The Alienist

Overall Book Count: 5/80
PopSugar Reading Challenge: 5/50 (10%!!)
Prompt: A book by an author whose first and last names begin with the same letter. (Caleb Carr)

There are moments in life when one feels as though one’s walked into the wrong theater during the middle of a performance.

Oh, this book, how I loved it. This book is atmospheric in its world development. Welcome to 1896 New York City, where your Police Commissioner is a Mr. Theodore Roosevelt before he went on to become president. This book has the ability to transport you back to a different time, a time before CSI and Criminal Minds changed how we look at crime investigations.

So, what is an alienist? It is basically an old term used to describe a doctor who assesses an individual’s competency to stand trial in a court of law. In this story, that doctor is Laszlo Kreizler and he is brilliant in his observations. We follow him and his investigation through the lens of a New York Times journalist, John Moore, who is awakened one evening to report to the grizzly scene on the under-construction, Williamsburg Bridge. A young boy, dressed as a girl, had been found murdered.

This sets forth an investigation during some of the most tumultuous of times and settings, lower east-side New York. Gangs rule the streets, prostitution is not-strictly discussed but is prevalent, and the dark side of humanity is broadcast for us all to see. It is a dark tale, but captivating.

While I have yet to watch it, it was recently turned into a miniseries on TNT, and I can imagine it is fun to watch unfold. Fans of mysteries, historical fiction, and police procedurals may find something they enjoy here.

One of the best books I have read in a genre I love. I’ll be looking to read more from him in the near future.

Overall rating: 4.5/5

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