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Alienist Paperback – Jan 12 1995

4.1 out of 5 stars 406 customer reviews

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Paperback, Jan 12 1995
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Product Details

  • Paperback
  • Publisher: Little Brown P/B (Jan. 12 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0751512958
  • ISBN-13: 978-0751512953
  • Product Dimensions: 12.5 x 3.5 x 19.7 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 458 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars 406 customer reviews
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
It's a great, long, criminal epic. I had a great journey reading it. It made me really want to eat french, multi-coursed meals too. However RIGHT WHEN YOU GET TO THE ENDING AND THE AMOUNT OF BUILD UP - you get nothing. I was disappointed with the ending.
***SPOILER ALERT BELLOW***

I don't read crime thrillers and novels to not know why he did it! I mean COME ON! http://i1122.photobucket.com/albums/l526/LeeFannee/300x300px-LL-e84453ed_Are-You-Fucking-Kidding-Me-Rage-Face-Meme-Template-Blank-300x295_zpsda50c2fc.png
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
An Alienist was an old term to describe a psychiatrist (a person who studies alienated people) and given that the start of the nineteen hundreds was to turn medical science on its head, this little tale takes us back to the origins of how and why it changed, by developing the process of psychiatry (or to be more precise behavioral science) with the analysis of a story about a Serial Killer roaming the rooftops of New York City, to murder and disfigure male child prostitutes that he has kidnapped for some strange reason, told through the eyes of New York Times journalist - John Moore, as he recalls this period of his life and which he wishes to commit to the page.
Moore is called to a crime scene by a friend of his, Dr. Laszlo Kreizler, the Alienist, to help him with an enquiry. They hook up with the police commissioner, Theodore Roosevelt and Sara Howard, the first woman police officer in New York, to investigate the murders along with two 'new age' brother detectives with a scientific bent - Marcus and Lucius. The problem is that the city does not care about the murder of child prostitutes, new policing techniques and Dr. Kreizler has some unorthodox views about metal illness that do not get him much respect in the city. Using Kreizler's ideas about the psychology of the killer the team decides to "profile" the killer to see if they can track him down before he commits the next murder. The Alienist - for all intensive purposes - is about the complex process of developing that profile and this is where the strength of the book really is and is main reason why you will enjoy reading it.
Apart from that deductive element The Alienist is really a run-of-the-mill "hunt the serial killer" type clichéd material.
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Format: Kindle Edition
I know Carr did not invent historical fiction but he sure kicked off the genre's popularity in 1994 with The Alienist. When I first read the book I remember feeling as if I was making my way through New York City's cold and dangerous 1896 streets. The two main characters are New York Times reporter John Schuyler and his friend Dr. Laszlo Kreizler, a psychologist, or "alienist." Together they investigate the grisly murder of a boy prostitute. And yes, it is shades of Holmes and Watson. Laszlo spouts many Holmesian observations, “you cannot objectify the subjective, you cannot generalize the specific.”

Soon joining the team is police commissioner Theodore Roosevelt and Sara Howard a secretary in the police department. Carr is stacking the deck against them given a reporter, a woman and an Alienist would not garner much respect in the seedy underworld. Together they investigate and build a psychological profile of the killer, “... belief that the answers one gives to life's crucial questions are never truly spontaneous; they are the embodiment of years of contextual experience, of the building of patterns in each of our lives that eventually grow to dominate our behavior.”

Though the plot is solid it is secondary to the characters, the use of real world people, the fast pace, and most importantly, the atmosphere. New York City is its own character providing not only a rich backdrop but a living and breathing entity. In my recent read of the book all of this stood up. I am amazed it was never made into a movie but fans should know that a television series in the works.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Enjoyable historic fiction Novel but, quite wordy! I thought it was worth the long read a small diverse group trying to solve the murders of young boys who choose a life of male prostitution set in new York in the late 1800's
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
The finest writing, to my mind, is that which uses one's mind. Caleb Carr fully engages the minds of his readers by expertly plumbing the minds of his characters, including a chillingly twisted mind, that of a serial killer. Mr Carr invites his readers to sort out details, to route out clues, to struggle along with the protagonist, New York Times writer John Moore, as he devises a method in which to trap a man who has killed, and who will kill again, before captured finally within the breathless climax. To capture this killer, John Moore utilises psychology, a science which in 1896, the year this novel transpires, was brand new, untried, and popularly maligned. To help him along in this is Laszlo Kreizler, the Alienist, a practitioner of psychology during a time when the mind remained the domain of myth, misunderstanding, and the property of a Higher Power. Battling corruption and ignorance, John Moore, under Kreizler's tutelage, rallies an investigation that plows new ground in crime fighting history. These men are splendid and admirably portrayed, however, I admired especially the female liason, if simply for the fact that Mr Carr included an intelligent, independent woman character within a late 19th-century setting, a time almost universally unkind toward women, wherein they were relegated to the lower ranks, and regrettably dismissed to forgettable subservient roles.
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