Secret Societies and A Mystery Solved

The Booklover’s Rating:  ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ 

A friend of mine has been extolling the virtues of Matthew Pearl for quite some time, she ia a true fan and was always encouraging me to read his books.  She just knew that I would enjoy them and she was right!

The Technologists is a thriller about the very first class at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) at a time when the idea of teaching science and technology was considered a danger to society.  A series of scientific disasters spreads throughout Boston, and a small group of students from the class of 1868 come together to uncover the source of the menace. They form their own Secret Society known as – you guessed it – The Technologists.  Included among the members of the Secret Society is Ellen Swallow, the very first female student at MIT who is hidden away from the public like a “dangerous animal.”   The fight to discover the cause of the disasters soon becomes a fight for the very life of MIT.

Matthew Pearl has made the seemingly uninteresting beginnings of one of the world’s premier educational institutions into a thriller worth reading.  His incorporation of MIT’s William Barton Rogers and other historical figures makes the science and technology aspect of the novel interesting rather than a drag, which I must admit I feared!  If you like historical fiction, this is a must read.  If you haven’t read Matthew Pearl, but like Caleb Carr and Stephanie Pintoff, pick up a copy of The Technologists soon.

I received an Advanced Reader’s Edition of this book free from Random House. I was not required to write a positive review and the opinions I have expressed are my own.

Book Details:  Published by Random House (February 21, 2012), 496 pages, ISBN: 1400066573.

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Book Review: In the Shadow of Gotham

The Booklover’s Rating:  ♥ ♥ ♥

This is a first novel by Stefanie Pintoff’ and a winner of the first Minotaur Books/MWA Best First Crime Novel award.  I choose this book because I had enjoyed Caleb Carr’s book The Alienst and hoped for something similar.  This book is good, but does not have the depth of Caleb Carr’s novel.

The following review is from Publisher’s Weekly:
The wreck of the steamship General Slocum in 1904 cost Det. Simon Ziele of the New York City police both his fiancée and the full use of his right arm. In response to those losses, Ziele has abandoned big-city policing for the quiet dullness of Dobson, a town in Westchester County, but a brutal murder interrupts his retreat from the world. Someone slashes and bludgeons to death Sarah Wingate, a Columbia mathematics graduate student whose brilliance evoked jealousy in her peers, in her home under circumstances that resemble the notorious murders of Lizzie Borden’s parents. Ziele’s investigation is soon co-opted by Alistair Sinclair, a student of criminology who’s convinced he knows the culprit’s identity. The period detail, characterizations and plotting are all top-notch, and Ziele has enough depth to carry a series.

This book is a quick read – great for the plane or train.  I only gave the book three hearts, but am looking forward to Ms. Pintoff’s next work and expect that her books will only get better and better.

Book Details: Published by Minotaur Books (April 28, 2009), 400 pages, ISBN-10: 0312544901, ISBN-13: 978-0312544904.