Books, Critical analysis and reviews

Read: “Black Sunday” by Thomas Harris

Black Sunday by Thomas Harris is a thriller set in the 1970s following a terrorist group and their new American ally in the plotting and execution of a terrorist attack in New Orleans. The novel is Thomas Harris’s first novel.

How I got on

I’ve had Black Sunday kicking about for a while after starting a Thomas Harris kick at the end of 2020 and start of 2021, because of landing in Hannibal fandom. Having read all of Harris’s Hannibal novels, I wanted to see what this early work was like. (His latest novel, Cari Mora is also on my to-read pile.)

You can certainly see in Black Sunday the origins for Harris’s writing style where the plot speeds along as tidbits of characterisation are brought to life in the present or in harrowing flashbacks. And certainly his habit of not necessarily writing characters you should or would want to identify with.

When I found time to read this novel, I would devour chapters quite easily. It certainly works as a thriller, though sometimes I got tired running around in circles over Michael Lander’s misery and psychological disorders. Certainly, Harris does not shy away from the effects a character’s pasts will have on their present.

No one is well adjusted.

Would I recommend it?

If you’re unfamiliar with Middle Eastern politics at the time of the novel’s setting or indeed with them at all, much of the novel will make little to any sense. I’m the kind of person who’s read a lot on the historical situations there and the present issues, and seen and read a lot of news reports over the past 25 years as well as watching series like Homeland.

Should you know a lot about the above then you’re going to get along fine with the story’s main driving forces and plot.


Do not read this thriller if you’re expecting a happy ending.

Will I be keeping Black Sunday on my book shelf?

Seeing as how I now seem to be collecting Thomas Harris novels, I will be keeping Black Sunday on my shelf. If I wasn’t collecting them, I probably wouldn’t.

Final rating for Black Sunday

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

I’m giving Black Sunday 3.5 stars. It’s a little dated and creaky at times but still worth reading at least once.

(For the ins and outs of the To-read pile challenge check out the challenge and rules page.)