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The Alienist Paperback – October 24, 2006
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From Publishers Weekly
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Library Journal
- David Keymer, California State Univ., Stanislaus
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top Customer Reviews
Dr. Kreizler's team includes his former Harvard classmate, New York Times crime reporter John Moore; Moore's longtime friend, spitfire heiress-turned-NYPD-secretary Sara Hamilton; and two former mental patients who now work as his servants.
To help identify the killer--who leaves behind very few clues, manages to spirit his victims out of locked rooms, and passes through the city unnoticed--the team attempts to develop a psychological profile of the type of person who would be capable of such horrendous deeds. The novelty of their approach does not win them any fans from the mental-health establishment or most NYPD detectives, and throughout the novel, they attempt to keep their involvement secret.
Author Caleb Carr puts his historical background to fascinating use. "The Alienist" is filled with rich details about both the seamier underside and more privileged parts of late-19th-century New York City and the then-novel crime detection techniques.Read more ›
The first thing that most readers will wonder about is the somewhat strange title. What, exactly, is an alienist? Well, as Carr explains, prior to the twentieth century, those who were mentally ill were thought to be alienated, from society and from their own true nature as well. Those who studied the pathology of mental illness were thus known as "alienists."
The plot centers around three friends: a journalist, John Moore; an alienist, Lazlo Kreizler; and a newly-appointed Police Commissioner who just happens to be Teddy Roosevelt. The three are working to solve a series of brutal murders that involves a string of boy prostitutes.
Teddy, as would be expected, is on top of everything and appoints Dr. Kreizler to head the investigation into the murders. Moore is included by association only, it would seem, since he and Teddy went to Yale together. Coincidentally, Moore has only recently returned from England where he was busy covering the Jack the Ripper murders.
Kreizler immediately begins to track the murders using what is known and what is unknown and via assumption as well. The twists and turns in this book are so complex and varied that both information and assumptions change almost as quickly as the team of investigators can piece them all together.
As would be expected, tracking a serial killer in New York City isn't an easy job.Read more ›
The Alienist focuses on Dr. Leo Kreiszler and John Schuyler Moore, who Roosevelt calls in to investigate a serial killer who is targeting boy prostitutes. The three men join to put together a top-notch and thoroughly modern investigative team (including one of the first women allowed to work at the Department) to delve into the crimes with a combination of psychological profiling and novel techniques like finger-printing and crime-scene analysis. What I found most fascinating was the insights Carr provides into the formation of criminal science techniques that we now take for granted.
Carr is a gifted writer with the ability to transport you to another time and place within pages. In addition, he knows how to write a good detective thriller. This one of the finest historical mysteries I've ever read and I highly recommend it.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
at first, it was fascinating. I don't know new York city,,,but fun to learn about the restaurants,,,food,,,tenements,,,crime,,,dirty polictics,,,I could not put it down for the... Read morePublished 23 hours ago by Penny
This is not, scratch that: this is exactly the type of mystery that should be read by someone who invests history with golden-limned nostalgia. Read morePublished 1 day ago by Amazon Customer
Reading this book was truly a chore. The author spends so many words describing the idiosyncrasies of the setting in excruciating detail that he never gets around to character... Read morePublished 3 days ago by Mary
This was one of those books I so wanted to love (I think it was the Stieglitz photo on the front)--but I hated it--in fact the only good thing about this book is that photo on the... Read morePublished 4 days ago by Mary Clancy
The book provides a nice insight into historical New York City, in plenty of vivid details. The story itself however isn't overly original and too wordy for my taste.Published 4 days ago by Lulu168
First, there should be a big old trigger warning on the front of this book. Classifying it as "thriller" does not automatically inform the reader of the terrible things... Read morePublished 5 days ago by Delta Stet
A complex psychological thriller. Gruesome in parts but captured New York of the period wellPublished 7 days ago by L. Peacock
This book was very enjoyable and presented a believable story to the beginnings of forensic science. The storyline moved along at a good pace.Published 14 days ago by Jason S