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Historical Fiction > HF July 2016 - The Alienist

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Em Lost In Books (emlostinbooks) Blurb

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.



message 2: by Smitha (new)

Smitha (embeddedinbooks) | 2936 comments Hi..shall start by tomorrow after wrapping up 2 of my current reads.


Em Lost In Books (emlostinbooks) I will also start it this evening.


message 4: by Jaya (new)

Jaya I am reading in fits and starts will do so properly by tonight


message 5: by Jarvis (new)

Jarvis 2017? :3


Em Lost In Books (emlostinbooks) Gehna wrote: "2017? :3"

What 2017? *innocent look*


message 7: by Jaya (new)

Jaya :D


message 8: by Jarvis (new)

Jarvis You know, I actually took a screenshot :3


message 9: by Smitha (new)

Smitha (embeddedinbooks) | 2936 comments what's the conundrum? reg. 2017?


message 10: by Em Lost In Books (new)

Em Lost In Books (emlostinbooks) Jaya & Smitha: How many chapters you have read? Am in fifth and its very detailed so far.


message 11: by Smitha (new)

Smitha (embeddedinbooks) | 2936 comments chapter 1. :-(


message 12: by Jaya (new)

Jaya Am at the third one, after restarting


message 13: by Jaya (new)

Jaya Is this the same Theodre Roosevelt, the U.S President? What exactly ia he supposed to be, professionally i mean. Is that factual or fictitious? Any ideas?


message 14: by Smitha (new)

Smitha (embeddedinbooks) | 2936 comments I think it is the same. I just reached the flashback when the 3 are friends.


message 15: by Jaya (new)

Jaya how is it going? am not getting any time to read anything *howls*
except for a page or two


message 16: by Smitha (new)

Smitha (embeddedinbooks) | 2936 comments I started in earnest today morning. The flashback story just started.


message 17: by Em Lost In Books (new)

Em Lost In Books (emlostinbooks) Jaya wrote: "how is it going? am not getting any time to read anything *howls*
except for a page or two"


same here. -____-


message 18: by Viji (new)

Viji | 34 comments It initially sagged a bit and after some time really took off for me. I enjoyed it very much. When I started it, I didn't expect to enjoy it much but surprised to find it moving fast once I got into it.


message 19: by Jaya (new)

Jaya Viji wrote: "It initially sagged a bit and after some time really took off for me. I enjoyed it very much. When I started it, I didn't expect to enjoy it much but surprised to find it moving fast once I got int..."

Ahh thats encouraging, then! How many starred rating was it for you, btw? Just curious :))


message 20: by Em Lost In Books (new)

Em Lost In Books (emlostinbooks) Jaya wrote: "Viji wrote: "It initially sagged a bit and after some time really took off for me. I enjoyed it very much. When I started it, I didn't expect to enjoy it much but surprised to find it moving fast o..."

yes tell us and do join the discussion once we start it in earnest. :)


message 21: by Smitha (last edited Jul 16, 2016 11:13PM) (new)

Smitha (embeddedinbooks) | 2936 comments At 10%, and 5 chapters completed. Not very scintillating or attention drawing. Hence have decided to do 5% a day and finish it off, unless I am really hooked into,the story. (no great hopes, as of now).


message 22: by Jaya (new)

Jaya mon dieu!
(This reminds me of your similar schedule for flood of fire and recall how it tuned out :-o)
Between this and Manju's update, am feeling discouraged to read it :(


message 23: by Smitha (new)

Smitha (embeddedinbooks) | 2936 comments Dont heed us. Somebody had mentioned somewhere that it gets better later. Hence am sticking on.


message 24: by Jaya (new)

Jaya Yes, well, since i was soo hellbent on reading it, il continue ;)


message 25: by Em Lost In Books (new)

Em Lost In Books (emlostinbooks) Am going out to Bangla sahib today with friends. Will get reading time only in evening.

Not all HF books are gripping right from the start. But reviews are very good for this so my expectations are high.

And Jaya you can't abandon it, its your pick after all. You have to read it.:P


message 26: by Jaya (new)

Jaya >_<
My office is just 5 mins away from there manju! Enjoy your outing(in this downpour)
And yes :D thats why i said, cant abandon it


message 27: by Smitha (new)

Smitha (embeddedinbooks) | 2936 comments Enjoy your outing, Manju :-)


message 28: by Viji (new)

Viji | 34 comments Jaya wrote: "mon dieu!
(This reminds me of your similar schedule for flood of fire and recall how it tuned out :-o)
Between this and Manju's update, am feeling discouraged to read it :("


Jay a, Pl. Don't give up . It is really good.


message 29: by Jaya (new)

Jaya Really I wont ^.^
At chapter 5 as of now...


message 30: by Em Lost In Books (new)

Em Lost In Books (emlostinbooks) Jaya wrote: ">_<
My office is just 5 mins away from there manju! Enjoy your outing(in this downpour)
And yes :D thats why i said, cant abandon it"


