Thursday, January 13, 2011
The Death Instinct by Jed Rubenfeld
Rubenfeld introduces three pivotal fictional characters into his historical setting. Captain Jimmy Littlemore of the NYPD, Dr. Stratham Younger, and Colette Rousseau met on Wall Street just before the bomb exploded. Littlemore took control of the scene, while Younger and Colette provided medical assistance. Younger was a veteran of WWI, a battlefield doctor who served at the front where he met Rousseau. She was one of Madame Curie's radiological truck drivers, the women trained to use X-ray machines and take them to the battlefields. The meeting of those two, and the events on Wall Street on Sept. 16th, when four hundred people were killed, thrust the three of them into investigations that were pivotal to American history.
As Rubenfeld makes clear in his preface, the identities of the bombers were never discovered. But, from the events and actual people of that era, the author spins a fascinating story. He vividly describes the bombings and the battlefields of the war. He paints a picture of New York, using Littlemore's description of a city on edge, "No jobs, everybody's broke, people getting evicted, strikes, riots - then they throw in Prohibition." Sigmund Freud and Madame Curie are essential to the plot, and the background of the fictional characters. Admittedly, I had a hard time with some of Freud's theories in the book, but the history, and the complicated mystery, involving corruption at the highest levels, kept me riveted.
Jed Rubenfeld is the author of the international bestseller, The Interpretation of Murder, a thriller involving Sigmund Freud, and the search for a killer in New York. Now, he brings us back to the city in The Death Instinct, an outstanding, intriguing historical mystery, for those who like their mysteries meaty with facts, and complex. It's a story that, in so many ways, will remind you of our present times.
The Death Instinct by Jed Rubenfeld. Penguin Group (USA), ©2011. ISBN 9781594487828 (hardcover), 480p.
FTC Full Disclosure - I received my ARC in order to serve as a TLC Book Tour host.