The Death Instinct

Jeb Rubenfeld, Riverhead, $26.95 (480p) ISBN 978-1-59448-782-8

The 1920 bombing of Wall Street, the most deadly act of terrorism in the United States until the Oklahoma blast of 1995, provides the framework for Rubenfeld's excellent follow-up to The Interpretation of Murder. The sweeping plot details the baffling hunt for those responsible for the death and injury of more than 400 New Yorkers. Numerous intriguing subplots snake out from the main story line, several of which bring such historical figures as Marie Curie, famous for her radium experiments, and Sigmund Freud, who had a significant role in the previous book, to life. Rubenfeld deftly wends his way through the shifting landscape with a historian's factual touch and a storyteller's eye for the dramatic and telling. Readers will be enthralled as Dr. Stratham Younger, the hero of The Interpretation of Murder—aided by his beautiful fiancée, scientist Colette Rousseau, and Det. James Littlemore—manages to solve the Wall Street bombing, something that the real authorities never did. (Jan.)