Read The Alienist by Caleb Carr Online

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When The Alienist was first published in 1994, it was a major phenomenon, spending six months on the New York Times bestseller list, receiving critical acclaim, and selling millions of copies. This modern classic continues to be a touchstone of historical suspense fiction for readers everywhere.The year is 1896. The city is New York. Newspaper reporter John Schuyler MooreWhen The Alienist was first published in 1994, it was a major phenomenon, spending six months on the New York Times bestseller list, receiving critical acclaim, and selling millions of copies. This modern classic continues to be a touchstone of historical suspense fiction for readers everywhere.The year is 1896. The city is New York. Newspaper reporter John Schuyler Moore is summoned by his friend Dr. Laszlo Kreizler—a psychologist, or “alienist”—to view the horribly mutilated body of an adolescent boy abandoned on the unfinished Williamsburg Bridge. From there the two embark on a revolutionary effort in criminology: creating a psychological profile of the perpetrator based on the details of his crimes. Their dangerous quest takes them into the tortured past and twisted mind of a murderer who will kill again before their hunt is over.Fast-paced and riveting, infused with historical detail, The Alienist conjures up Gilded Age New York, with its tenements and mansions, corrupt cops and flamboyant gangsters, shining opera houses and seamy gin mills. It is an age in which questioning society’s belief that all killers are born, not made, could have unexpected and fatal consequences....

Title : The Alienist
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 6551349
Format Type : Kindle Edition
Number of Pages : 608 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

The Alienist Reviews

  • Jeffrey Keeten
    2019-02-16 03:10

    ***New TV series based on the book is showing on TNT and launching January 22nd, 2018.***”I caught a vague glimpse of human flesh glowing in the moonlight. We took a few steps closer, and then I made out plainly the figure of a naked young boy on his knees. His hands had been bound behind his back, causing his head to rest on the stone surface of the promenade, and his feet were similarly tied. A gag had been wrapped around his head, holding his painted mouth open at a painful angle. His face was glistening with tears; but he was alive.”Some demented fiend is leaving mutilated and brutalized corpses of young boys all over New York City. It is 1896, and Theodore Roosevelt is the newly appointed police commissioner. In a highly unorthodox move, he appoints his old friends Dr. Laszlo Kreizler, Alienist, and John Schuyler Moore, journalist, to a special task force to hunt down this killer and bring him to justice. Too many of the cops in the New York system are just criminals with badges and more interested in graft and corruption than finding a killer, especially one who is murdering nancy boy prostitutes.Hurry or a child will die!What the heck is an Alienist, you might ask? ”Alienist is an archaic term for a psychiatrist or psychologist. Despite falling out of favor by the middle of the twentieth century, it received renewed attention when used in the title of Caleb Carr's novel, The Alienist (1994). Although currently not often used in common parlance, the term ‘alienist’ is still employed in psychiatric hospitals to describe those mental health professionals who evaluate defendants to determine their competency to stand trial. However, in this context, professionals are more often referred to as forensic psychologists.”Kreizler is an unmistakable, unusual character that, once met, you’d never forget him. ”His black eyes, so much like a large bird’s, flitted about the paper as he shifted from one foot to the other in sudden, quick movements. He held the Times in his right hand, and his left arm, underdeveloped as the result of a childhood injury, was pulled in close to his body. The left hand occasionally rose to swipe at his neatly trimmed mustache and the small patch of beard under his lip. His dark hair, cut far too long to meet the fashion of the day, and swept back on his head, was moist, for he always went hatless; and this, along with the bobbing of his face at the pages before him, only increased the impression of some hungry, restless hawk determined to wring satisfaction from the worrisome world around him.”These are early days for profiling serial killers, but Kreizler and his team are using the evidence they are collecting to build a file that slowly adds shape and substance to the shadowy figure killing these young boys. Poverty insures that there are no shortage of disadvantaged immigrant boys to replace the ones who are being culled from the herd. For most of New York, these murders are merely a brief distraction with their coffee or a topic for repartee over dinner. For Kreizler and Moore, it is a situation that becomes more sinister and diabolical the more they learn about the killer.Hurry or a child will die!They add a pair of incorruptible brothers to their team and a police secretary named Sara Howard. Kreizler has made a habit of collecting unusual people over the years. He also has several ex-criminals working for him who add some muscle and street smarts to the group. The trail of this killer sends some of them out west to see if his origins will give them any clues to his motivations. In NY, they interview boys in places like Paresis Hall, where the skin trade is exploited and soiled doves are 12 years old or even younger. They troll the seamiest gin mills and gangster hangouts, looking for any information that will help them close in on this fiendish killer. Brushing the grime, soot, and filth from their close encounters with the sordid nightlife are contrasted with their enjoyment of the splendors of the opera house and the delicious, famous Delmonicos Restaurant. Hurry or a child will die!Their investigation also brings them in contact with the world famous Black Library, owned by the very wealthy J. P. Morgan. It is fascinating how the most unseemly, seedier sides of town always seem to intersect with the most affluent, “elite” society. There are secrets masked by the silk wallpaper and hidden behind brocade curtains. This is the second time I’ve read this book. The first time was back in 1994 when it was first released, and both times I’ve been struck with the authenticity of experiencing Victorian New York from the locations, disreputable and elegant, we are allowed to visit during the investigation to the fog strewn streets as they race to catch a killer before he can strike again. If you wish to see more of my most recent book and movie reviews, visit http://www.jeffreykeeten.comI also have a Facebook blogger page at:https://www.facebook.com/JeffreyKeeten

  • Paul Bryant
    2019-02-16 01:01

    I don’t know about your shelves but my shelves of unread books have become clogged with novels I thought I wanted to read five or six years ago and now I can’t remember why I thought I wanted to read them and since I’ve now read all the ones I could remember why I wanted to read them I’m left with this scurvy crew, and there they are, glaring at me and muttering hey, you, get with the program, read me. And some turn on the waterworks and cry out beseechingly ohhh please mister, I’ve been so patient for six years now, I need to be read. I feel like a right bastard but I have to be honest – why are you there? I ask them. Why are you taking up this valuable real estate? I’m talking to you, Continental Drift, Tiger the Lurp Dog, Imaginary Women and Smonk. Smonk?? What the hell is Smonk? But of course they don’t know. No book knows why you buy it. Just like you don’t know why you’re born. You might think the blurbs on these books could give a clue but blurbs lie. You would have to waterboard a blurb to get anything like the truth out of it but waterboarding is illegal. I have stopped doing that now. Course I do know why some books are there – these are the Novels I Should Have Read By Now. There they stand sneering at me like undone homework – The Forsyte Saga, Sister Carrie, The Way We Live Now, The Ambassadors, Middlemarch – all big enough to bust up your big toe real bad if they fell on it. Herr, herr, he’s scared of us, they jeer. Yer big Jessie.I just about remembered why I bought The Alienist years ago – I love modern Victorian novels like Fingersmith or The Quincunx, and I like a nice gruesome murder and I do believe this novel smashes these concepts together so what could therefore not be to like?I gave it the statutory 100 pages then stopped. It wasn’t bad but I could see where this thing was going and a wave of tiredness came over me. What we have is yet another version of the brilliant Sherlock Holmes (Dr Kreizler) and the tough, dependable Dr Watson (John Moore); plus the usual highly unlikely gaggle of helpers – a giant black guy, two Jewish detectives, a remarkably feisty female police secretary who packs a .45 – really, all from central casting. Should we say, all from Liberal Left Central Casting – once again, all the good guys in the novel have nice progressive inclusive non-racist attitudes. The kind of attitudes modern readers would feel comfortable with, however likely they may have been in New York 1896. And once again our heroes are faced with a giant conspiracy of the powerful who like to prey on the powerless and chop them up for fun. We have been here before. Many times. Really, it’s a little bit corny. But that’s crime fiction. When I listen to doo wop music or blues I know what I’m going to get. When I read a big 500 page novel I don’t want to know what I’m going to get. And now…. onto Smonk!

