New Nonfiction: Dark Invasion – Howard Blum

Howard Blum is one of those authors who writes history so vividly it feels like you’re reading a movie. Part of his talent is finding a character to frame the plot around, giving his histories a strong narrative thrust. So perhaps it won’t be a surprise that this sizzling true-life story of a police inspector who uncovers and stops a German terrorist plot in WWI is being developed as a movie starring Bradley Cooper.

Blum’s previous work has been called “unabashedly entertaining” (Salon) and “wildly compelling” (Kirkus). His American Lightning was a terrific read and won the Edgar Award. I expect that this chilling story of terrorists plotting to use explosives and biological weapons against New York, the Capital and other urban targets in 1915 will have a special resonance and reach a wide readership.

Booksellers, keep an eye on this one. With great advance reviews and coverage by the WSJ, USA Today, Vanity Fair and NPR’s Fresh Air, the one could pop.

Terrifically engaging and pertinent tale of the New York City bomb squad that foiled German terrorist plots against the United States at the outbreak of World War I. Vanity Fair contributor Blum masterly retrieves this largely forgotten, haunting history of Germany’s subversive attempts to halt the U.S. ability to send munitions to the Allies fighting against it in Europe. The author pursues the key players in an episodic narrative…creates some memorable portraits, accompanied by a lively gallery of photos, and keeps the heroic good-versus-evil plot simmering along in a nicely calibrated work of popular narrative history. Instructive, yes, but also as engrossing as good detective fiction.”
Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

“Blum’s central figure, police inspector Tom Tunney, an experienced undercover operative, was assigned to break what British intelligence had demonstrated to its U.S. counterparts was a terrorist operation…. “There was no specific law against espionage” in 1915, but as his well-financed opponents escalated their efforts to the point of attempted murder—of no less a figure than J.P. Morgan—and to projects for germ warfare, including anthrax, Tunney formed a picture, found “an angle of attack,” closed in, and made arrests. Blum’s narrative of America’s first exercise in homeland security is a worthwhile page-turner, combining the best features of a police procedural and a spy novel with a firm base in verifiable events.”
Publishers Weekly

“Howard Blum’s story of the sinister and scary German terror attacks on America 100 years ago reads more like a le Carré novel than a meticulous reconstruction of history. But the fact that it’s true makes Dark Invasion all the more riveting. This is a terrific spy story.”
— Cokie Roberts

Check out this nifty video!


Dark Invasion: 1915: Germany’s Secret War and the Hunt for the First Terrorist Cell in America (9780062307552) by Howard Blum. $27.99 hardcover. 2/11/14 on sale.

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