It was raining when we reached there but stopped once we came out of there.;) but still its very humid.:(


message 31: by Jaya (new)

Jaya Read about 10% a lot of contextual political and social information (which am not interested in), making me antsy. So stopping hereabouts for the day...


message 32: by Dani (last edited Jul 18, 2016 03:32AM) (new)

Dani Hi all,
I started The Alienist before joining RR, so I'm 4 chapters away from the end (which I think I will finish up tonight). I had a real tough time getting into this story, especially at the beginning (so I can totally see why Jaya and Smitha are struggling) since there's too much research slowing the story and the pace down. But the writing is good and I've wanted to read this for some time, so I stuck with it and as the story progresses, the info dumps do decrease a bit and the pace picks up too (somewhere between Part II and III). So it does get better. However, I must say that I didn't enjoy the novel as much as I thought I would. It had all the ingredients I love (well except for the graphic descriptions - I could've done without those), but apparently, that doesn't guarantee anything.
But who knows. I still have to read the last chapters, so my opinion of it may change for the better still.


message 33: by Smitha (new)

Smitha (embeddedinbooks) | 2936 comments hi Dani. Am at 15% - the part where autopsy is being done on twins. It is getting better.


message 34: by Jaya (new)

Jaya Hi Dani!!
Thanks for sharing your inputs, gives me another impetus to read on. I am not familiar with America history, at all, so all these debates and discourse about the politics of prostitution, mental illness etc is giving me a brainfreeze :-( managed only a few pages today
How is Manju fairing? Manju, where art thou?


message 35: by Smitha (new)

Smitha (embeddedinbooks) | 2936 comments hi Jaya, am at 20% now. I didn't find the history off putting, but can't say its been a scintillating read so far. Hoping for it to get better as I progress.


message 36: by Jaya (new)

Jaya Smitha wrote: "hi Jaya, am at 20% now. I didn't find the history off putting, but can't say its been a scintillating read so far. Hoping for it to get better as I progress."

Cool! Am not getting much time to read at all, whatever time is there, am wasting here :P


message 37: by Smitha (new)

Smitha (embeddedinbooks) | 2936 comments ha ha... same here. After good reads, paradoxically reading time has come down


message 38: by Jaya (new)

Jaya Okay il rephrase, whatever time am getting, i am spending/utilizing it here :D
And yes GR plays a havoc to my reading schedule, not complaining though...


message 39: by Em Lost In Books (new)

Em Lost In Books (emlostinbooks) am really struggling. finished chapter 5 last night. :( so smitha's "its getting better" is a good news.


message 40: by Smitha (new)

Smitha (embeddedinbooks) | 2936 comments At 25%, its getting better. Lots of info about development of forensics, which is one of my pet subjects.


message 41: by Jaya (new)

Jaya Smitha wrote: "At 25%, its getting better. Lots of info about development of forensics, which is one of my pet subjects."

I was thinking of you when i was reading those bits :)
But a lot of medical terminologies of the human body which sounds like greek to me :D
And yes its moving more swiftly now maybe with the intoduction of new characters...


message 42: by Jaya (new)

Jaya Am onto part two, around 27% :)


message 43: by Smitha (new)

Smitha (embeddedinbooks) | 2936 comments Shall catch up in the evening.,
I loved forensic med in my MBBS and was one of the top scorers in that and pathology. But did not opt to choose it for PG as in India, the life of a forensic pathologist is not a bed of roses. There would be too much of higher up influences and coercion.


message 44: by Jaya (new)

Jaya On another note, do you know of/recommend any good mystery on jack the ripper?


message 45: by Em Lost In Books (new)

Em Lost In Books (emlostinbooks) am putting this on hold for now. really not in mood for this now. will pick it later. hopefully will read your positive reviews. :)


message 46: by Jaya (last edited Jul 20, 2016 08:01PM) (new)

Jaya Hey Manju, thats allright :)
I am also not reading much of anything right now...so going to finish it in my own time.


message 47: by Smitha (new)

Smitha (embeddedinbooks) | 2936 comments Sure, Manju. it is highly technical, and if you don't have a background knowledge of old theories in psychiatry and in forensics, it can be a bit tedious and dry.


message 48: by Jaya (new)

Jaya reached 40% there was a, what one might say, a revelation...
Honestly, i am yet to connect with any of the characters, they all seem two-dimensional to me, despite of the lengthy background stories.
And i dont like Moore much, he is irritating


message 49: by Smitha (new)

Smitha (embeddedinbooks) | 2936 comments Am at 35%, finding it okay, not very scintillating.
I too didn't connect with any of those people. Everybody seem lifeless and far removed.


message 50: by Smitha (new)

Smitha (embeddedinbooks) | 2936 comments Have crawled up to 40%. Learning about the history of finger printing, calligraphy, early views on insanity and schizophrenia.
The technical details are interesting to me, only because I love psychiatry and psychology. The story as such is crawling at the pace of a drugged tortoise.


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