Elizabeth Williams's Reviews > The Alienist

The Alienist by Caleb Carr
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's review
Nov 04, 2011

really liked it

The Alienist is a chilling novel that can truly draw in any reader who has a strong interest for gruesome crime scenes, intense scenarios, and a fast paced feel that lures in readers at each turn of the page. We are immediately placed into a story of the "alienated", those with strong mental illness who are then rejected and looked down upon in society because of their differences. After twisted killings of countless children, Moore and Dr. Lazlo Kriezler work hand in hand, devoting countless hours to discover and analyze the savage amusement of this killer. As each murder scene unfolds directly in front of the reader, we begin to play a large role in the story line itself, almost going through and piecing together facts of the crime scene alongside Moore and Kriezler.
As someone who is nearly addicted to shows like Criminal Minds and CSI, this book gave me an opportunity to enjoy unlawful acts in a whole new light. Although this book is far more graphic than originally expected, it strongly plays upon our desire to piece together different clues to come up with a solution to a specific problem. Even though, as a whole I thoroughly enjoyed this books contorted and unforeseen events, the very beginning of this 19th century novel was difficult to get into. It started off slow-paced and quite boring, but once we are brought into a detective like role, the book is most defiantly a good read and well worth the time it takes to get through the book. An element of this book that I found to be very helpful in understanding the entire work was that it provided detailed explanation and analysis as the killer of these young prostitute like boys is revealed to the reader. This book is not one where the detectives come to an out of the blue conclusion with little to no explanation of how they got there. I enjoyed the clear, concise and detailed walk through from the moment of the murder to the discovery of the murderer himself. Although this book is pretty gory and gruesome, these aspects is what made the book so difficult to put down.
Although I thoroughly enjoyed this book, I don't think its a book for all audiences. It defiantly has intense imagery that may be overwhelming to younger readers. If your a person that is into bone- chilling mysteries, and morbid plot twists then Caleb Carrs, The Alienist, is a book to consider adding to list of books to read.
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