Friday, 17 September 2010

CRIME FICTION REVIEW: The Death Instinct - Jed Rubenfeld

Release Date: 16/09/10


Ten years on from THE INTERPRETATION OF MURDER, Stratham Younger and James Littlemore embark on a thrilling new adventure in the aftermath of a terrorist attack in New York; it is a story that will lead Stratham to the heart of war-ravaged Europe, where he will once again encounter Sigmund Freud. 12.01pm, September 16, 1920. A quarter ton of explosives is detonated on New York's Wall Street, the deadliest attack in the United States' 150 year history. Stratham Younger, recently returned from the battlefields of Europe, witnesses the explosion alongside Captain James Littlemore of the NYPD and Colette Rousseau, a brilliant and beautiful young disciple of Marie Curie. Littlemore's investigation will lead him into conflict with the FBI, and to the centre of a dangerous web of corruption that links Wall Street and Washington. Meanwhile Stratham and Colette embark on a perilous journey that will take them to Vienna, where Freud will shed light on his theory of the human desire for destruction, even self-destruction, which he terms 'the death instinct'.


Whilst I may not fall in love with a writers style, I can appreciate the skills behind it. Here Jed delves into a piece of American History that I was completely ignorant of, the Bombing of Wall Street in September 1920. Whilst this crime was never solved, the mystery woven within offers a plausible reasoning behind it.

The characters are intriguing and whilst they don’t tick all the boxes for me, they suit the world that they inhabit beautifully. It’s their personal interactions that help the reader adapt to the time period, it’s the character smarts that drives the story forwards and it’s their caring natures that help to sell the final part to the reader.

It is well written, the pace is satisfactory and the author knows what they’re doing and how to do it well. It was definitely interesting and whilst it won’t make my personal top reads for this year, for the reader of Historical Fiction Crime stories there are a lot worse tales that you can spend your hard earned money on.

1 comment:

ediFanoB said...

I must admit that I would have missed The Death Instinct without your review.
Some years ago I read and liked The Interpretation of Murder.

My experience with The Interpretation of Murder and your tersely review convinced my to order a paperback copy (publishing date April 2011) in advance.