  • Stephen
    2019-01-24 09:08

    This book was FIZZING which, according to my 19th Century Art of Manliness glossary, means excellent, top notch. Well, fizzing it was. Through most of this book, I had it rated at 5.0 stars as I was absolutely captivated by the writing, the characters and the plot and loved how they were all deftly tethered to a great depiction of late 19th Century everyday life. I would describe this as a psychological thriller and detective mystery set in the 1890's and blending a Sherlock Holmes type investigator (i.e., Dr. Lazlo Kreizler) and a Hannibal Lector/Jeffrey Dahmer like serial killer straight of today. For me, what set it over the top good was the healthy dose of historical fiction thrown in for interesting background. It just gave the book a unique, interesting feel as it had the darkness and grit of a present day "hunt the serial killer" story but with the customs, constraints and daily rituals of 19th Century New York life. In addition, to the excellent job the author did in establishing a sense of place, I also really liked the way Carr incorporated into the narrative several "real life" murderers that were contemporaries of the killer in this novel. This added a sense of authenticity that upped the creepy on the rest of the plot. For example, the book refers to Dr. H.H. Holmes whose murders were depicted in The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair that Changed America and Jesse Pomeroy who was depicted in Fiend: The Shocking True Story Of Americas Youngest Serial Killer). The main character, Dr. Kreizler, was excellent abel focused a great vehicle to carry the plot forward. The pacing was good and mytstery solving aspects of this novel (i.e., the piecing together of clues and discussions of what they mean) about as good as it gets. There is real talent in this work and I was greatly impressed by the read. My one gripe is that I thought the ending, while in keeping with the tone of the rest of the book, was a little flat. I was hoping for a better payoff and ended up with a slight case of literary "blue brains" when I didn't get the release I was hoping for. Thus I lowered my overall rating to 4.5 stars because nobody likes "blue brains." Still I would HIGHLY RECOMMEND this to fans of the genre or just someone looking for a great story. I will definitely be checking out the sequel. Nominee: Bram Stoker Award for Best Novel.

  • Adina
    2019-02-11 02:01

    Update: I am so excited. I just found out there's going to be a Tv series after the novel. Here is the trailer and it looks amazing with a great cast. Can't wait.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JcJQn...I realized that I can usually feel a 5* book from the first 50 pages. There is something in the author’s voice that gets to me. The same thing happened with The Alienist. It just had me at hello. The novel is historical fiction written by a non-fiction author. Although I could feel that background from the attention to the detail he employed in the description of the historical setting, it was never dull and he did a great job to introduce me in the atmosphere of 1896, New York and its underworld. I particularly enjoyed that he used as characters real people (e.g. Teddy Roosevelt) and he mingled them with fictional ones in a way that they all seemed real to me. I was expecting for Dr. Laszlo Kreizler to be an actual doctor from that time and I was quite disappointed when I found out he never existed. This is a very well written psychological thriller which focuses more on the whydunit than on whodonit. I loved how the investigation team came up with the psychological traits of the killer and searched for the perpetrator based on them. It is a novel about the early stages of criminal profiling, quite a fascinating subject. My only regret was that I did not have enough time to read and I had to enjoy this beautiful book in small bites which altered the flow of my experience.

  • Linda
    2019-02-11 07:09

    "In this battle, there are many enemies."And that's an understatement.......The darkly moving shadows seeking oblivion, nameless figures shapeshifting in back alleys and roof tops. The click of heels down rain-soaked streets leading to nowhere and to everywhere. Secrets until they are no longer.New York City in 1896 is a mecca for the meaningful and the meaningless. Police Commissioner Theodore Roosevelt has been faced with the dregs of society: thieves, murderers, brutalizers, and sexual deviants. They swim like river rats through the streets knowing just what hole to crawl into.But this time, there's a killer on the loose whose target is young male prostitutes. His calling card is a savagely violent one. Roosevelt calls in Dr. Laszlo Kreizler whose command lies in the area of psychology and human criminal behavior. Psychological profiling is in its earliest stages along with the newly adopted science of fingerprinting. Kreizler creates a group of individuals including John Moore and Sara Howard. You'll meet a cast of goodies and severe baddies who will either honestly assist or dastardly sabotage the hunt for the killer on all sides of the law.Be forewarned: This is a very graphic interlude into unspeakable crimes on the streets of New York. It certainly is not for everyone. But the writing and storyline are stellar and will play into the upcoming series on TLC beginning soon. I was nearly cross-eyed from reading into the wee hours in order to be ready for the series.And on the flip side.......Here's hoping that these remarkable characters (especially my beloved Teddy Roosevelt) are handed off to worthy actors who will transform this book into a top-drawer experience for those who wait anxiously. Just stick to the book, people, and we'll all be tap dancing like the Rockettes.

  • Bobby Underwood
    2019-01-25 01:01

    Caleb Carr's novel of a serial killer on the loose in turn of the century New York, and the dangerous pursuit of him by Dr. Lazlo Kreizler and his friends is a truly wonderful read. This has so much period atmosphere the reader can almost hear the hoofbeats trotting over the cobblestone streets beneath gaslit street lamps. It is long and exciting, yet not long enough, because by the time you finish, you'll feel like many of these people are your friends, and want to spend more time with them.The riveting story is narrated by Dr. Kreizler's good friend, John Moore. Before you are finished reading this delicious historical mystery you will meet an array of interesting and memorable characters you'll come to cherish. Sara Howard is a pretty and extremely capable woman ahead of her time. Sara and Kreizler's pal, Moore, push the investigation forward against strong opposition from conventional law enforcement. Two New York cops also ahead of their time, Lucius and Marcus, will use footwork and cutting-edge investigative techniques to catch a dangerous killer. A young street urchin, Stevie, saved from a miserable future by the good doctor, and a very loyal servant named Cyrus round out this rag-tag group that confront the unthinkable. They will break new ground, using Lazlo's "profile" to catch a serial killer.When Lazlo's old friend, Theodore Roosevelt, now head of the New York Police Department, is confronted with several murders of boy prostitutes so gruesome in nature that even the most seasoned and hardened of professionals can barely stomach being called to the murder scenes, he makes a decision that will change the face of police-work forever. He unofficially allows Kreizler to form a small group to pursue the killer through psychological profiling. Police secretary Sara Howard, and crime reporter John Moore, a man who knows the underbelly of New York all to well, are two of the main players in this exciting mystery. As they close in on the killer through Kreizler's use of psychological profiling, danger hits closer to home than any of our friends had expected.There are moments so full of flavor in this fine historical mystery that you'll feel like you are sitting alongside the characters at Delmonico's as they enjoy a good meal, and plan their next move. This fine novel is truly memorable, and holds a special place among books I've read. If you love historical mysteries you do not want to miss this one!

