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The Angel of Darkness [Large Print] [Paperback]

Caleb Carr
3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (262 customer reviews)

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Book Description

September 1997
A year after the events narrated in The Alienist, the cast of characters from that novel are again brought together to investigate a crime committed in the heady days of New York in the 1890s, but this time narrated by the orphan Stevie Taggert. A young child, the daughter of Spanish diplomats, disappears. It seems she has been abducted but no ransom note is received and the detectives Isaacson quickly discover that a nurse, Elspeth Hunter, is probably the kidnapper. They also discover that Hunter has been a little too closely connected with the death of three other infants. But what are her motives? She married a fortune, and although she is connected to some fairly rough villains this crime does not fit their modus operandi. Is it something as 'simple' as psychological disturbance due to her own inability to bear children, or something more sinister unguessed at?
--This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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From Library Journal

Boyd Gaines skillfully delivers a wide range of voices and characterizations in narrating this potboiler (LJ 10/15/97), the sequel to Carr's The Alienist. The time is June 1897. The place is New York City. The story is narrated by 13-year-old, streetwise Stevie Taggart, who is a member of a team of detecting irregulars. The kidnapping of an 18-month-old child sets the story in motion. The ongoing investigation uncovers a sociopath named Libby Hatch, who is a suspect in the deaths of a frightening number of children, including her own. Using the relatively new fields of forensics and psychoanalysis, and calling on the assistance of some well-known "names" (Teddy Roosevelt, Franz Boaz, Cornelius Vanderbuilt), the team runs Libby Hatch to earth. But where is the child she recently abducted? The clever zigzags of this thriller finally answer this question. Well recommended.?Joanna Burkhardt, Univ. of Rhode Island Sch. of Continuing Education, Providence
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Audio Cassette edition.

