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The Alienist by Caleb Carr
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The Alienist

by Caleb Carr

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Laszlo Kreizler (1)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
7,121185505 (3.96)302
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» See also 302 mentions

English (179)  Spanish (2)  French (2)  Dutch (1)  Polish (1)  All (185)
Showing 1-5 of 179 (next | show all)
Excerpts from my original GR review (Sep 2009):
- This book I happened to read twice, about 10 years apart. It is a haunting crime thriller set in gilded age New York City. A mutilated young body is discovered, and police commissioner Theodore Roosevelt assigns "alienist" Dr Lazlo Kreizler and crime reporter and former college roommate of Kreizler, John S Moore, the covert task of tracking the clearly warped killer. They are joined by police secretary Sara Howard, former love interest of Moore. Also on the case are the brothers Marcus and Lucius Isaacson, who add a shifting angle of discovery (and a bit of humor) to the narrative.
- The characters and the interplay are well done by Carr. His writing is nuanced, descriptive. My only complaint is he draws out some passages and dialogues a bit much, which bogs down the pacing... The plot itself is fine, and the dark mystery he paints throughout keeps the reader enthralled... I'd recommend The Alienist for anyone leaning toward macabre crime fiction or New York history. Be patient and you'll be rewarded. ( )
  ThoughtPolice | May 3, 2018 |
This had all the elements of a book that I would love-murder mystery, historical fiction, strong female character (though ultimately the role Sara plays kind of disappoints)-but in the end it simply didn't do it for me. Not enough action for a murder mystery, and way too much explanation. Not bad, just...meh. ( )
  gossamerchild88 | Mar 30, 2018 |
If you have a cable subscription you have probably already heard of the new TNT show coming out in late January. It is based on The Alienist by Caleb Carr. Have you seen the trailer? Are you planning to watch? I definitely am. I loved the book, plus *gasp* Luke Evans is in it. Excuse me while I fangirl for a moment.

I first read this book back in 1995. It was stunning. I have long been a fan of all things Victorian, so a psychological thriller based in 1896 New York was right up my alley. The book surprised me a little as it couldn’t have been further from the usual turn of the century thriller. This is not, Sherlock Holmes or the Moonstone, it presents a far grittier vision of that period in time.

Dr. Kreizler is an “Alienist”, a forerunner of the current day criminal psychologist. Someone has been brutally murdering young boys in New York City and the good Doctor has assembled a team to discover why. In the hopes that finding out WHY will lead them to the most important truth … WHO. He chooses a team made up of outsiders, people who would not normally be chosen to head an investigation of this import. Two young, unproven Jewish detectives, a profligate newspaper man of privilege, and a bold, brilliant woman.

The author of this book is also a military historian. His knowledge of the time period results in a setting that is incredibly detailed. What sets this book apart is the depth of research the author did in it’s writing. The intense corruption of law enforcement agencies, the power of crime syndicates in the city, and rigid social structures hamper the investigation at every turn. The author shines a light on the societal issues surrounding the abuse of children and child sex trafficking as well as the expected persistent misogyny and racism that are a hallmark of that time. This is the rare thriller that gives the reader a lot to think about.

If you’re squeamish then this book is not for you. It is unflinching in its depiction of violence and abuse. If you can put that aside, then you’re in for a treat. I found it fascinating. I’m definitely watching the show (Luke Evans 😉) and I hope you’ll pick up the book too! ( )
  lostnagoodbk | Mar 23, 2018 |
Great Book. Carr really nails the lid on this story. The characters are so vivid that it's unnerving and uncomfortable. I believe that is a good thing. It is nice to see that a decent television adaptation is out. Carr literally has you believing that everyone of his characters are capable of committing these murders until the end. And even after that you close the book and still wonder if you read the right thing. Very graphic, but smart, literate and well layered. ( )
  Joe73 | Mar 22, 2018 |
This book had so much depth and detail and oh so graphic. BUT... I couldn’t put it down. It was a challenging read but such an interesting look at early criminal investigation. I watched the first two episodes on TNT last night and all I can think is GASTON!!!! I can’t stop seeing Moore as being Gaston. #beautyandthebeastprobs 🕵🏻‍♂️🕵🏻‍♂️🕵🏻‍♂️🕵🏻‍♂️​ detectives did this one. ( )
  karenvg3 | Mar 19, 2018 |
Showing 1-5 of 179 (next | show all)

» Add other authors (44 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Caleb Carrprimary authorall editionscalculated
Dobson-Wright, ReneeCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Guidall, GeorgeNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
"They who would be young when they are old, must be old when they are young."

John Ray, 1670
2017 edition:
Whilst part of what we perceive comes through our senses from the object before us, another part (and it may be the larger part) always comes out of our own mind.
--William James
The Principles of Psychology
2017 edition:
These bloody thoughts,
from what are they born?
--Piave,
from Verdi's Macbeth
Dedication
This book is dedicated to

Ellen Blain, Meghann Haldeman,

Ethan Randall, Jack Evans,

and Eugene Byrd
2017 edition:
This edition is dedicated to
Those Readers Who Made It Possible
and to the memory of
Dr. David Abrahamsen
First words
January 8th, 1919

Theodore is in the ground.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Haiku summary

Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0812976142, Paperback)

The year is 1896, the place, New York City. On a cold March night New York Times reporter John Schuyler Moore is summoned to the East River by his friend and former Harvard classmate Dr. Laszlo Kreizler, a psychologist, or "alienist." On the unfinished Williamsburg Bridge, they view the horribly mutilated body of an adolescent boy, a prostitute from one of Manhattan's infamous brothels.

        The newly appointed police commissioner, Theodore Roosevelt, in a highly unorthodox move, enlists the two men in the murder investigation, counting on the reserved Kreizler's intellect and Moore's knowledge of New York's vast criminal underworld. They are joined by Sara Howard, a brave and determined woman who works as a secretary in the police department. Laboring in secret (for alienists, and the emerging discipline of psychology, are viewed by the public with skepticism at best), the unlikely team embarks on what is a revolutionary effort in criminology-- amassing a psychological profile of the man they're looking for based on the details of his crimes. Their dangerous quest takes them into the tortured past and twisted mind of a murderer who has killed before. and will kill again before the hunt is over.

        Fast-paced and gripping, infused with a historian's exactitude, The Alienist conjures up the Gilded Age and its untarnished underside: verminous tenements and opulent mansions, corrupt cops and flamboyant gangsters, shining opera houses and seamy gin mills. Here is a New York during an age when questioning society's belief that all killers are born, not made, could have unexpected and mortal consequences.


From the Paperback edition.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:14:44 -0400)

(see all 6 descriptions)

When a madman begins stalking victims on the streets of 1896 New York, a team of investigators is forced to apply radical and untested techniques that include fingerprinting and the controversial science of psychology.

» see all 6 descriptions

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