VIENNA TWILIGHT by Frank Tallis

VIENNA TWILIGHT, the fifth installment in Frank Tallis’s superb mystery series, focuses on a serial killer obsessed with death; a degenerate artist, Herr Ludo Rainmayr, who paints emaciated young girls in the nude; and an agitated mental patient named Norbert Erstweiler. Dr. Max Liebermann is a psychiatrist and disciple of Sigmund Freud. He also unofficially assists his close friend, Detective Inspector Oskar Rheinhardt. Max and Oskar attend concerts, chat over meals, make music (Max plays the piano and Oskar sings in a rich baritone), drink brandy, smoke cigars, and track down felons. Max’s knowledge of abnormal psychology helps him understand the subconscious forces that drive people to commit unspeakable acts.

April 17, 2011 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: , , , , ,  · Posted in: Facing History, Sleuths Series, World Lit

DEATH INSTINCT by Jed Rubenfeld

In Jed Rubenfeld’s sexy, moody, Hitchcockian-cum-Freudian-cum-Jungian literary novel, THE INTERPRETION OF MURDER, Dr. Stratham Younger narrates a story within the framework of a fictional journal, focusing on his experiences with Drs. Jung and Freud on their revolutionary visit to the United States in 1909. Rubenfeld braided historical fact and fiction in this Manhattan corkscrew murder mystery, centering on Freud’s pioneering “talking therapy” and penning some biting dialogue between the three psychoanalysts. Younger’s skepticism and attraction to Freud’s theories enhanced the mesmerizing story of his attempt to cure a damaged, neurotic, and mute woman. The novel was peopled with a sprawling cast of doctors and louche politicians, drawing the reader into a lush, dissecting mixture of cerebral scrutiny and emotional desire.

Rubenfeld’s second and very ambitious novel also weaves fact and fiction, with extensive scope, while adopting some of the motifs and themes from his debut work. This time the author is tacitly paralleling events in the novel to the economic depression of contemporary times, as well as the 9/11 tragedies.

January 21, 2011 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: , , , ,  · Posted in: Facing History, Mystery/Suspense, New York City

A CURABLE ROMANTIC by Joseph Skibell

Science, religion, and language intersect in this edgy, Judeo-mystic satire about love, brotherhood, and neuroses in fin-de-siècle Vienna. In 1895, oculist Jakob Sammelsohn meets Sigmund Freud on the same night that he eyes and falls in love with Freud’s primary patient, Emma Eckstein. As Jakob is guided into Freud’s world of psychoanalysis, he reluctantly becomes a guide himself. He plunges into the mythological realm of a dybbuk, the dislocated spirit of his dead wife, Ita, who possesses and inhabits Emma. Or so Ita-as-Emma claims. As the relationship intensifies between Jakob, Freud, and Emma, Ita’s haunting voice lures Jakob into a psychosexual seduction.

September 9, 2010 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: , , , , , ,  · Posted in: Contemporary, Facing History, Literary

VIENNA SECRETS by Frank Tallis

Vienna, 1903, is the pervasive ambiance of Frank Tallis’ book, VIENNA SECRETS. The atmosphere is spellbinding in its depiction of the people, architecture, food, mores, culture, and religious discord of the time. It is also a literary thriller in its finest form.

February 22, 2010 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: , , , ,  · Posted in: 2010 Favorites, Facing History, Sleuths Series, World Lit