Wednesday, 16 March 2011

The Alienist by Caleb Carr

The Alienist
Title: The Alienist
Author: Caleb Carr
Series: Alienist (book #1)
Next in series: The Angel of Darkness
My Rating: 5 Stars

My Synopsis: Before the modern day criminal profiler, there were "alienists" - psychologists interested in the workings of the criminal mind. In this book a crime reporter, John Schulyer Moore, is asked by his friend, Theodore Roosevelt in his days as the police commissioner of New York, to assist one of these alienists in the search for a serial killer butchering young children in the sex trade.

My Review: This is a well-researched take on life in New York at the turn of the 20th century. The characterization is excellent, especially that of Sara, Roosevelt's secretary who is determined to become the first female detective, and the alienist, