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.
©1994 Caleb Carr (P)2012 Simon & Schuster Audio
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.
I hear voices. But maybe that's because there's always an Audible book in my ear.
I read this book years ago when it first came out and loved it. When I saw it was available on Audible with George Guidall narrating, I was thrilled. Two of my favorites at one time. How great is that?
First off, let's talk about George. I adore him. He is not just 'the voice' of Walt Longmire in Craig Johnson's series, he IS Walt. So much so, that when I began listening to "The Alienist" I had to keep reminding myself that Walt was not in this book. It took me at least 4 hours of listening before I could get that out of my head. (Victoria Moretti appears, too.)
Now to the book itself... There's no need to rehash the plot - you'll find that everywhere you look. What I find remarkable is how much of New York City in the 1890s comes through in the descriptions. You can feel it, smell it, hear it. You know what it was like to dine at Delmonico's late at night and to walk down dark streets. You get to know the hoodlums and rapscallions. You can feel what it's like to be at the Met. It is totally absorbing. It's true when you read it, but even more obvious when you listen.
This is a splendid book - though dark and gruesome in places - and definitely credit-worthy if you like historical fiction or mysteries.
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.
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