  • Arah-Lynda
    2019-02-04 07:20

    Prior to the twentieth century, persons suffering from mental illness were thought to be “alienated”, not only from the rest of society but from their own true natures. Those experts who studied mental pathologies were therefore know as alienists.At two a.m. on March 3rd, 1896 someone comes pounding on the door of John Moore’s grandmother’s house in New York City. Not drunk, nor particularly sober, when called from his bed, John is immediately whisked away by carriage, to the site of the still under construction Williamsburg Bridge on the East River. On arrival he is greeted by none other than Theodore Roosevelt (yes the future president). Still unsure why he is there or why his friend Dr. Kreizler, whose very carriage bore him there, is not in attendance, John casts about and around until finally he lay eyes upon it; the brutally, mutilated body of an adolescent boy. It will not be the last one he sees.As I was reading this I often thought that it read like an actual historic event, being retold as a story. After all Mr Carr first dipped his pen in the nonfiction inkwell. Scattered throughout this story are actual historical figures, which belong in that time and place, such as Teddy Roosevelt, H. H. Holmes and Jesse Pomeroy. And that pen of which I speak, spills magic as Carr deftly transports you to an atmospheric late 19th century New York City, complete with the sights ( street vendors hawking their wares; police corruption and brutality; unwashed, malnourished children running wild), sounds (hooves on cobblestones) and smells (quite disgusting reminders of time before modern day sewage systems) one would expect.It is a first person narrative told through the perspective of John Moore, reporter on the police beat, as a recollection of events past. I know there are readers out there who felt that this robbed the story of some of its tension and suspense, I mean clearly John had to survive to tell the tale, but it did not have the same effect on me. There were plenty of other characters that Carr had me caring enough about to ensure a tight fisted grip upon the page. One such character is Dr. Laszlo Kreiszler, psychologist, or as they were then known, an alienist. Kreizler, at Roosevelt’s request and with his assistance, pulls together a team; including the above noted John as well as two detectives, trained in and excited at the prospect of using new and modern methods such as fingerprinting and handwriting analysis, as well as Sara, Roosevelt’s secretary who has ambitions to rise well beyond her current role in the NYC police department, ambitions which though stubbornly determined to achieve, she recognizes, are not even open for consideration as an appropriate role for a woman in 1896. Kreizler then leads this team, together with a smattering of some of his colourful (I am looking at you Stevie), personal aides through the process of what we today would term as psychological profiling. All very heady and compelling stuff. As the profile, coupled with conclusions drawn from the physical evidence available, begins to take on the aspect of a real person, the team closes in on an absolutely horrific monster. I have also read some negative feedback on how this story comes to a conclusion. Some feel it was rushed or they were cheated of further psychological details, but again I cannot share those views. Given the circumstances, the details already unearthed and the political climate of that time and place, I found the ending realistically consistent with my expectations of what would in all likelihood actually happen.If you are looking for an intelligent, high spirited, in depth, look at the mind of a sadistic serial killer as well as a stroll through the late 19th century streets of New York City then you should most assuredly pick up The Alienist. It is a thumping good read!

  • mark monday
    2019-02-09 02:26

    I guess I just need more than a mammoth miniseries version of a steampunk-era CSI episode. I've never enjoyed that show - what little I've watched of it - because the minutia of forensic science and criminal psychology utterly bore me when they are not tied to interesting themes, characters with depth, or a rich atmosphere. the entirely insipid protagonist made me entirely frustrated. the pedestrian prose made me want to scream. the fact that the cover is the most evocative thing about a novel that should have had atmosphere to die for made me feel like I was dying inside each time I turned the page only to discover 100% plot mechanics and 0% anything of interest besides the, I suppose, "page-turning" plot. the whole experience of reading this book was excruciating. however if you are a fan of CSI, then this is probably a 4 or 5 star book for you. enjoy!

  • Lain
    2019-02-11 04:16

    I tend not to like historical fiction, but this one blew me away. I challenge any thriller-and-suspense lover to try this book and not get hooked by the end of the first chapter. Fabulous.

  • Matthew Quann
    2019-02-06 05:05

    Five Questions to Help Decide if You Should Read Caleb Carr's The Alienist1) Do you love a good thriller?Because what you might find between the covers of this book is a story that is anything but your typical thriller. Though it contains many frights, twists, and tense moments, the pace is much different from your standard fare. Carr chooses to unfold the tale of the shocking murders of child prostitutes as a journey of almost-academic discovery led by the Sherlock-esque Laszlo Kreizler. Though there's all the elements of your run-of-the-mill nail biter, they are spaced out over long periods and occasionally eschew the traditional clip for which the genre is famous. That isn't to say that the book is not compelling or hard to put down!2) Do you like your books thick?Because The Alienist was more of an undertaking than I had been expecting. Carr's formatting of the book as the memoirs of John Shuyler Moore allows him to luxuriate amidst the the 1890's setting that he so convincingly brings to life. At first this felt like unnecessary and I was begging for tighter editing. Pushing past my millennial attention span, I found that by the time the book really starts to pick up, Carr had beautifully established the world and made me care for his characters. Each paragraph is laden with detail, and while not all of it is vital to the story, it helps to enrich Carr's vision of 1869 New York. 3) Did you love Mindhunter?Because I sure did! Though the chronological proximity in which I consumed them likely colours my judgement, I couldn't help but compare Carr's novel to the excellent, David Fincher-directed serial killer drama on Netflix. Both stories feature a colourful cast of characters who rarely shy away from the morally and physically revolting subject matter with which they deal. Like Mindhunter, The Alienist sees the team trading academic insights into the mutilation and murders of the killers whom they hunt and struggling against those who disagree with their atypical methods. Suffice to say, if you like the pace and tone of Mindhunter and can imagine it transplanted into the late 1800's, you'll like this too.4) Do you like a good cast?Because Carr populates his novel with many endearing characters outside of the good doctor, Laszlo Kreizler. Moore serves as a rakish and hard-drinking journalist who is dismayed to have been cast aside by his former fiancé. Moore's narration works, in part, because he is present for all the most thrilling of occurrences, but also because he offers a relatable window through which the reader can view the macabre and academic nature of the team's work. Sara Howard is also compelling in both her natural adaptation to the work and her steadfast struggle against the patriarchy. Mixed in with these three leads are a host of other wonderful characters who were a joy to meet whether they were in the story for pages or throughout. 5) Do you like to do a bit of thinking?Because The Alienist proved to be a much more cerebral novel than I had anticipated. Not only does the book take an intellectual approach to murder-hunting but it also addresses social upheaval at the turn of the century, child prostitution, immigration, and much more. I was a little taken aback at first when I saw how much time Carr intended to spend on the broadening of societal woes. Luckily, this makes for a book that feels both like a challenge overcome and a reward earned by the time I closed its final pages. If you can handle a book that's not only different from your standard thriller, but a bit of a thinker too then you'll be well-pleased with Carr's novel.

