The Death Instinct.

1:35 PM

The Death InstinctThe Death Instinct by Jed Rubenfeld

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Rating: 4 stars

This book is a total MAZE of plot twists and deception. It started of with a bang and the scene of the explosion at Wall Street was shown from different points of views until we reach the views of our protagonists. We have 2 main characters who are Younger (a doctor who served in World War I) and Littlemore (a captain in NYPD), who happen to be near the site of the bombing. The entire story was set in the era slightly before 1920s. To be honest, I was so excited to read this book 'cos the synopsis gave the impression of a 'Sherlock Holmes' style of novel. But it is definitely NOT. While I do get amazed at Littlemore's power of perception and how he can make correct assumptions out of seemingly ordinary things, it is not just about solving a case.

This story is SO COMPLICATED I have no idea where to even start. 'Cos one thing leads to another and another. It's revelation after revelation. And I dun wanna spoil this book for anyone. Basically, Younger is back from serving as a medic at the WWI where he brought back with him Colette and Luc (her younger brother). Colette is a french girl who was helping medics in the war field by providing them X-ray services with her Radium Van. She's a scientist who was mentored by Marie Curie herself. Her brother was thought to be a mute as he has never spoken ever since their parents died during the war when Luc was still very young. Colette wants to find ways to cure her brother and to track down a man named Hans Gruber, who was currently in prison. Younger fell in love with her during the war and devotes himself to helping her achieve what she wants. He brings her to a psychoanalyst Sigmund Freud who was his mentor at one time.

Meanwhile, Littlemore was trying to solve the case of the bombing on Wall Street which had killed hundreds of people. Several political figures and Bureau heads were blaming anarchists and terrorists from Russia and Italy. But the deeper Littlemore delves into the case, the more information and evidence he uncovers, the more complicated the case becomes. The motives of the bombing evolved from a terrorist attack to a cover-up for a robbery to a signal of war. IT WAS MINDBOGGLING. I was rooting for Littlemore the whole way and as a reader, I have so much respect for the way Littlemore plays by the rules and never got his hands dirty, even when he was given the opportunity for an easy way out. He was the pure one in a city that is infested with corruption.

I cannot summarize all the major happenings in this novel 'cos there is just too many. It is absolutely jam-packed with action. With killers hunting Colette and a radium conspiracy looming, there are alot of things happening at once. The point of view constantly switched from one person to another (usually from Younger and Littlemore) so the reader has to keep alert or else it is easy to get lost in the maze of the plot. Personally, I liked the switch in point of views. It is a great way to keep the readers guessing and wondering who are the ones telling the truth. Simply 'cos everyone is LYING. Everyone is lying and deceiving everyone else and I get suspicious of EVERYONE.

The ending was a GREAT twist. I never saw that coming (maybe 'cos I was too busy being suspicious of everyone to make a safe bet on a whodunnit) and the last few pages left me BREATHLESS as the whole case was finally busted wide open and the true criminals unveiled themselves.

The only issue I had was the relationship between Younger and Colette, which I never approved of. Honestly, I kinda hated Colette as I felt as if she was just making use of Younger and his money and connections in the medical world. Also, I felt that Younger himself knew that Colette was making use of him and despite that he LETS her take advantage of him. He comes to her rescue a billion times and has risked his life, even killed people for the sake of this GIRL. And this while I was thinking, WHY?!! They only met in the battlefield, so I assumed it was something like love at first sight. Also, Younger scared me with his darker side and the 'possessive' love that he had for her. Midway I thought Colette was evil and that Younger was evil as well. But this just shows the richness of the characterization. They are not perfect people. They are flawed and fighting their own demons as well as the demons of criminal world. There is a constant struggle between good and evil even within the characters and not just within the main plot itself. I just felt that the deepness of their love was not shown until the very end when Younger almost died trying to protect Colette (AGAIN).

Bottomline, this book freakin' ROCKS. Sometimes it gets confusing as there are so many characters to keep track of and some many conspiracies overlapping each other, you might wanna take a break and clear your head for a while, before diving back into the story. But it is SO worth it at the end, when the truth finally surfaces. I love how the entire book is in shades of gray. No one is perfectly good and perfectly evil. Everyone (as in real life) has a motive of their own and at the end, justice doesn't always prevail and sometimes, justice can come in a different form, not just a jail sentence or death. The author's writing style is objective and doesn't get too emotional so, the reader can keep a clear head on who are the culprits. (Though I did get emotionally attached to Littlemore) And it perfectly captures the mood and feel of the 1920s, which was a rather depressing time.

Fast-paced and everything is accounted for. Every single thing is a clue and is connected to something else. Mindboggling stuff!!

I CANNOT wait to read more of Jed Rubenfeld's work.

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