From Kirkus Reviews

An absorbing if overlong sequel to Carr's popular 1994 thriller, The Alienist. As in that novel, the figures of ``alienist'' (i.e., psychologist) Dr. Laszlo Kreizler, investigative journalist John Schuyler Moore, and Kreizler's assistant Stevie ``Stevepipe'' Taggert (who tells the story) figure prominently in the investigation of a peculiarly dastardly crime. The year is 1897, and Carr's plot is initiated by the kidnapping of a Spanish diplomat's baby--then thickens, quite pleasurably, as suspicion falls on Elspeth Hunter, a malevolent nurse who is actually Libby Hatch, a malevolent gang moll and the suspected murderess of her own children. The pursuit, capture, and attempted conviction of Libby involve such notable historical figures as painter Albert Pinkham Ryder, women's-rights crusader Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Libby's defense attorney Clarence Darrow (who dominates a fascinating extended courtroom scene), and (back also from The Alienist) New York City Police Commissioner Theodore Roosevelt, who commandeers the US Navy to aid in the story's climactic pursuit. Carr overloads his tale with digressive comments on ever-worsening political relations between the US and Cuba (though one can argue such passages' relevance to the novel's initial mystery), and disastrously slows down the otherwise absorbing courtroom scenes by including needless detailed summaries of cases of child murder offered as precedents. But these are minor blemishes. Carr has learned to plot since The Alienist, and this novel usually moves at a satisfyingly rapid pace. The ambiance is convincingly thick and period-flavorful, the murderous details satisfyingly gruesome, and even the somewhat shaky central ethical question--whether ``a woman's murdering her own kids . . . could actually be looked at as her trying to gain control over her life and her world''--is quite convincingly presented. As for the nefarious Libby--presented, with perfect appropriateness, only as others see and hear her--she rivals Lydia Gwilt of Wilkie Collins's Armadale as the pluperfect villainess, and the centerpiece of an enormously entertaining and satisfying reading experience. (Author tour) -- Copyright ©1997, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
Format:Hardcover
A Mesmerizing Tome, ANGEL OF DARKNESS is a sequel to Carr's "The Alienist". This reader, as am sure there are others, appreciate continuity in writings that carry forward some of the same characters, even though the narrator is a different person -- the street youth whom Dr. Kriezler "adopted", and rescued from a life of crime -- Stevie Taggart. After all, proteges are developed by other narrators, and in other fields as well - this slant in THE ANGEL OF DARKNESS is no exception. I have an appreciation for authors who bring in true-to-history participants -- e.g., Clarence Darrow; Theodore Roosevelt; & Mrs. Cady Stanton. -- after all, didn't they play a part in history?
Author Carr is a master storyteller, with hard-to-put-down books, very engaging trade dialogue with a style of 'teller to listener'. Added are the glimpses with a clear visual field from a window on life during the early 20th century New York City time period.
ANGEL OF DARKNESS is a riveting tale of a tormented murderess, facing crime & punishment for actions applicable to latter 19th century. Albeit an evil, cunning female would be difficult to believe in that era of history, with the "feminine" roles women were assigned then - more so than today.
Libby Hatch compares in stature with villain John Beecham. Added spice is a first-rate mind that is always calculating the next move; Mr. Carr enfolds readers with examples of dark society, with excellent, poignant, & some humorous dramatization.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Inconsistently excellent--but recommended Aug. 25 2003
By A Customer
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Mr. Carr's first book, THE ALIENIST, gripped me as it did most other readers. This sequel came close to doing the same but there were some jarring moments that took the pleasure out of it. For instance, I loved the choice of Stevie Taggert as the narrator for this installment because he was an interesting character in THE ALIENIST. The problem was that this semi-literate young man's writing style was just as professional as the narrator of the first book, the journalist John Moore. (For example, "The sunlight came in softly through big rectangular windows, reflected off ceilings and moldings what were also bright white, and also off the polished red marble floor. The wood paneling on the walls, by way of contrast, was dark and together with the arched doorways gave the place a kind of stately feel." Not exactly Henry James, but pretty accomplished given his background.) Also there are so many unnecessary cameo appearances by historical figures--Mrs. Cady Stanton, Clarence Darrow, Cornelius Vanderbilt II, Teddy Roosevelt (AGAIN!), Charles Delmonico, Albert Pinkham Ryder--the willing suspension of disbelief begins to strain. I guess Thomas Edison, Stanford White and Oscar Hammerstein were too busy to appear. Okay, enough with the negatives; I still recommend this novel. There is far too good a story here to be damaged by my previous criticisms. Libby Hatch is every inch a frightening villain as John Beecham had been in THE ALIENIST. Plenty of great twists and turns, and the scenes with the Hudson Dusters gang are first rate. If you get by some of what I've mentioned, you're in for a wonderfully suspenseful story!
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5.0 out of 5 stars A good follow-up to The Alienist Aug. 18 2003
Format:Audio Cassette
I really enjoyed The Alienist, the first book by Caleb Carr about Dr. Laszlo Kreizler and his "colleagues". When I finished that story, I was very curious for more details. Angel of Darkness picks up soon after the previous case, and the action begins almost immediately. This story is narrated by the teenage Stevie Taggert, the street kid that Dr. Kriezler has taken in, and saved from a life of crime. A Spanish diplomat's child is kidnapped in public, and the mother sees her daughter a few days later on a train. She is not able to confront the woman, and soon enlists the services of Sarah Howard, who has started an investigation service. In a short amount of time, Sarah reassumbles the group and they pinpoint the suspect as Elsbeth Hunter. Yet, the deeper they dig into the woman's past, the more they discover of the hideousness nature of her crimes. With her many aliases, Elsbeth has traveled around New York kidnapping, and killing children.
Like the previous book, there were some cameos with great historical figures. Teddy Roosevelt makes a special appearance, this time as the Assistant Secratary of the Navy. Another historical figure that plays a small part in the story is Clarence Darrow (pre-Monkey Trial) when he defends Mrs. Hunter (or Hatch, or Frasier, Franklin... whichever name she decides to use!).
Carr is a gifted storyteller, and his books are hard to put down. I love the glimpses of early 20th century New York life. Stevie's narration of the story was a nice touch, and I appreciated seeing it from his vantage point. Other readers have said that this does not compare to The Alienist, but personally I thought it was a very good follow-up.
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Format:Mass Market Paperback
I bought this at a yard sale for $0.50. I wanted something to read while waiting in line at DMV Monday. It was so engrossing, I missed my number being called! I had trouble putting it down and was sad when I reached the end & the 1st book, The Alienist hadn't arrived. I realize the book is VERY long, but it is VERY good. It is exciting! It is deep! It is historically accurate! It is very well written! It is engrossing to the point of provoking obsession in the reader! I can not wait until another book about these characters is written.
The author ingeniously wrote from the perspective of one of the characters in a reflective story telling fashion and did not stray from that character's perception. He stayed in character for the >700 pages. Each character was well developed and full of human qualities. Each character was accurate for the setting.
I usually stick with Robert Ludlum, Tom Clancy & Vince Flynn, the classics of western civilization and history/biographies. This was GREAT! You will enjoy it! It is disturbing. It can really conjure fright in your imagination while reading and give you a feeling of being one of the characters obserbing the whole story.
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Most recent customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Rough and tumble late nineteenth century New York
In "The Angel of Darkness", Caleb Carr returns his readers to the atmospheric, intriguing, rough and tumble world of late nineteenth century New York. Read more
Published on July 4 2007 by Paul Weiss
5.0 out of 5 stars Now you're reading!
A much better book than the first (The Alienist), this sequel is well worth checking out! Narrated by Stevie Taggart, Dr. Read more
Published on April 30 2004 by J. Okamoto
5.0 out of 5 stars The Angel of Darkness Evaluation
I truly enjoyed The Angel of Darkness. I found the novel to be very interesting and suspenseful. So suspenseful in fact that at times I didn't want to put the book down. Read more
Published on Oct. 23 2003 by Matt McCallum
2.0 out of 5 stars Another eye-roller from Caleb Carr - bleah
SPOILER: Admittedly, I did not care from "The Alienist" either, so put off "Angel" for several years, until I ran out of everything else. Read more
Published on July 4 2003 by Barbara
4.0 out of 5 stars soonerfan
A fan of Caleb Carr's after 'The Alienist', I was unable to put this one down as well. Carr's unique method of entwining the characters' unique traits into the turn-of-the-century... Read more
Published on Feb. 25 2003
4.0 out of 5 stars Another good story
Carr once again does a great job at transporting the reader to a very believable depiction of New York around the turn of the century. Read more
Published on Feb. 25 2003 by John Howard
2.0 out of 5 stars Nowhere near as good as 'The Alienist'
After loving 'The Alienist,' I was very disappointed in 'The Angel of Darkness.' It was completely implausible, especially the 'Angel' being on good terms with a street gang. Read more
Published on Feb. 23 2003 by Girl Writer
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent read
"The Angel of Darkness" is an excellent follow-up to "The Alienist," also a great book. Read more
Published on Jan. 7 2003 by "alsoareader"
3.0 out of 5 stars Plot flaws, but a page-turner
I'd have to agree with an earlier reviewers comment that this novel contains some rather annoying plot flaws that defy belief; however, the novels characters are a compelling... Read more
Published on Oct. 11 2002 by "bobsie67"
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