Book Review: Thunderstruck by Erik Larson

One of my favorite genres of books is one I’ve often seen referred to with the somewhat lengthy name “nonfiction that reads like fiction.” While I think we need to come up with a shorter, catchier name for this genre (if you know of one already, please let me know), it seems to me that books written in such a style are becoming more common.

The most recent one I’ve finished is Thunderstruck by Erik Larson. I was already somewhat familiar with his work, having read The Devil in the White City (for which Larson won the Edgar Award) a few years ago. That book was actually my first foray into this genre and I highly recommend it.

But back to Thunderstruck: it reads like a fast-paced thriller, yet every bit of it is true. It tells two stories: Marconi and the advent of wireless and London’s second most famous murder. The chapters alternate between these two stories and eventually climax when the modern invention has a startling impact on the murder investigation.

The book is long: 480 pages in the hardcover edition (though that does include many pages of notes at the end). Despite the length, however, this is a quick read. The chapters themselves are fairly short and so engaging that once you start reading you’ll probably forget to stop. I read the majority of the book in just one day.

If you’re looking for a book to get lost in, Thunderstruck should do the trick.

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2 Responses to Book Review: Thunderstruck by Erik Larson

  1. meg says:

    Sounds good!

  2. […] Book Review: The Lost Painting by Jonathan Harr The Lost Painting by Jonathan Harr is yet another nonfiction book that reads like fiction. […]

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