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This is going to be a bit of a longshot, I suspect. I started reading a book in the 2010 timeframe (probably around 2015ish) that was, I think, at least the second book in the series. It started with an Islamic man (an Imam, maybe?) being assaulted somewhere in the Middle East, and being saved by a man in ragged clothes who turns out to be an American ex-soldier who went AWOL after having a change of heart about fighting. Said soldier becomes a loyal disciple to the Imam, who apparently has terrorist leaning. The next scene I remember was one at a terrorist training camp with the main character being a well-educated Arabic young man who'd previously studied in the United States, and is now studying things like explosives, I think under the tutelage of the ex-soldier, who is quite the fanatic now. A few chapters later (or maybe the camp was a flashback), the young man is working concessions at a major sports stadium in the United States, where he has befriended a young woman (of European descent, I want to say Irish), and he's expressing internal regret that he won't be able to warn her about the upcoming attack, which I think involves smuggling explosives being smuggled into the stadium to be detonated during the game.

I want to say that none of these were the main characters of the story, but rather the antagonists to the protagonist, who might have been a detective rather than, say, a military operative. Unfortunately, my brain gets fuzzy there.

I don't remember if this was a paperback, a hardback, or an audiobook. I checked it out from a library in Bridgeville, PA, I think, but I check out a lot of books, so my attempts at scanning my history haven't borne much fruit. I think I was getting into David Baldacci at the time, having read Memory Man, but the book summaries on Baldacci's site are not sparking memories. The other book I remember reading at the time was Executive Privilege by Philip Margolin.

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    An older book that you suggest, but could it have been Black Sunday by the same author as the Hannibal Lecter books? – Spagirl Jan 11 at 15:16
  • I feel like I'd remember it being Harris, but I will check into it. – Sean Duggan Jan 11 at 16:08
  • kinda sounds like A Clear And Present Danger by Tom Clancy – Niffler Jan 12 at 14:48
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It looks like this might be Philip Margolin's Capitol Murder, third book of the Dana Cutler series.

Private investigator Dana Cutler and attorney Brad Miller have overcome more than a few daunting challenges and powerful enemies to see justice done. Against tremendous odds, they successfully unmasked an American president's involvement in a chain of murders. They also saved the life of a Supreme Court justice while foiling a conspiracy by rogue members of the CIA to fix a case headed for the court. Now wicked threats old and new are about to bring them together once again. Convicted serial killer Clarence Little has escaped from death row in Oregon, and Brad receives threatening messages in D.C., where he is working for Senator Jack Carson, a high-ranking member of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence. A dead body, murdered according to Little's M.O., is found in the senator's Georgetown home, and Carson has disappeared. While Dana is in Oregon digging into Carson's shady background, a terrorist cell is poised to destroy a packed professional football stadium in one of the biggest attacks on American soil. As the senator's personal life begins to dovetail with the cell's evil plan, Brad and Dana will risk it all again to uncover the truth and save their country.

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This sounds similar to Black Sunday by Thomas Harris.

Michael Lander is a pilot who flies the Aldrich Blimp over NFL football games to film them for network television. He is also, secretly, deranged by years of torture as a prisoner of war in Vietnam, a bitter court martial on his return and a failed marriage. He longs to commit suicide and to take with him as many as possible of the cheerful, carefree American civilians he sees from his blimp each weekend.

Lander conspires with Dahlia Iyad, an operative from the Palestinian terrorist group Black September, to launch a suicide attack using a bomb composed of plastique and a quarter million steel darts, housed on the underside of the gondola of the Aldrich Blimp, which they will detonate over Tulane Stadium during a Super Bowl between the Miami Dolphins and the Washington Redskins. Dahlia and Black September, in turn, intend the attack as a wake-up call for the American people, to turn their attention and the world's to the plight of the Palestinians.

American and Israeli intelligence, led by Mossad agent David Kabakov and FBI agent Sam Corley, race to prevent the catastrophe. They piece together the path of the explosives into the country, and Dahlia's own movements.

In a spectacular conclusion, the bomb-carrying blimp is chased by helicopters as it approaches the packed stadium.
- Black Sunday - Wikipedia

This seems to match your description pretty well.

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    not 100% about this, but it does have some common elements – Niffler Jan 12 at 15:47

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