I found this book really interesting from a historical fiction standpoint - an occasionally over-detailed look at late 19th century New York and the lives and circumstances of the people there. The actual murder mystery was secondary, but OK too (though a little like a fleshed out Criminal Minds), and the narration was great. Still, there was a little too much detail and repetition, stretching things a little longer than it should have been.
I love books!
First time author, Caleb Carr, set in 1896 New York City. The author is a native New Yorker so knew a good bit of NYC history and was able to relate it in an interesting way. The story itself was good as the team works on at the time evolving theories and techniques. Understanding mental illness, serial killers, evidence techniques were all in their infancy at this time but the team used as much of it as they could in trying to track down the killer. This is one of those books that was a bit longer but had great character development and a very involved story, the kind of story you can really dig your teeth into if you like these kinds of books. It was an enjoyable listen. And, you can't beat George Guidall as a narrator.
I've spent my entire life around the written word - writing it, editing it, teaching it. So, it's no wonder I also love to read it!
I really liked the opening of this novel -- the setting, the scenario, the narration were all nicely done and set an appropriately gloomy mood. But, then the story takes one detour after another and I couldn't wait until it was over.
But, getting to the end was the worst part...I hated the way the author completed his story. It was unsatisfying and even somewhat hokey.
This was one of my least favorite books.
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.
The plot was unique. The narrator did a fabulous job verbally distinguishing between characters. This story line was complex and well thought out. Great read/ listen!
I almost didn't purchase this title because the sample didn't inspire any great enthusiasm but I'm glad I did. While I wouldn't call this a thriller, it's much too methodical for that, it's a very good procedural mystery set in a time when procedure was anything but standard. Overall, thoroughly enjoyable. 4.5 stars
Taking place at the same time as Sherlock Holmes, though written 100 years later, the book sets up a Holmes-and-Watson relationship between a psychiatrist ("alienist") and a reporter, the story's narrator in true Watson fashion. The story is fairly good, though not as clever as the Holmes stories. What weakens the book is the author's harangue that evil is brought about solely by poor nurturing (bad parenting) and does not exist by nature. But I suppose if we take the book as a 19th century story, it would be 50 years before DNA would be discovered. Medicine still is so amazingly unscientific sometimes.
The best one yet.
Yes! I couldn't wait to hear what would happen next.
A dramatic story of crime history.