honestly, one of the best books i've read in a long time. there are times where there is a lot of techincal medical jargon, but you make your way through it just to see what will happen next. many a night has been spent with a room full of friends trying to figure out who would play what character if they ever decided to make it into a movie. if you are interested in forensic pathology, this is definitely a book for you. you should also invest in angel of darkness as well. it's a continuation of the same characters in a different case, but just as engaging as the alienist.
I love historical fiction and felt that Caleb Carr did a great job of transporting me to 19th century New York City, particularly the idea that this type of psychological analysis of a killer was breakthrough detective work of the period. Suspenseful read and many interesting and sympathetic characters.
I read The Alienist with my face-to-face bookclub this month and was immediately excited for a couple of reasons. First, we needed a change, having focused on "issue" books primarily, and second, I love serial killer mysteries. There's nothing like a great thriller to keep you company on a rainy afternoon. And this was no exception.
It's Spring, 1896, and the New York City police department is faced with a dilemma. Someone is murdering and mutilating young male prostitutes. Commissioner Theodore Roosevelt brings together Dr. Laszlo Kreizler, a controversial profiler (aka alienist), John Moore, the police beat reporter for the Times, and an assorted cast of trustworthy detectives and friends to take the case. Can this team of unexpected investigators find the murderer before he strikes again?? Guess you'll have to buy the book to find out...
Overall, I enjoyed Carr's vivid description of turn of the century NYC and his ability to write in response to the time period's needs. I don't think he missed a single detail. The ending was slightly anti-climactic though I would not hesitate to recommend the book to anyone interested in this type of novel. I'm on my way to find The Angel of Darkness for more adventures with this funny, endearing group of characters.
AMAZON.COM READER'S REVIEW
Very well-written book. Full of mystery, the haunting sites and sounds of a day gone by, and a clever hero who clutches the reader and takes them on a wild ride into one of the strangest crimes to haunt New York City in history.
I absolutely LOVED this book. Carr has a gift for detail. Because he is an historian by training, his research into the late 19th and early 20th centuries added a great deal to the appeal of this book. Terrifying and left you feeling as though you were in 1900 New York as this serial kill ran loose. Character development was great and you grew to love this misfit cast of very intelligent sleuths.