Disclosure: I received a review copy from the publisher via Blogging for Books.
The last three months- kind of coinciding with the end of winter, I’ve lost a bit of my reading mojo. Maybe it’s because I’m so glad not to be cooped up during the cold temperatures, maybe it’s just because I don’t know what to read next, but in any case, my reading has slowed down quite a bit. I tried reading a few things outside of my usual crime fiction, and unfortunately I was a little disappointed in my foray into nonfiction.
I decided to read Dead Wake by Erik Larson because I’ve heard good things about The Devil in the White City, a true-crime book that centers on the Chicago World’s Fair. This book does not suffer for lack of plot: Larson alternates between the stories of the Captain Turner of the Lusitania, the Captain Schweiger of the German submarine that sank the Lusitania, to the stories of several passengers on the massive ship. I have a love-hate relationship with seafaring novels becauseI tend to get bogged down in the details or the battle scenes, but Larson is good at pacing the story by alternating perspectives. The account of the 31 minutes it took for the boat to sink are the most affecting parts of the book. That said, I wasn’t as invested in the story as I was by, say, Titanic, because the passengers he followed, including a rare book dealer from Boston and a spiritualist, didn’t have large enough portions devoted to them. I would have preferred to read their own diaries and books about the experience than getting the whole boat and battle flavor, but that’s my preference in general.
Despite not being the biggest fan of Dead Wake, I’m still curious about The Devil in the White City.