Rediscover: Black Sunday

Last Sunday's Super Bowl was certainly explosive. In Thomas Harris's 1975 thriller, Black Sunday, that expression is far more literal. After years of torture as a POW in Vietnam, Michael Lander returns to a failed marriage and a court martial. He seeks to take his own life, along with as many of the happy civilians Lander sees every weekend as an NFL blimp pilot. With the help of terrorist group Black September, Lander loads his blimp with bombs and steel darts, and plans to detonate it over a packed Super Bowl stadium. FBI agent Sam Corley and Mossad agent David Kabakov race to stop Lander from turning the big game into a bloodbath.

In 1977, Black Sunday was turned into a film starring Bruce Dern as Michael Lander, Robert Shaw as David Kabakov and Fritz Weaver as Sam Corley. Director John Frankenheimer's (Ronin; The Manchurian Candidate) adaptation was more of a critical than commercial success. Black Sunday is probably the least-known of Harris's work--he went on to write Red Dragon (1981), The Silence of the Lambs (1988), Hannibal (1999) and Hannibal Rising (2006). His first novel remains the only one without Dr. Hannibal Lector, though Michael Lander is almost as tasty an antagonist. Black Sunday was last published in 2001 by Berkley  ($7.99, 9780451204158). --Tobias Mutter

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