A spellbinding literary thriller about terror, war, greed, and the darkest secrets of the human soul, by the author of the million-copy best seller The Interpretation of Murder
Under a clear blue September sky, America's financial center in lower Manhattan became the site of the largest, deadliest terrorist attack in the nation's history. It was September 16, 1920. Four hundred people were killed or injured. The country was appalled by the magnitude and savagery of the incomprehensible attack, which remains unsolved to this day.The bomb that devastated Wall Street in 1920 explodes in the opening pages of The Death Instinct, Jed Rubenfeld's provocative and mesmerizing new novel.
War veteran Dr. Stratham Younger and his friend, Captain James Littlemore of the New York Police Department, are caught on Wall Street on the fateful day of the blast. With them is the beautiful Colette Rousseau, a French radiochemist whom Younger meets while fighting in the World War. A series of inexplicable attacks on Rousseau, a secret buried in her past, and a mysterious trail of evidence lead Young, Littlemore, and Rousseau on a thrilling international and psychological journey, from Paris to Prague, from the Vienna home of Dr. Sigmund Freud to the corridors of power in Washington, D.C., and ultimately to the hidden depths of our most savage instincts. As the seemingly disjointed pieces of what Younger and Littlemore learn come together, the two uncover the shocking truth behind the bombing.
Blending fact and fiction in a brilliantly convincing narrative, Jed Rubenfeld has forged a gripping historical mystery about a tragedy that holds eerie parallels to our own time.
©2010 Jed Rubenfeld (P)2011 Penguin
I'm a designer (interiors and graphics) with an English degree. I recovered my love of reading after a disastrous bout with grad school.
Rubenfeld has written a densely plotted adventure, full of interesting historical details and carefully drawn characters. It's also well-written, and rockets right along. There are no sagging bits, and not many loose ends for such a complicated contraption. I am sad to say that the narrator spoiled a great deal of this book for me. EVERY character is given a distinct, and distinctly over-the-top, accent and voice. Even the lead characters are converted into caricatures by this over-smoked ham.
The writing, the plot, the narration - they were all working for this story and I really wanted to like it. But I found one of the heros, Younger, to be a complete cad, a violent, nasty, overbearing snob. He detracted from every scene he was in. Leave me Colette, Livermore, and Luc, but take that Younger out.
Full time Internal Medicine practice and serious amateur Landscape photographer. Utilizes driving hours listening to spy and thriller Audiobooks. Loves to travel to places with mountains, green waters and beaches with wife.
Mr. Rubenfeld is a literary genius. The way he blends his characters with the historical figures not only entertains but educates us of the times gone by. This book is like an adrenaline-pumping ride on a roller coaster that plunges you back in time meeting historical characters who have contributed to the progress of science and American culture. I enjoyed the participation of Sigmund Freud and Madame Curie and other cabinet members during the time of Warren Harding. The plot is so convoluted but it the end the characters seamlessly intertwine like fibers to form the tapestry.
There is a lot going on in this book. That makes it a good diversion but it also makes it seem contrived after a while. The book is diverting and the reader is first rate. I think the reader did a fantastic job.
This book got a great review in The New York Times so I was really looking forward to listening to it. It started off strong, but I was put off by the outlandish voices and accents the narrator used for most of the characters in the book. The only one who sounded real was Jimmy Littlemore. All the rest of the voices sounded like real stereotypes and significantly detracted from the story line. I stayed with it to the end just to find out what happened, but wouldn't really recommend the audio book. Maybe much better to actually read.
I would recommend this audiobook to anyone who likes a good mystery and/or historical fiction. Rubenfeld really captures the post WWI era in both Europe and the US East Coast.
The plot and sub plots were very intriging with a little suspense and romance mixed in
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