- Publisher: Thorndike Pr; Lrg edition (September 1997)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0783882424
- ISBN-13: 978-0783882420
- Product Dimensions: 4.4 x 16.5 x 24.1 cm
- Shipping Weight: 1.2 Kg
- Average Customer Review: 262 customer reviews
The Angel of Darkness Paperback – Large Print, Sep 1997
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|Paperback, Large Print, Sep 1997||
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From Library Journal
Dr. Lazlo Kreizler, protagonist of The Alienist (LJ 3/1/94), is back with his idiosyncratic companions in Carr's latest mystery thriller. Set in 1897 New York and told through the voice of the doctor's young ward, Stevie (a former "delinquent" nicknamed "Stevepipe," after his weapon of choice), the story centers on the kidnapping of the baby daughter of a Spanish diplomat just as tensions between Spain and the United States have reached the boiling point. Soon our investigators discover something even more sinister: Their chief suspect seems to have been involved in the murders of several other young children?including two of her own?and to be willing to take any measures necessary to cover her tracks. It becomes a race against time to save this latest victim. The exciting tale is full of the requisite twists and turns and involves such historical figures as Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Clarence Darrow, and Teddy Roosevelt. It also makes the point that when it comes to questions of good and evil and the motivations behind seemingly horrific behavior (a la Susan Smith), there are no simple answers. Highly recommended for all public libraries and any others where good mystery writing is in demand.
-?David W. Henderson, Eckerd Coll. Lib., St. Petersburg, Fla.
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover 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.See all Product description
Top customer reviews
The intrepid team has been reunited one year after concluding the last case, under somewhat contrived and only marginally convincing circumstances, this time to apprehend a kidnapper who has failed to make any demands and appears to be free from any threat of official inquiry.
As compared to the first book, the plot is less titillating and the identity of the antagonist is known early on in what is a reasonably long text. While the bustle of New York City serves as the background, the story also involves excursions to the pastorial settings of upstate New York. In some respects, the mid-section of the book tends to mirror the slower pace of that region. Historical personalities are once again integrated. In fact, it is the appearance of Clarence Darrow that brings new energy to the middle portion.
Carr also elects to use Stevie Taggert as the narrator instead of John Moore. Taggert's lower class status obligates a change in diction which is distracting until you become acclimated to the rhythm. Due to the nature of the story, I thought utilization of the third person narrative would have been a better choice than using any team member.
Overall, the book is as well-written as its predecessor, but ANGEL has a few more flaws in how the story plays out.
The suspense is thick and often has you turning the pages faster than you can read them.
If you have not read the original Alienist, you should do so before reading this book.
During the politically troubled era preceding the onset of the Spanish-American War, the wife of a Spanish diplomat, whose baby has been kidnapped, frantically appeals to Sara Howard, a private detective and proud feminist who specializes in helping troubled women, for help to rescue the child before it is murdered. Sara in turn appeals to her friend, Dr Kreizler and their colleagues for their assistance in this most puzzling case - Stevie Taggert, Cyrus Montrose, Kreizler's faithful man-servant, Jonathan Moore, crime reporter for the New York Times, and Lucius and Marcus Isaacson, the brilliant yet comedic Jewish twin brothers hired as NYPD detectives by Teddy Roosevelt when he was chief of the force. When the kidnapper's identity is discovered relatively early, the tale changes from a whodunit into that more modern complicated breed of thriller that explores the "why" of the crime!
As the story is told completely through Stevie's eyes, the reader is treated to a wonderfully smooth, linear narration that is both complete and straightforward to follow from the plotting point of view. But that simple statement belies the scope and depth of this wonderful story that includes discussions of the birth of modern feminism, the ravages of cocaine and drug addiction, the growing use of modern crime-fighting tools - forensics, psychological profiling, fingerprinting, ballistics, microscopic matching of hair and fiber samples - and the psychology of that most puzzling and disturbing of criminals, the female serial killer!
For good measure, Carr also treats his readers to appearances of real-life historical figures that are substantially more than tossed off cameos - Theodore Roosevelt as pro tem head of the US Navy prior to his election as president leads a group of feisty sailors in a brawl against a brutal street gang; Clarence Darrow is observed in a thrilling courtroom drama establishing his reputation as one of the most brilliant defense lawyers that the US has ever seen and Elizabeth Cady Stanton whose early musings formed a substantial part of the basis of modern feminism is called upon as a critical witness for the defense.
Four stars and two thumbs up. Lovers of historical fiction will thoroughly enjoy "The Angel of Darkness" and cross their fingers that Carr will deliver on the rumour that there are more "alienist" novels in the works to be narrated by some of the other members of the team.
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