Saturday, January 22, 2011

Five best thrillers with terror themes

Howard Gordon—the longtime executive producer of the hit TV series 24—is the author of Gideon's War.

For the Wall Street Journal, he named a five best list of thriller plots with terror themes.

One novel on the list:
Black Sunday
by Thomas Harris (1975)

I tend not to re-read books, but somehow this one draws me back again and again. One reason may be that Michael Lander, who pilots the TV blimp hovering above football stadiums, is Thomas Harris's most terrifying monster. Like Hannibal Lecter, another of the author's creations, Lander is brilliant, although instead of applying his considerable talents to serial murder and gourmet cannibalism, Lander devotes his genius to a simple yet eerily plausible plan to turn the blimp into a giant bomb that will kill tens of thousands, including the president, at the Super Bowl. For Lander, committing mass murder would be the final, desperate, seemingly inevitable act of a man whose pathology and biography Harris describes in detail; first, as an abused child, then as a cuckolded husband, and finally as a disfigured prisoner of war shunned by the military for cooperating with his North Vietnamese captors. Lander works in league with Palestinian terrorists, a conspiracy tracked by the book's hero, the formidable Mossad agent David Kabakov. That this exquisitely plotted novel's geopolitical context is the Arab-Israeli conflict gives it an unsettling relevance even now, 35 years after its publication.
Read about the other books on the list.

Black Sunday appears on Gerald Seymour's list of five riveting novels about terrorism.

--Marshal Zeringue