  • Nick Pageant
    2019-01-25 04:04

    I just watched the trailer for the series of this being put out by TNT. I thought I would post a bit of a review to try and bring some attention to the book while everyone still has time to read it. This book is fantastic! Anyone who knows me knows that I'm an extremely slow reader, but not with this. I burned through it each time I read it (I think I'm up to three.) The murders are gruesome, the characters are delightful, and, most special of all, the sense of time and place are so well-drawn that you will see, smell, and taste Old New York from the ground up. Do yourself a favor and read this one... then watch the lovely Daniel Brühl solve some crimes in an Austrian accent. https://youtu.be/q9867sT-Y1M

  • Dianne
    2019-02-09 08:04

    Done!!! I LOOVED this Sherlock Holmesian historical fiction thriller set in 1890's New York city. I wanted to get it read before the TNT series starts January 22 - it looks so good! I hope they don't ruin it by making too many changes to the story or the characters. Keeping my fingers crossed - the cast is great!If, like me, you haven't read this 1994 classic yet, I highly recommend it! Great plot, characters and a wonderful glimpse of Gilded Age New York.

  • LDDurham
    2019-02-07 03:02

    I really liked this book. At first, I was a bit disoriented, and really, I blame my own sloppy brain for that. It’s been over a decade that I actually read literature instead of trashy romance novels and/or Internet fan fiction. So when I first started this one, I was in awe of its many syllabic words. I nearly put it down, deciding that my brain had flared out like a star many years ago and had permanently rotted away. But, no! I was able to catch on and looked forward to reading more and more. On a sad note, it was the first piece of fiction I’ve read that did not have any sex in it. I know. I’m awful.The story takes place in the early part of 1896 in New York City. The author was phenomenal in bringing the reader right into the city. I’ve never been to NYC and yet, this novel made it real for me. Not only that, but the small details were amazing. So not only did I feel as if I was in NYC, but I was in turn of the century NYC. Really impressive. The author peppered the text with side stories and information, from describing “the yellow brewery” as the upper crust society called the new and upstart Metropolitan Opera House, to the story of Dr. Holmes, the mass-murderer, and his unrepentant death. The author shows us Sing-Sing prison and little New Paltz. We also see the inner workings of the NYPD at the time and how it was trying to be reformed from a violent group of men who took pay from all the criminals into a working and solid force of crime solving and prevention.Onto the plot:The story is told in the first-person narrative by a New York Times journalist, John Moore. Moore is a good sort of man and knows his way around the city very well. He is friends with incredibly influential people, one of whom is the president of the Board of Commissioners of the NYPD, Theodore Roosevelt. Yes, the twenty-sixth president. Another friend of his is Dr. Lazlo Kreizler. Dr. Kreizler is one of the new and reviled psychiatrists, other wise known as Alienists (since people with mental disorders were thought to be alienated from society) and is the reason behind the title of the book.The thick of the novel is a murder investigation. Someone is killing and mutilating young boys in the skin trade. But the really interesting part is that the investigation is done with amazing “new” technology such as finger printing, which was still not considered evidence for a courtroom, and handwriting analysis. And, of course, the entire investigation hinges on something that they didn’t even think to have a name for: Criminal Profiling. The entire story is engrossing as the killer is put together piece by piece, from a mysterious entity to a real live person with a history and motive. And all this before we ever get a glimpse of him.But we don’t just learn of the killer’s life and tribulations, but also of the team of investigators: Moore and Kreizler, along with Sarah, one of the first women hired by the NYPD (as a secretary, but still one of the first) and of the Isaacson brothers, policemen who have trained in many new and untried fields. We also dabble in the lives of notable historical figures. I am sure I missed a few who made cameos as I read, but they all flow so seamlessly into and out of the story that you never think that the author is deliberately shoving them in there to give the story any heft or weight to it.The only thing that I would complain about was that two pertinent facts of the killer were slow to jump to the investigators’ minds at two separate times. I was mentally screaming, “Wait, wait! Don’t you remember XXX? That’s why!” But for the story I could see why they conveniently forgot. It was a small annoyance compared to the rest of this very intricately weaved mystery.All and all, this was an extremely well written tale and I can see why it’s one of those books everyone has or should read. I’m really glad I tried it out.

  • Agnieszka
    2019-02-05 08:11

    The Alienistby Caleb Carr is a clever combination of a historical, psychological and crime thriller novel. Embedded in a specific time and place, New York, 1896, focuses not only on solving gruesome crimes but also, perhaps even in the first place, finding a satisfactory answer what shaped the perpetrator and made him the man he became.After a series of brutal killings of boys prostitutes a specific team is formed to capture and stop the murderer. Journalist John Moore, two Jewish investigators, feisty police secretary, Sara - the employment of women in the police was still in its infancy, and the most interesting of them, unorthodox Dr. Laszlo Kreizler. He is an alienist, today we would say a profiler and psychologist-criminologist, who strongly believes that no man is born a killer, only individual conditions make him that. Of course this view is not that popular and gives our character a lot of troubles.The main task of our home-grown sleuths is to create killer’s portrait for Kreizler predicts the mutilations the corpses were subjected to are probably mirrored by the real situations from killer's own life. The novel abounds in some drastic, graphic descriptions but it does not feel like just an empty literary device aimed at shocking the reader.If you are a fan of fast-paced crime stories - then stay rather away. The Alienist is a painstaking, even meticulous combining of puzzle elements, citing works from the field of psychology and psychiatry with a special bow to William James, treading dozens of paths and traces. But if you don’t mind a realistic image of a city at the turn of the century, a city full of social unrest and inequality, if you want to get acquainted with the beginnings of modern criminology, if you are not frightened by the tedious and inquisitive detective work - you should feel satisfied. Narration, unhurried and slightly archaic, full of detailed descriptions of places, buildings, even meals makes it easier to find yourself in that epoch. Definitely New York from the epoch came out the more impressive and atmospheric - albeit it's not that dashy and glamorous city Edith Wharton or Henry James presented in their works, rather its dirty underbelly. New York in the novel is primarily a city of thieves and prostitutes, immigrants and the poor; districts of crowded and dirty slums, seedy brothels and dangerous alleyways, the places you could fire a shotgun in any direction without hitting an honest man. Finally, the city divided into specific areas of influence, ruled by gangsters, politicians or church hierarchs.And to end this longish writing a few words about the protagonists. I think Carr took too little care of them; his main heroes feel too stereotypical at times, too sketchy drawn and secondary characters, from the other hand, seem to be too good to be true and the whole relationship between John Moore and dr Kreizler inevitably brings to mind Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson. Also some situations I found a bit far-fetched that just left me with but seriously ?Despite the reservations The Alienist as a whole has provided me an interesting and gripping reading experience.3,5/5

