John Schuyler Moore, a crime reporter for The New York Times, recalls an investigation he was involved with from 1896 in which he and group of others search for serial killer of young boy prostitutes. The killer mutilates these boys in a horrific fashion, yet because they are prostitutes and because of police corruption, there is a lack of real interest in investigating by the local authorities. Moore joins forces with Laszlo Kreizler, a psychologist and others to make a psychological profile and find the killer .
Caleb Carr does a good job in recalling historical details of New York in the 1890's. Moore narrates the book and he is looking 23 years into the past. Using the limited resources of the time, the main characters painstakingly make a profile the type of person who would commit the killings. Forensic medicine and psychology were in its infancy and fingerprints were not completely believed to be of any importance. Carr does bring to life the historical details with sights and smells of 19th century New York. And this is the best aspect of the book. From filthy dark tenements of the poorer sections of Manhattan to the wonderful upscale multicourse meals of Delmonico's restaurant. We get a taste of the limited role of women and blacks at the time. What he fails to convey in this book is characters with any dimension to them. I really did not fall in love with any of the characters. Especially the character Moore who narrates. Little is known about him except he lives with his disapproving grandmother and writes for the New York Times. Carr gives us some mystery about Laszlo Kreizler's past to try to hold the reader's interest but it is not enough to make Kreizler really stand out and be the exceptional character of the title of the book. Carr seems to skim onto certain flaws in the characters but fails to go into enough depth to make the reader really care enough about them. All the other characters have smaller roles as support. What was really annoying about this book is that often the characters worked in pairs and when one had an epiphany and realized an important clue, they would grab the other character and say "we have to go now" without sharing any information with the other baffled character. Giving the book a made for TV feel. I know this was to add suspense but this gimmick was used too often in the book and got old fast.
And there were times in this book where it got just go bogged down in small, small details and just starts to plod. I mean I liked the profiling and I love historical mysteries but at times I needed it to pick up the pace a bit and move forward.
Progressivism solves murder
At times - during the actually events around the murder investigation it was a very suspenseful story.
It was very impressive, and at times unbelievable how Guidall was able to take a room full of different characters and give them each a different personality in their voices.
Guidall is definitely a very skilled orator.
NYC enters the 1900's with it's own, "Jack the Ripper".
Sometimes the characters we one dimensional - Sara specifically - male authors are generally horrible at developing female characters. I guess the opposite is also true.
This book ranks about mid point for content; at the top for the narrator! If anyone else had narrated this novel, it would have bombed.
The news reporter was the best. The author showed his strengths and weaknesses in every situation that was presented.
The narrator's voice and tone places the reader inside the characters and the story.
Yes, it was a little creepy at times.
George Guidall should get royalties also.
My expectations may have been too high going into this novel. It's an entertaining book but I found it overly long, bordering on tedious at times, especially because in essence, it's a pulp novel filled with larger-than-life characters. The Alienist takes a bit too much too much time to get where it's going.That said, the historical setting is interesting and Carr practically makes turn-of-the-century New York into an additional character.
George Guidall's reading is superb, one of the best I've ever heard for an audiobook. He brings the characters to life, raises the tension in scenes where it's appropriate and overall, just does a fantastic job.
Searching and discovering books in the slimmest demographic: adult males.
The characters: you can't help but love each one, and Guidall nails his performance. I wish there more books in this series. character in this story,
A great mystery and engaging story that increases your vocabulary and keeps you page turning... What isn't there to love?
I read this book when it was first released. I enjoyed it then. Carr gives you a vivid look back into the New York of the distant past.
Mr. Guidall is a wonderful performer. I have listened to him read the Vince Flynn series. However,it drives me crazy that he does't pronounce his "th's"! At first I thought is was a character choice. It was not. It takes away from an otherwise excellent performance.
It's a tremendous book, read superbly. I can't drive and read a book at the same time, so this is much better.
He always brings characters to life, doing very good accents and is never monotone. He's my favorite narrator.
Tell us about yourself!
It took a while for me to get involved with the story but when I did it really took off and was worth sticking with it. Teddy Roosevelt enlists an Alienist to put together an unconventional team of investigators to solve a seemingly unsolvable series of horrible murders. Employing new techniques and approaches, the team puts together a profile of the killer and the hunt is on. From the glamorous side of NYC to the underbelly of the great city the team trudges through stories of past horrors contributing to todays gruesomeness.
George Guidall provides the listener with his standard excellent work. Providing an outstanding listen that is fast paced and quite enjoyable
One of the best historical mysteries I've found in a while. A rich period piece that explores some very dark social and psychological themes without being depressing. This is largely due to Mr. Carr's creation of a wholly likable ensemble of smart, witty, flawed sleuths that not only entertain but endear themselves to the listener. The brilliant but wounded Dr. Kreizler, the intemperate, dry-witted NY Times reporter John Schuyler Moore, the genteel, derringer-packing, aspiring woman-detective Sara Howard, and the comical bickering Detective Sergeants, the Isaacson brothers.
The world of 1890s New York City--from Delmonico's to Five Points--is brought vividly to life by Mr. Guidall's accomplished performance of The Alienist. A thoroughly enjoyable novel.