say the peak moment of Harris' writing career came with this novel, 'Black Sunday'. Why? Because its
Aug 16, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: techno-thriller
Although written in the early 70's, BLACK SUNDAY reads just like a season of the TV show "24," only with an Israeli version of Jack Bauer as the only thing standing between us and the terrorists. This is Harris' debut novel, and, as such, the writing stumbles here and there, but the story is exciting, deftly plotted, and surprisingly realistic. The most amazing thing about this book, though, is that, other than the occasional use of a telex, nothing in the novel stands out as being particularly ...more
May 30, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2015
Thomas Harris has only written five books. I had read four of them before picking up Black Sunday. Harris' only non-Hannibal Lecter novel, it concerns a plot to set off a bomb over the Super Bowl via an advertising blimp.

Black Sunday suffers in the same way that Silence of the Lambs and Red Dragon do when read today in that Harris' books have been virtually strip-mined by Hollywood. I'm not just talking about adaptations into television and film… I'm talking the very DNA of Harris' work has
Thom Swennes
Jul 10, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-and-go
“An eye for an eye, tooth for a tooth,” is mentioned in every religious base. Lex talionis or the rule of retribution is expounded in a multitude of antiquated documents and teachings. In the 1970’s the Palestinian, like a soon to be active volcano, began spewing hate (like ash) to the surface and covering the world. The kidnapping of Israeli 1972 Olympic athletes in Munich was just the beginning. United States policy was to supply Israel with the means to defend its property and people against ...more
David Keaton
Oct 09, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Thomas Harris could never be considered prolific, but he almost became a household name when he had the fortune of publishing three of his five novels at a pivotal time in pop culture history. Film versions of his novels have permanently overshadowed his books, however, and even though some would argue that they are precisely as popular as they deserve to be, or perhaps even slightly overrated, I would offer that they are the teeny-tiniest bit underrated (I am holding my index finger and thumb ...more
Oct 09, 2014 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I suppose this review will contain some pretty significant plot spoilers, but nothing a moderately astute reader won't see coming after reading the first quarter of the book.

I could go on for a while about the pros and cons of Black Sunday, but basically it would boil down to the book being dated and Thomas Harris being a damn good writer.

I did have one major problem with the plot that ruined the whole thing for me. -

Early on, you learn that the terrorists' goal is to arm a blimp with a bomb
Alesha Leveritt
I see a lot of the reviewers finding this novel boring and cliche. I find that quite funny. Had Harris written this novel in 2005, those statements would perhaps have some merit. Give that the novel was written in the 1970s, it's more prophetic than cliche. It's also interesting that people see hate-filled stereotypes when the bad guys come from many corners and at least two of them elicit some pretty powerful sympathy during parts of the work. More evidence of sheeple allowing others to do ...more
Mar 27, 2007 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: japanreads
i have been reading Thomas Harris books since I was 12 years old. I was the only 6th grader who could announce she had already read silence of the lambs twice before the movie came out. Since then I have revisited the novel Red Dragon so many times that I could read the lines from memory along with the actors of the movie. So i was excited to read Black Sunday as one of his ealier works, but was extremely disappointed. So much so that I can't even finish the book. The charcters are ...more
Kym Robinson
Entertaining. Especially for those who enjoy crime thrillers. It indulges in the psychology between the antagonist-protagonist which would become a hallmark of Thomas Harris's books.

I most likely would not enjoy it as much on the re-read but when i read this I was going through a 1970s fiction a thon and this book fit in nicely. Expect to read some cliches.

Thomas Strömquist
The first offering (from 1975) of Hannibal-creator Thomas Harris is a suspenseful and relentless thriller about a terrorist attack. In its genre it is really good.
Bill Jr.
Nov 03, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Superb Thriller

Black Sunday is one of the most exciting thrillers ever written. It's an oldish novel, but it captures you quickly and holds your attention throughout.
Jul 11, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I must say I’m pleasantly surprised with this book. I bought it long ago, the summer I worked at Cedar Point in college, before I really knew where to start with “real” reading having recently declared as an English major. I remember reading On The Road back and forth across the causeway to work on the bus (what a great time to read that… I was about ready to do exactly as the characters did, as I’m sure many who’ve read the book have felt), as well as at Soak City on afternoons off. I also ...more
Ian Mapp
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
May 01, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
America's greatest spectacle - the Super Bowl - is the target of terrorists, who employ one of our own against us. (p.s. How has something like this not actually happened yet?) Written shortly after the Munich Olympics and often touching on that tragic event, it is reflective of the uncertain, chaotic times in which it is set. A damaged, disillusioned, not entirely sane Vietnam War vet named Michael Lander is the "lone wolf" who provides the resources and spark needed to accomplish the mission. ...more
John Cheney
Thomas Harris is best-known for his Hannibal Lecter books, but Black Sunday was his first published novel. Harris wrote the novel in the 1970s, following the terrorist attack at the Munich Olympics. While many of the details seem dated (the key terrorist is a traumatized Vietnam veteran, the technology used in the attack is too primitive by today's standards), the theme of terrorism and a high- profile target such as the Super Bowl is even more relevant today.

The story follows Israeli Mossad
Mar 16, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: harris
read this one years ago...just now came to me in a flash, whilst i was thinking about o-d-ing on iodine, what w/the idea that we're all going to burst into flame what w/global warming, the fate of the gekko, and snow depths in the u.p.

terrorist copy had a pic of the blimp on the cover.

great story, very engaging, yay, all those years ago.

can i hear a hallelujah?

too, this is a chance for me to rant about those shitheels at the westboro baptist "church" and the surpreme court's 8-1
Mar 02, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: crime
Very 1970s in its sensibilities. A terrorist cell plans and attempts to kill the President, and all 85,000 attendees at the Super Bowl. Using a huge bomb attached to a blimp. Of course! They are tracked through a collaboration between the US authorities and an Israeli intelligence operative. Primarily from the perspectives of Kabakov, the Israeli officer, his close contacts, and the terrorists themselves. After the assassination of the head of the terrorist group Black September, Dahlia is the ...more
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Goodreads Librari...: Black Sunday - Thomas Harris typo in discription 4 14 Sep 19, 2016 03:04PM  

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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
“And then he realized that he loved the eagle better than the sheep and that he always would and that, because he did, because it was in him to do it, he could never be perfect in the sight of God.” 4 likes
“Sanity and apparent rationality are not the same, comrade.” 2 likes
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