  • LeAnne
    2019-02-07 03:27

    To paraphrase Jules from Pulp Fiction, "Say Marches Carcano chair one more time...." BAM! Sorry. My tolerance for the repeated naming of the characters' fabulous Italian chairs, bought at auction, was shot by the fifth time the overinflated verbiage was used. I don't know, maybe the writer - a history buff - made this furniture up based on a famous murder weapon. A Carcano was what was used to kill JFK, if you didn't know. Anyway, I was ready to fire a gun into these ridiculous chairs myself.EDIT: in trying to give the book its due, I read that the author has gone back to writing non-fiction, military history books. That seemed like a better fit, and I just now clicked on his author profile to see if there were something my son, a military history buff, might like. HA! The first thing I saw was that Caleb Carr read and reviewed The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair That Changed America - he gave it TWO STARS! Oh the irony. Let me back up. I first read The Alienist 20 some years ago. Upon joining GoodReads, like you, I went through some lists of books and gauged my old reads based on memory. It was one of those psychological thrillers popular in the late 80s and early 90s. Patricia Cornwell's forensic murder investigations, the FBI profilers who sought out Buffalo Bill via Hannibal Lecter, those true crime books from Ann Rule, and the cult-fave "why-dun-it" The Secret History by Donna Tart were en vogue with publishers and readers alike. Here, we do have some nice tie-ins to real events and personas from late 1800s NYC. Im guessing New Yorkers will have gotten a kick out of this backdrop - this is like CSI NYC: Century 19.I gave The Alienist three stars then and now a two, re-reading it as a commitment for book club. The story is a Sherlock Holmes-Dr. Watson trope with a token emancipated female, a black sidekick, compassion for the gay community, and a couple of unappreciated-by-the-police-force-but-brilliant Jewish detectives. One of the victims is a kid with middle Eastern heritage, too - the author ticked every box he could including Irish cops on the dole and clergy being paid off by the uber wealthy. He even tossed in some animal cruelty. Lastly, the analysis of abnormal human psychology was about as deep as a write up in Cosmo magazine.Now, if you have never read any true-crime books or novels where profiling is described, then you may actually enjoy this story. But let me better suggest His Bloody Project: Documents Relating to the Case of Roderick Macrae for something also set in the 1800s and about a thousand times better than this! I do confess to having a crush on Teddy Roosevelt and initially was delighted to see his role crop up throughout the book - I had forgotten he was in the story. Unfortunately, the author rather wrote Roosevelt like a caricature of himself, even feeling compelled to insert the appearance of Roosevelt's overly boisterous children, one after another. Yes, I know he was a terrific father and loved his children to be active, but this little section was over the top. We had to hear the exclamation BULLY! way too often. Little stuff that bugged me? There were sections in The Alienist where the characters turned their noses up at hardworking farmers or less affluent passengers on a train, and yet while at the opera, their dialogue slammed New York's upper crust for not wanting to associate with a mere crime reporter and an alienist/psychologist. Aside from the constant mention of the aforementioned Marchese Carcano chairs, their giddiness over opera, the description of multiple six course meals at Delmonico's, and the need to change into dinner clothes gave the entire book a snotty, metro-sexual feel. I'm generally okay with unlikeable protagonists and often get attached to even the most unsavory anti-hero. Here, they were just written too snarky for me to care about.Save yourself the time and effort, and just watch the January 22nd debut of The Alienist on TNT. The costumes and late 1800s backgrounds guarantee to be lush, and I'll bet the screenwriters do a good job with the rewrite. And for God's sake, keep a look out for those ridiculous Italian chairs.EDIT. The TNT series includes a subplot with the journalist who is now instead an illustrator (so we can see the reactions of those who view his sketches of the murdered?) tying to some secret marriage fantasy. The chairs haven't appeared just yet! Ha.

  • Patricia Williams
    2019-01-26 08:02

    This was a very interesting, very thick book. Lots of history and lots of information about forensic psychology and ways to hunt for a serial killer. Lots of good characters including Theodore Roosevelt. It was a long read but I did enjoy it and wanted to read it before the TV series starts in the new year. I think this is a series so I will certainly want to read more. I do become very attached to the main characters. Won't give anything away about the storyline but by second half of book I was wanting to keep reading to find out what was going to happen. Lots of suspense.

  • Julio Genao
    2019-02-21 06:17

    for the NYC nerd: yes. for everyone else: no.i liked reading about old new york more than i liked reading about any of the people in it.historian win;author fail.

  • Chris
    2019-02-04 09:31

    I found The Alienist to be a fascinating and exciting read. This historical fiction takes place in New York City just before the turn of the century and revolves around the activities of one of the first forensic investigations in world history. To try and catch a serial killer targeting young boys, a team of unlikely allies are pulled together by none other than Theodore Roosevelt, then a NY City Police commissioner. The team quickly discover that to solve this case will require them to research, analyze and even empathize with a man who is equal parts predator and prey.Carr's mastery of the setting for this story is astounding. His vivid descriptions of turn of the century New York make you feel that you are right there with the characters. You can see and smell the immigrant slums. You can hear the sounds of street vendors and horse hooves on cobblestone streets. With a background in non-fiction, he has very clearly done his homework for this novel.I found the dialogue itself to be very catchy. Not being a subject matter expert, I'll suffice it to say that it 'felt' authentic. And the cast of characters, including Roosevelt himself, seem to jump right out of history itself for the show.My one disappointment of the novel was it's climax. Although pseudo 'gotcha' was achieved, it felt a tad on the contrived side. I won't spoil anything, naturally, so you'll have to judge for yourself. The ending, as well, left something to be desired, I think.Short of those points, however, I truly enjoyed this novel from cover-to-cover. It reminded me what adventure awaits us when we put a little spin on history and see what happens. If you like an intellectual adventure ride in your historical fiction, you should certainly give The Alienist a shot.

  • Ace
    2019-02-17 03:17

    4 starsA Historical Fiction detective crime thriller mystery with a twist of Holmes? I am not a Sherlock reader, but I imagine they probably read something like this. It was fascinating to be reading about suspect profiling and 'building a case' in a time when cars were still a horse and cart, fingerprint reading was deemed to be a dubious way to collect evidence and women were perfect for secretarial roles but not detective work. Go Sara!I detracted a star because there was just way too much superfluous detail in this book. Some of it was interesting to me, like what they were eating at each time they were dining, which was a lot, but often I was wishing I was reading a print book so I could skim the details of the decor of a room or whatever that added no value or enjoyment for me. Perhaps if GR had a half stars, I would be more inclined to give this a 3 and a half. The narrator was ok, but I wouldn't go looking for more books by him as he did tend to confuse his accents slightly every now and then.

  • Brian
    2019-02-16 05:16

    “Familiar conceptions die hard, and their passage can be damned disorienting.”“The Alienist” is a book I read in a week, and enjoyed a lot while I was reading it. The prose is not especially great, and I do not necessarily think that it has much thematic depth. It is just a nice literary historical thriller, and I enjoyed that about it.Some quibbles: it is decently written, although the dialogue can be stilted. I think this was deliberate on the author’s part to create the cadence and style of the late 19th century, and most of the time it worked. There is also lots of exposition and discussion of psychological motivation in this book. I actually liked that aspect, but I can see why many people don’t. The novel could have been 50 pages shorter and no worse for the wear.However, “The Alienist” is one of the most atmospheric novels I have read in a long time. The New York City of the Gilded Age comes alive in Caleb Carr’s excellent hands. I felt the grit, the extravagant wealth, and most especially the stink and squalor of the tenements. A sense of time and place is very key to the success of this text.Just as successful is the relationships among the novel’s protagonists, a team brought together off the books to track down a serial killer whose crimes are inconvenient for the powers that be in NYC. I believed the relationships and interactions between them, and that helps develop the novel’s sense of fullness. Also fun is Mr. Carr’s interweaving of historical people and events into the narrative. “The Alienist” feels like it could be a true crime story, except it is completely made up!As for the plot, it is one that will have the reader intrigued and disgusted (unflinchingly so) at times, and one that keeps propelling you thru the text. I understand that there is a sequel to this novel. At some point I am sure I will pick it up.

