Almost a year and a half ago, I read Jed Rubenfeld's first book, The Interpretation of Murder which I fully expected to love and instead came away from with mixed feelings. I just looked back on my thoughts on the book and, not surprisingly, could easily copy a portion of that review and paste it here for his second book and sequel, The Death Instinct. I say "not surprisingly" because even though I had forgotten most of the first book, as I was reading the second book, I started remembering having the same feelings before.
"I was having trouble getting through it over the past few days and I decided to power through just to find out what happened. There are many good things about the book but it just wasn't quite there for me."
"This book had a few flaws that kept me from totally enjoying it, even as easy reading. First, the characters, on more than one occasion, use sarcasm. The problem with this is that it's hard to read sarcasm."
"Finally, I just felt that the book needed some more editing ..."As The Death Instinct features the same main character as the first book--Stratham Younger--and he was the one who frequently employed sarcasm, this remained a problem for me. His awful opinions of women also made it impossible to care for his fate as the main character. Again, I thought that the book could have been edited down more and that the historical and plot elements didn't flow together well. There were large information dumps in various parts of the novel. I found the information quite interesting but the way it was presented took me out of the story too often. This was a fascinating historical event that I knew almost nothing about.
I definitely appreciated the amount of research that must have been done to craft this story and part of me wishes that Rubenfeld had written a non-fiction about this incident instead. I gave this author a second chance with this novel because I had mixed feelings on the first one and hoped for an improvement but I think this will be it for me. I love the settings and events that he chooses but not the novels themselves.
Reluctantly moving on,
The Lost Entwife and Rundpinne. Other reviews will be linked up at the tour page over the next month.
Support our site and buy The Death Instinct on Amazon or find it at your local library. We received a copy for review from the publisher and have posted this review as part of a blog tour.