Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Book Review: The Death Instinct by Jed Rubenfeld

The Death Instinct by Jed Rubenfeld
Publisher: Riverhead
Publish Date: January 20, 2011
Hardcover, 464 pages

My Review:
Why I read this: From the blurb it sounds fascinating and I am trying to read more historical fiction, so why not read something that combines historical fiction with the suspense I love.

How is the novel driven: Character and plot - the characters are essential and become more and more fleshed out as the novel progresses, but it's a suspense novel as well so plot plays a starring role too.

My thoughts: I am really starting to enjoy historical fiction, even time periods I did not think were interesting.  That is one thing the blogging world has done for me is opened me up to new genres of fiction.

I honestly did not know about the explosion on Wall Street in 1920.  Did you?  If you did you are either a history buff or you had a better history curriculum than I did - we never seemed to even make it to the 1900s when I took US History (and my husband who is a history buff did not know about it either).  So now I know about it and I love that Mr. Rubenfeld has built a story around this bombing that has never been solved.

So first the history is interesting.  Nothing boring in this book.  I also like that it flashes back to parts of World War I, which again I know the basics about but not much more so learning little bits and pieces here and there in this book was fascinating.  The book moves back and forth at times from 1920 to a few years before when two of the main characters, Stratham Younger and Colette meet.  These glimpses of the past help us understand them as characters and build their characters.  What is going on in 1920 builds the plot more and more.  I found the characters to be fascinating, trying to figure out Younger and trying to figure out Colette's secret kept the plot moving.  I also enjoyed Captain James Littlemore and his great detective skills along with his friendship with Stratham Younger.

The plot moves along at a great pace - I found myself covering 100 pages in no time and some times books like this bog me down.  The Death Instinct did not bog me down at all.  I found myself immersed in the book through the characters, the history and the plot. Mr. Rubenfeld does an excellent job of combining all three elements to make a very intriguing book.

If you enjoy historical suspense then this is a great book to give a try.  I recommend it highly and will look for Mr. Rubenfeld's other bestseller, The Interpretation of Murder when I clear out my review schedule a little more.

My Rating: 4.0/5.0

About the Book:
A spellbinding story of war and love, revenge and terror, and the darkest secrets of the human soul, by the author of the million-copy bestseller The Interpretation of Murder.

New York, 1920. World War I is over. But the Roaring Twenties have not yet arrived. Factories are closing, families are losing their homes. Jobless men are forbidden to drink by the new Prohibition laws. The streets of Manhattan teem with seething resentments and inarticulate passions. Wall Street … explodes. It is the most destructive and deadly terrorist attack ever committed on United States soil. Caught in the blast are war veteran Stratham Younger, police detective Jimmy Littlemore, and the beautiful but secretive Colette Rousseau. A mysterious trail of evidence, together with a series of inexplicable attacks on Colette and a secret buried deep in her past, lead the three on a harrowing but thrilling journey from Paris to Prague, from the roof of the world’s tallest skyscraper to the secret underground vaults of the U.S. Treasury, from the Vienna home of Sigmund Freud to the halls of Congress in Washington, D.C.  As the frightening, seemingly disjointed pieces of the puzzle come together, Younger and Littlemore unravel Colette’s secret – and the shocking truth behind the terror in Wall Street.

Set against the backdrop of the devastating Wall Street bombing of September, 1920 – a real historical event that remains unsolved to this day – The Death Instinct expertly blends fact and fiction, killing and passion, suspense and adventure in a page-turning thriller about the hidden depths of our most savage instincts.

About the Author: 
Jed Rubenfeld is the author of the international bestseller The Interpretation of Murder. He is a professor at Yale University Law School and is one of the country’s foremost experts on constitutional law. He wrote his undergraduate thesis at Princeton University on Sigmund Freud. He lives in Connecticut with his family.

***I received this book through TLC Book Tours for an honest review.  I was not compensated in any other way except receiving the book for free.  I do not receive money for my amazon links since I live in NC (something about some law), so they are up purely for my readers to have a place to check out the book.***


Julie @ Knitting and Sundries said...

I also really like historical fiction; for me, the blogging world has opened me up more for some non-fiction that I probably would not have given a second glance to prior to book blogging. I have read really good reviews on this one, and yours fits the bill too! Thanks for the review!

Heather J. @ TLC Book Tours said...

I definitely didn't know about this bit of US history, and I consider myself a huge history buff! It sounds like Rubenfeld did a great job combining history and suspense to make an exciting read. So glad you enjoyed it!

Thanks for being a part of this tour.

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