From the Publisher:
A spellbinding literary thriller about terror, war, greed, and the darkest secrets of the human soul, by the author of the million-copy bestseller 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.
A brilliant and unique blend of historical fact and fiction makes The Death Instinct by Jed Rubenfeld, a psychological thriller filled with international intrigue, all the more captivating. Rubenfeld begins with the 1920 terrorist attack on Wall Street, which to this day remains unsolved, post WWI America, Sigmund Freud, and Madam Curie, quite an intriguing combination. The reader learns about these events through the main protagonists, Detective Jimmy Littlemore, Dr. Stratham Younger, Colette Rousseau, and Luc, each with their own specialties and outlooks on the bombing of Wall Street, events during the war and the scientific advances taking place in 1920. While Rubenfeld’s protagonists are all fictitious, each is richly detailed and portrayed so much so, that often each appears more real than the non-fiction characters in The Death Instinct.
When writing a review such as this one, I often must ask myself just how much information is enough without giving too much away, and I realised I could not offer the reader a lot about the book, as I think this one is best uncovered layer by layer as Rubenfeld meant for it to be. Rubenfeld certainly has done his research and will take the reader, through recollections, back to Germany and France during the war, as well as post war Vienna while staying in present day 1920 America, trying to uncover a terrorist attack, a kidnapping, and so very much more (and I have no intentions of disclosing more than I already have). Each setting, each character’s retelling an event or sequence of events is powerful, engaging, and will keep the reader interested and engaged in the storylines and hopefully others will find the back stories just as exciting, as they do indeed provide insight into the characters’ motivations. The Death Instinct captivated me and I truly enjoyed the fiction parts as much as the facts. Rubenfeld must be quite an educator and I appreciated learning the root of the word “terrorist” to learning far more about Dr. Freud then I had previously known.
My penchant for history has always been in place so when a book such as this crosses my place I am utterly delighted. I did try to savor the book and would tell myself I would stop at the next chapter and then something new would occur making me unable to set the book down until I discovered what it was. As one can imagine, this continued on as the hours ticked away and soon I was so wrapped up in the story the night was lost to me. I have not read Jed Rubenfeld’s previous book, The Interpretation of Murder, but I certainly shall be adding it to my list of books I must read. It is with high praise that I recommend The Death Instinct to any and all readers. Be prepared to lose a night of sleep.
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.
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I received a complimentary ARC copy of The Death Instinct by Jed Rubenfeld from TLC Book Tours to be a part of this tour and offer my honest review of the book. Receiving a complimentary copy in no way reflected my review of aforementioned book.