The Alienist / Edition 1

The Alienist / Edition 1

4.3 312
by Caleb Carr

ISBN-10: 0553572997

ISBN-13: 2900553572994

Pub. Date: 06/28/1995

Publisher: Random House Publishing Group

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…  See more details below


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.

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Product Details

Random House Publishing Group
Publication date:
Alienist Series, #1
Edition description:
New Edition

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The Alienist 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 312 reviews.
JGolomb More than 1 year ago
Wow. What a read. I don't think I've gone through 600 pages faster than I did with "Alienst" over the past week. The story is exciting. The writing is vivid. And the characters are interesting. Think of this as CSI - New York - 1896. The story: a turn of the century psychologist, a crime reporter, Theodore Roosevelt, and a few other detectives and support staff search for a serial killer who's horribly butchering children in New York City. There are virtually no lulls in the story, as author Carr drops clue after clue, and slowly builds up an empirical profile of the mysterious killer. There are no obvious points to put the book down and take a breather, as I continuously found myself staying up later and later following each new lead and discovery. The book is a bit gory. There's nothing held back in the details of bloody murders, and reflections on stories of abuse. If you're able to accept this level of realism, then I wouldn't hesitate to recommend this book.
AliceB52 More than 1 year ago
I am typically a very slow reader, but when I get something really great, I go through it too fast. This is one of those books. The characters are compelling, but the plot and setting are so unusual. The historical details are so interesting. It is hand over fist one of the most intelligent thrillers I have ever read. I generally love historical thrillers anyway, but this one is top notch. If you are a fan of the genre and haven't yet read it then this must go to the top of your list!
Dr_Dean More than 1 year ago
I absolutely loved this book! There is a little bit of everything in this novel--part murder mystery, part psychological thriller, with a generous dose of historical accuracy thrown in. The reader is thrown into New York City at the turn of the 20th century, where the field of psychology is fighting to emerge into legitimacy. A rag-tag team is formed to stop a serial killer brutally murdering child prostitutes using rudimentary criminological science. It's fusion with real characters of the time (Theodore Roosevelt, J.P. Morgan) with an electrifying story made it impossible to put down. I can't wait to read the sequel!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is my first online book review. I am a pathological reader with high standards for plot accuracy and complexity/writing quality and character development. Although i have read thousands of books in my time THIS is one of the top five I have ever curled up with and enjoyed. Plunk down your VISA card number and beprepared to enter a steamy funky immigrant world in old NY where the men are brilliant, the girls are brave and tough and the murders are spooky and scary not to mention the politicians who never seem to change. Buy it read it and keepit to reread over again.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Reading Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter recently caused me to remember how much I had enjoyed this book years before.
Tennesseedog More than 1 year ago
This is a great book. The story is intriguing and the writing style engaging and fun. The time is 1896 and the place is New York City. Police commissioner is Teddy Roosevelt, the future President of the US. And the search is on for a serial killer of children, mainly young boys involved in the sex trade. The story is fictional but uses real scientific premises and psychological/forensic theories to contextualize the story of the young investigators, including the first New York City Police female secretary. She is also a good shot with a revolver and an early feminist advocate. The murderer is a fiendish, very damaged individual and how the investigators search out clues, tease out his psychology and finally set their trap makes this novel a great read.
manugw More than 1 year ago
Set at the end of the 19th century in New York and with a dark, gloomy Edgar Allan Poe savor, this original novel approaches the crime genre from another angle, profiling, that is, getting into the mind of a serial murderer, step by step through forensic deductive sciences and psychological insights arising from the knowledge and technology available at that time. The plot featured as a blend of historical fiction and psychological thriller, it is well constructed, but it goes at a very slow pace sometimes with very tedious pitfallings. Though in general has a fair resolution, the events that give way to the definition suddenly speed up too much in relation to the very long slow prior structure of the plot, subtly tarnishing the quality of the story overall. Deep and complex requires concentration and patience
CalypsoBella More than 1 year ago
I've read this book twice now. The depiction of turn of the century New York is richly envisioned. Teddy Roosevelt is fascinating. The characters are fully developed people you can care about.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Everyone I've recomended this to has loved it as well. A great mix of history, mystery and suspense.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Excellently written. Best book Ive read recently.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is amazing. Attention to detail, timeline characteristics, and a rag tag group to pull it together. This book will catch you in the first twenty pages (first 10 for me).
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Marvelous account of the "birth" of forensic psychology in crime solving. Dark, disturbing, and full of intriguing historic detail, plus a team of oddly assorted investigators wjo rival anything currently on television. A fantastic read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Fantastic turn of the century historical fiction.
Delphimo More than 1 year ago
The first chapters of this novel nearly ended further reading of this impressive novel. The story presents the new techniques used to track and locate serial killers. Laszlo Kreizler is a doctor of the mind in New York in 1896, and many people are not open to these new methods. The story involves many historic figures such as Theodore Roosevelt and J P Morgan. The conditions in the slums of New York are terrible. John Moore, the narrator, works for the New York Times, but has joined Dr. Laszlo Kreizler and other people in their quest to find the killer of young male prostitutes. Two Jewish brothers, Marcus and Lucius Isaacson, utilize fingerprinting and other methods of finding the killer. A lone woman, Theodore Roosevelt's secretary, Sara Howard, attempts to prove that women can work in the police department. The book starts slowly and like the locomotives in the story, begins to pick up speed and dash to the station.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I bought this for my nook collection. I read the book when it first came out and I still have the book. It is intriguing and frightening and historical all rolled into one intense read.
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killedbydolls More than 1 year ago
loved the holmes vibe to this book
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Sean_From_OHIO More than 1 year ago
Caleb Carr weaves an interesting tale in and out of history. While the crimes are gruesome, the methods of solving those crimes is fascinating to see in their infancy. While at times I felt Carr was unnecessarily wordy, his prose was very good. The characters were complex and even the writing style somewhat unusual, in a good way. I'm looking forward to checking out more by Carr.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Found it captivating.