The AlienisteBook - 2006
"A first-rate tale of crime and punishment that will keep readers guessing until the final pages."-- Entertainment Weekly
"Caleb Carr's rich period thriller takes us back to the moment in history when the modern idea of the serial killer became available to us."-- The Detroit News
When The Alienist was first published in 1994, it was a major phenomenon, spending six months on the New York Times bestseller list, receiving critical acclaim, and selling millions of copies. This modern classic continues to be a touchstone of historical suspense fiction for readers everywhere.
The year is 1896. The city is New York. Newspaper reporter John Schuyler Moore is summoned by his friend Dr. Laszlo Kreizler--a psychologist, or "alienist"--to view the horribly mutilated body of an adolescent boy abandoned on the unfinished Williamsburg Bridge. From there the two embark on a revolutionary effort in criminology: creating a psychological profile of the perpetrator based on the details of his crimes. Their dangerous quest takes them into the tortured past and twisted mind of a murderer who will kill again before their hunt is over.
Fast-paced and riveting, infused with historical detail, The Alienist conjures up Gilded Age New York, with its tenements and mansions, corrupt cops and flamboyant gangsters, shining opera houses and seamy gin mills. It is an age in which questioning society's belief that all killers are born, not made, could have unexpected and fatal consequences.
Praise for The Alienist
"[A] delicious premise . . . Its settings and characterizations are much more sophisticated than the run-of-the-mill thrillers that line the shelves in bookstores." -- The Washington Post Book World
"Mesmerizing." -- Detroit Free Press
"The method of the hunt and the disparate team of hunters lift the tale beyond the level of a good thriller--way beyond. . . . A remarkable combination of historical novel and psychological thriller." -- The Buffalo News
"Engrossing." -- Newsweek
"A ripsnorter of a plot . . . a fine dark ride." -- The Arizona Daily Star
"Remarkable . . . The reader is taken on a whirlwind tour of the Gilded Age metropolis, climbing up tenement stairs, scrambling across rooftops, and witnessing midnight autopsies. . . . A breathtaking, finely crafted mystery." -- Richmond Times-Dispatch
"Gripping, atmospheric . . . intelligent and entertaining." -- USA Today
"A high-spirited, charged-up and unfailingly smart thriller." -- Los Angeles Times
"Keeps readers turning pages well past their bedtime." -- San Francisco Chronicle
"Harrowing, fascinating . . . will please fans of Ragtime and The Silence of the Lambs ." -- The Flint Journal
From the critics
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SummaryAdd a Summary
Dr. Laszlo Kreizler is a child psychologist who learns of a series of brutal killings in 1896 New York City. Believing that criminal minds can be formed early in childhood, he introduces the idea of profiling. To identify and apprehend the killer, he puts together a team of investigators to delve into the dark underworld of the city, using scientific methods that were state-of-the-art at the time, such as fingerprinting. Told through the eyes of Kreizler's long-time friend and journalist John Schuyler Moore, the detailed description of New York City and its people (including historical figures Theodore Roosevelt and J.P. Morgan) on the verge of the 20th century is clever and entrancing. Those who enjoy Sherlock Holmes will certainly enjoy the cool, calculating Dr. Kreizler, who, as a prophet of 20th forensics, uses science and not just logic, to solve the crime.
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