  • Crystal Craig
    2019-02-07 09:08

    Another reader on Goodreads referred to Caleb Carr's, The Alienist as being "historically interesting." Definitely. Another commented saying, "novels like The Alienist seem to be a dying breed." I couldn't agree more. These days, I don't read the number of crime novels I once did, but every so often, I feel the inclination to indulge—you know feed the brain a little, solve a puzzle. Do you know how hard it is to find a well-written, old-fashioned style police procedurals that haven't been hung out to dry ten times already? I found one though, and not only was it worth-while, the characters kept me engaged. The story set in 1890’s New York City. John Schuyler Moore, a crime reporter for The New York Times and Dr. Laszlo Kreizler, an "alienist" (better known in modern times as a psychologist) are on the hunt for a Jack the Ripper style serial killer targeting young male prostitutes. Assisting on the case; Teddy Roosevelt, the future President, currently the police commissioner; Sarah Howard, Roosevelt's secretary, whose ambitions involve becoming a detective; the Isaacson brothers, Lucius and Marcus, veteran police officers who are way beyond their time in their respected fields. I must also mention Kreizler's drivers, young Stevie, and Cyrus. I got a kick out of Stevie and his cigarettes. He was always smoking up a storm. I recommend this novel to anyone who enjoys dark crime, a strong setting, and a novel rich in history.Initially, I gave the book a 4-star rating, but as I conclude my review, I think I'll up it to a 5. I haven't read a mystery novel of this caliber in quite a while.

  • Gabrielle
    2019-01-26 03:17

    This book has so many elements that my twisted little brain loves: Gilded Age New York, historical elements intertwined with the fictional aspects, a serial killer... While this story takes place in Edith Wharton’s New York, a sordid murder investigation takes us places her characters wouldn’t be caught dead in: the underground world of the “flesh trade” and the lunatics’ asylums! The mutilated body of a young “rent boy” is found on the construction site of the Williamsburg bridge, prompting police commissioner Theodore Roosevelt to summon two old friends from Harvard to help crack the case: John Moore, a reporter, and the enigmatic Dr. Laszlo Kreizler, a reputed alienist. With the help of a very ambitious secretary and two modern-thinking sergeant-detectives, they will race against the clock to catch the killer before he leaves more bodies behind – by figuring out why he does what he does. I've always had a fascination for criminal psychology, and “The Alienist” is set right at the time when forensic psychology and science really started taking shape. Add to that a nice layer of political, social and cultural tensions, the risky business of dealing with the criminal underworld and the well-timed revelation of the characters’ background and you get what I consider to be quite a treat.While Dr. Kreizler doesn’t have Sherlock Holmes’ panache, I still loved him: a man devoted to expanding knowledge, doing right by people and catching bad guys in a no-nonsense, single-minded manner. The way he builds this image of a person capable of committing the horrible crimes he investigates, and fleshes out a detailed portrait of their history and motivation is a fascinating process, and wonderfully described to help the reader put the pieces together along with the narrator (yes the homage to the Holmes and Watson dynamic is obvious but imitation is the sincerest form of flattery…). I also admired his compassion: the way he treats his patients, and the former patients now in his employ, made him wonderfully human, something many brilliant detective characters don’t really seem to be…I am still not convinced that the character of Sara wasn’t added to this story simply as the token woman character: yes, she is smart, determined and gives the investigation a very solid lead with her perspective, but I guess I expected her to be even more active and groundbreaking…I read a few reviews where the slow plot was commented on, and I was surprised because I actually found it really hard to put down. It was not a break-neck pace, but there was always something interesting happening at the turn of the page (maybe you have to love meticulously detailed puzzles to find that fun, I don’t know…), which mercifully balanced out the history lesson Carr sometimes felt necessary to pad his story with. While the writing is often riveting, it sometimes lapses into historical info-dumping, when the narrator introduces a historical character: the biographies could almost be Wikipedia articles, which is a bit grating. The use of foreshadowing, while occasionally cheesy, definitely accomplished its goal of making me go “dammit, I can’t stop reading now!” a few times.Overall, a smart, fun, but imperfect historical murder mystery about the inherited cycle of violence with a Henry James backdrop. I’m curious about the sequel…

  • Dalton Lynne
    2019-02-11 02:23

    If I had to sum up The Alienist with one word it would be this: plodding. The description of the book on Goodreads calls it 'fast-paced'. False advertising right there! Fast-paced it most certainly was not. LOLThe book was a bit of a disappointment in various ways. One, I didn't feel much of an emotional connection with the main characters. I don't know why ... whether it was the author's writing style, the time period, or what. But I just wasn't drawn in to their world or their personalities. I cared more about some of the sideline characters than any of the primary ones.Two, it seemed that at any opening, the author took the time to go off on historical tangents that didn't appear to serve much purpose for the plot but felt like they were primarily done to provide a 'feel' for the environment. Sometimes those diversions can work in a book, but more often than not, in this book they didn't. At least, not for me. I kept thinking ... "Get ON with it!!"Three, the ending was rather anti-climactic. There was this huge build-up about the killer and when the 'face off' occurred it was just ... meh. That could have been due to the fact that by the time the ending of the book came around I was eager for it to be over and done with, so there wasn't much I was inclined to appreciate by that point.The reason I can't give the book three stars is because on Goodreads, three stars is for 'liked it'. I didn't really like it as much as I'd wanted to, so a two star label fits better for me - two stars is for 'it was ok'. And that's how I feel about the book. It wasn't great, it wasn't the worst book I've ever read, I didn't really LIKE it a whole lot, so it was just ... okay.My feelings about this book come as a surprise to me, given the great reviews I'd read. I'd been looking forward to reading/listening to it, but by the time it was over I was thinking: FINALLY!

