Title: Black Sunday
Author: Thomas Harris
Page Count: 320
I was expecting good things from this, purely because I’ve read the Hannibal novels and so it had a lot to live up to. In fact, as far as I’m aware, this was the only Thomas Harris novel that I hadn’t read other than his most recent one.
This one was actually published way back in 1975 when Harris was in his thirties, and I have to say that it shows. He attempted to write a sort of fast-paced political thriller, but it doesn’t really work so well when you compare it to some of the newer novels to have hit the market in the last twenty years.
There’s also the fact that this deals with terrorism but was written over a quarter of a century before 9/11. Some of the stuff that he wrote is still relevant, but a lot of it has been superseded by events, and it definitely feels like a product of its time. The writing isn’t particularly good either, and nor is the plotting. In fact, it just comes across as a pretty generic book, something pretty forgettable as far as I’m concerned.
There is a saving grace though, and that’s the complex antagonist with his Vietnam flashbacks and his plot to blow up the Superbowl using an explosive-laden blimp. In fact, I’m kind of surprised that it was so dull considering the subject matter. It could have been awesome. It just wasn’t.
I’m not sure that I’d say that it’s a bad novel either, I just think that it’s very much a product of the time it was written and published in. I think it would have been good enough at the time, but I don’t think there’s much point reading it now. I would have given up if I hadn’t already read Harris’ other stuff.