Some things never change.
New York City, 1896. Hypocrisy in high places is rife, police corruption commonplace, and a brutal killer is terrorising young male prostitutes. Unfortunately for Police Commissioner Theodore Roosevelt, the psychological profiling of murderers is a practice still in its infancy, struggling to make headway against the prejudices of those who prefer...more
”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 wa ...more
I would describe this as a psychological thriller and detective mystery set in the 1890's and blending a Sherlock Holmes type investig ...more
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 ...more
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 devian ...more
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 ...more
1) 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 ...more
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.
New York City in 1896 isn't the nicest place to live. Outside of the ritzy neighborhoods the apartment buildings are shabby, overcrowded, and smelly; the streets are dirty and dangerous; and whore houses of every kind are prolific and unregulated. Moreover criminals operate freely and government agencies and police are largely corrupt. To add to the city's problems a serial killer is murdering and mutilating children, mostly young boy prostitutes who dress up as girls. The murderer goug ...more
The 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 ...more
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 t ...more
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.
The Alienist by 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 investigator ...more
“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 t ...more
I listened to this on audio, read by the incomparable George Guidall, and enjoyed the story of police detectives, a reporter and a psychologist (called an Alienist back then) trying to track down a serial killer who was targeting boy prostitutes. The prose isn't perfect — at times the author was guilty of info-dumping details of his historical research — but the story clips along at a good ...more
A 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 su ...more
I first heard of this book last year when I heard it was becoming a tv show on TNT, I intended to read it then but just never got around to it. Earlier this year I watched the first episode of the show and found it visually stunning. So like any normal person I decided not to watch another episode until I ha ...more
Personalmente, y como fan en mi adolescencia de la generación beat (fundamentalmente de Jack Kerouac), me ha llamado poderosamente la atenc ...more
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 re ...more
A killer is preying on adolescent boy prostitutes but since these belong to the city’s underprivileged, no one cares. That is ...more
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