  • colleen the convivial curmudgeon
    2019-02-21 08:24

    I found out after I finished the book that Caleb Carr started off by writing historical non-fiction and that he even first pitched this book as non-fiction, afraid that his editor and publisher wouldn't accept a work of fiction from a non-fiction writer.I mention this because I feel that his background in non-fiction shows through in the writing style - including the descriptions of the city and places in the city itself which I felt were more textbook than evocative. (Granted, judging by the reviews I'm in a clear minority on this point.)Anyway - I was worried, initially, when reading the book because the first several chapters didn't grab me. I found them rather boring, actually, and was afraid I was going to hate the book. (ETA: One thing that kept bugging me was the fact that the narration kept alternating between using first name and last name. For example: "Kreizler switched off the desk lamp and sat back down. I took a blind stab and guessed that the quote was from the Bible, to which Laszlo nodded, remarking..." I found it distracting and jarring, especially during the slow bits.)But once the case got going, the book hit a better stride, and I started quite enjoying the discussions of psychology and the budding forensic field. (Side note to delicate readers - he does go into a fair bit of description about the dead bodies as well as the various methodologies, and some scenes could be rather disturbing for some people.)Actually, at a point a little less than half-way through I decided that the book read more like a true-crime story than a crime drama/thriller, and once I shifted my expectations in that direction I enjoyed it a good deal more - but I think it really helped that I find psychology to be interesting.The reason why I found it easier to read as true-crime instead of crime drama, though, is because other aspects of the story were a bit lacking - like character development, for instance.But then the book stopped focusing on long discussions of said psychology and forensics, tried for a bit of suspense and action (which is did a fair job of), but then it settled back down into a bit of a slog.Arguably the slog is done on purpose, as its during a downturn in the investigation, but there's also some character drama which happens which didn't quite have the emotional impact on me it ought to have because I never really connected with the characters as people so once the focus kind of shifted to that again, instead of the investigative techniques, my interest started waning again. Also, when it did focus on the psychology and whatnot it felt very repetitive in these sections - like we just kept rehashing the same things we discussed at length earlier on.It picked up towards the end - but I had a bit of an issue with the way the reader is brought along the investigation the whole time only to be left in the dark towards the end so that we could be wowed by the various happenings. Aside from that, one thing which kept popping into my head was the fact that the whole thing's a bit far-fetched. Of course, we accept a certain level of outlandishness in crime dramas but here, perhaps because it's presented in such a factual manner, I sometimes had a hard time swallowing that they really were able to figure out as much as they did working from the methods they had. Many of the suppositions were so dead on as to be beyond the pale - and even those which were wrong ended up being at least a little bit valid.Maybe it's because my husband informed me, while I was reading the book, about an article he'd read awhile back which called into question the validity of psychological profiling, and which pointed out that for the few cases were it seems to work, there are a lot of other cases where the profile has been flat out wrong or too vague to be helpful. So I kept finding myself wondering at the level of detail they were able to glean from their profiling, and whether it fell outside of all realms of credulity or not.Though since they did back it up with good old fashioned detective work, as it were - and since it is fiction - I'm willing to give it a pass.

  • Cody
    2019-02-04 09:23

    "He could never turn his back on human society, nor society on him, and why? Because he was -perversely, perhaps, but utterly - tied to that society. He was its offspring, its sick conscience - a living reminder of all the hidden crimes we commit when we close ranks to live among each other. He craved human society, craved the chance to show people what their 'society' had done to him. And the odd thing is, society craved him, too....We revel in men like ___, Moore - they are the easy repositories of all that is dark in our very social world. But the things that helped make ___ what he was? Those we tolerate. Those, we even enjoy..."The Alienist by Caleb Carr proved to be not only a compelling murder mystery plot, but also a fascinating look at the political, sociological, and psychological aspects of New York City at the tail end of the 19th century. Taking place in 1896, the book is seen through the eyes of crime reporter John Moore, and his association with criminal psychologist Lazlo Kreizler in tracking down a serial killer of young boys. Along for the ride is Sara Howard, a secretary to then police commissioner Theodore Roosevelt (who himself also becomes part of the plot.) Prior to seeing the promo for the upcoming show based on Carr's book, I didn't know this story existed. The show looks like it will be good, but I can confirm that the book it's based on is excellent. Carr has done a fantastic job nailing New York City in this time period, as every attention to detail felt completely authentic, from the feel of the city and its different inhabitants to the sociological challenges people felt back then. As a reader you can fully visualise what clothing the characters are wearing, the smells in the air, the sounds of the horse n' buggies against the streets, and the darkness of the night. The title of the book was part of the ever-changing terminology used to describe criminal psychology profession at the time, which to many in mainstream society saw as the equivalent of hokum or even devil worshipping. Fingerprinting and profiling were in their very infancy. We see our characters struggle against the standards of policing as they are forced to break from those traditions to use what general policing/forensics has encompassed now.This book was a treat with regards to the concepts of policing and criminal psychology. I actually have an advanced degree in criminology and find profiling and find the historical era of Jack the Ripper and H.H. Holmes (both referenced in the book) to be ever interesting to explore. Furthermore the book manages to fully encapsulate the darker themes society in New York and the wider United States was facing in 1896 with alarming detail. Examples include the sexism against Sara Howard in her venture in a traditionally male only profession, the prejudice against German, Italian, and Syrian immigrants coming into New York City, or the false notions and outright racism that African American and Native Americans were of an inferior race of peoples. It's these unfortunate themes that add layers to the Alienist and make it more than a simple "who dunnit". Kudos to Carr for examining these themes in the book.The Alienist may not suit all tastes, as the plot can move rather slowly. There are paragraphs dedicated to the historical aspects of buildings or a particular religious movement that not all readers will find fascinating as well. However, none of that should detour someone from reading it, as it goes further in examining characters, concepts, and sociological themes than most books similar to it would dare to, and is all the better for it.

  • Wendy
    2019-02-18 03:16

    The Alieinist, by Caleb Carr, is a time period piece dripping with suspense.The author provides rich detail of New York City during the 1890's, along with explicit descriptions of the cruel manner in which the books killer treated the victims.Dr. Kriezler uses the unheard of method of profiling to catch a vicious killer. Although a long book, it moves along quickly due to the gripping suspense of the chase.A well-written mystery with an early perspective of psychology, criminal profiling and investigative techniques.

  • Kim
    2019-02-11 03:08

    This is a book I've meant to read for a while. It was finally bumped up from its spot down the bottom of my TBR pile thanks to this month's group read for the Mystery, Crime and Thriller Group.Set in New York City in 1896, the novel tells the story of a team set up to investigate a series of murders, mostly of young male prostitutes. The investigation team is the brainchild of Theodore Roosevelt, NYC Police Commissioner in his pre-White House days, who is dedicated to cleaning up corruption in the city's police department and to solving a series of crimes that powerful forces would prefer to leave unsolved. The team is headed by psychiatrist Dr Laszlo Kreizler and includes a couple of eccentric police detectives, a journalist (who serves as the narrator) and a young woman who works as Roosevelt's secretary and wants to be a police officer. What appealed to me most about the book is the historical and geographical setting. Carr makes 1896 NYC live and breathe. The book is packed with descriptions of and information about the locations in which the characters find themselves. In addition, real life identities are woven into the narrative. I had lots of fun reading while checking out people and places using Wikipedia and Google Maps. What I liked rather less are the anachronisms. This aspect of the novel is most evident in the attitudes of the central good-guy characters. To a person they demonstrate remarkably progressive attitudes towards issues of gender, race, class and sexual orientation. The characters seem to belong more to the 1990s than to the 1890s. Another issue I have with the novel is that it has the feel of a contemporary psychological profiler / serial killer story plonked down into a historical setting. I appreciate that this has more to do with my failure to read the book earlier than it has with the book itself. When it was first published in 1994, that sub-genre of crime fiction wasn't as ubiquitous as it has since become. Readers should know that the novel contains some graphic scenes, as is to be expected in a serial murder story. Given what can be found in other novels of the same type, these scenes are not extreme. However, the fact that the victims are children and young people heightens their impact. Overall, I'm glad I finally got around to reading this one. The narrative held my interest and I loved the setting. However, I don't find myself enthusiastic about reading the sequel. I suspect that this will be a once only read, although I would love to read more about NYC in the 1890s.

  • Jessica
    2019-02-10 01:10

    Bleagh.I thought this book was gonna be soooooooo awesome, and I was just gonna love it sooooo much. Everyone loved this book, remember?? Plus it is about one of my favorite periods in American history, and parts of it take place in my beloved Bellevue Hospital (the old one that's a shelter now -- the best example ever of "transinsitutionalization")!Alas, the harder they come, the harder they fall. Maybe I didn't stick it out long enough -- do I ever? -- but I just couldn't stand the writing style. Also, I don't have the stomach I did when I was younger, but I can still handle pretty graphic, disturbing content if it's done right. I didn't feel like it was done right. James Ellroy can give you the gruesome, sensationalistic forensics report, and it works; this guy, according to me, cannot. This book had no soul, or no heart, or something....Ah, but who knows, maybe I was just cranky when I read it. This book had so much going for it -- Theodore Roosevelt! New York City history! Nascent psychiatry! -- that it must be good.... right?

  • Jaanaki
    2019-02-09 02:06

    One of my favorite crime novels which no crime fiction aficionado should miss 🙂.The Alienist is a historic crime thriller .Criminal Psychologists ,those days were called as Alienists and hence the title.The story begins with Theodore Roosevelt 's death on Jan 8, 1916 and we have a group of individuals reminiscing events they had participated with him.The motley group comprises a news reporter John Moore and our alienist Laszlo Krieszler .Slowly,their memories go back to 1869when Roosevelt was police commissioner and how they solved a serie s of murders together in Lower Manhattan.The city's first police officer also joins them in the chase..The book enlightens us on how the modern fingerprinting systems evolved in those days and more importantly on how people viewed psychiatric treatment.The narrative is eerie ,chilly and bleak just as the weather in New York is described in the book .The book also explores the idea that all criminal behavior has psychological roots and is more instinctive than intuitive.ONCE you dive into the story ,the book simply can't be put down .

  • Lashaan Balasingam (Bookidote)
    2019-02-20 02:17

    You can find my review on my blog by clicking here.Hello. My name is Lashaan and I’m a sucker for classics. It comes as no surprise that the year is about to end and you can’t help but admire all those juicy, scrumptious, voluptuous and jaw-dropping novels you’ve had the chance to read. The year 2015 marks the year where I’ve vowed upon myself to read every cult classic and hit novel that have made a name for themselves in the world of literature. Ambitious, isn’t it? Don’t worry. We basically all strive to read books and unconsciously—consciously for some—make it a part of our lives. Doesn’t that mean that we are all never-ending consumer of words, that books will never seize to be published and that they’ll eventually all reach our hands? That’s right. We technically all aim to read everything while never being able to reach an end. And that’s what’s so magnificent about reading. However, what’s troubling about the year 2015 is that it also marks the year where I’ve read the most books in a year and a lot of those are classic masterpieces. It’s in being able to decide what left the biggest impression on my story-hungry mind that scares me. I just can’t answer that. But there is one thing I can say. The Alienist by Caleb Carr is one of my favorite reads of all time.1896. New York City. New York Times reporter John Schuyler Moore is mysteriously brought to the East River. He discovers the corpse of a child placed in the most unusual position. This is where our narrator brings us on a journey for the hunt of the most intricate killer that New York has ever encountered. Following the infamous Dr. Laszlo Kreizler, an alienist (archaic term used for psychologist), they recruit members to an elite secret team meant to catch the killer before the news of a killer spreads chaos in the Big Apple. The story explores diverse theories and hypothesis in order to dissect the mind of a criminal with no face or name. A big whodunit tale with exceptional historical references. The Alienist is definitely a genre defying novel. Historical crime thriller can put this on a shrine and praise its beyond-diamond quality.I’ve never come across a novel that has such a frightening grip on suspense and story-telling capabilities. It’s truly amazing how every chapter is written with meticulous precision leaving readers with a cliff-hanger bound to keep you flipping through the book till dawn. The writing is inexplicably amazing. It manages to draw upon the very essence of every word and make detailed and beautiful sequences for the mind to indulge on. Caleb Carr is without doubt a man with a great way with words. New York has never been this well described. The author doesn’t hesitate to take readers right out of the comfort of their seats and place them right in the middle of an avenue in New York. The story itself is entertainment at its finest, and having beautiful writing to spellbind readers does this book wonders. The plot extends over multiple months of searching, theory-crafting and hunting. It explores theories on the killer based on ideas that historical researchers have shared with the world. While Dr. Lazlo Kreizler is an unorthodox researcher who believes strongly in the concept of context, experience and their influence on an individual’s action, the author confronts multitude ideas, often controversial, to add spice to the tale. In fact, as you progress through the story, every potential hypothesis that you create gets challenged and helps craft a more complex and beautiful profile of the killer.The historical aspect of this masterpiece alone had me salivating from cover to cover. I love how real-life historical characters make their appearances in this novel and have their own unique personalities. In fact, Theodore Roosevelt was one of the most remarkable characters in this novel and his persona was on point. If it was food, it was most definitely delicious. Other significant characters also make cameos and its just as much surprising as it is thrilling to recognize them. Caleb Carr also creates exceptional characters for The Alienist. Kreizler is unorthodox, wise, mysterious and lives in his own little bubble of crazy ideas. A lot of readers can definitely recognize hints of Sherlock Holmes in his manners and actions. John Moore on the other hand can easily be reminded of John Watson. However, these two characters are unique on their own and that’s is really surprising. Caleb Carr does an amazing job with these two and manage to create great chemistry between them. Even better, two other characters are also presented; brothers, in fact. These two have a beautiful relationship that can easily be translated on the big screen through talented actors. Their presence added humor and light to what would otherwise be a dark and heavy tale. This novel contains one of the best set of characters ever presented. Every single one had something to offer and differed from one another. Simply phenomenal.Any fan of crime, suspense, thriller or historical fiction shouldn’t waste a minute, no, a second to read The Alienist. Although the ending can leave a gaping hole in a man’s heart, it is one that can definitely be compensated by the amazing story that you will have red. The Alienist is a novel that will pleasure every sensory neuron in your body. It soothes tortured soul with its dark and eerie story. It simply memorizes individuals who crave for a sinister adventure in the depths of New York. If there’s a book out there that deserves to be read for its beautiful New York inspired world, its unconventional and refreshing characters and its basic, yet elaborate plot, its definitely The Alienist. You’ll feel like you’re right in the middle of the investigation, that you’re contributing in their construction of a killer’s profile and that you’re the one who’s going to put your finger on the man responsible the atrocious murder that brought together Dr. Kreizler and friends together.Yours truly,Lashaan | Blogger and Book ReviewerOfficial blog: http://bookidote.wordpress.com___________________________________I've never come across a novel that has such a frightening grip on suspense and story-telling capabilities. The historical aspect of this masterpiece alone had me salivating from the cover page to the very end. This is without a doubt a genre defining book and any fan of a crime, suspense, thriller with a touch a historical fiction shouldn't waste a minute, no, a second to read The Alienist.P.S. A full review for this will come soon enough.Yours truly,Lashaan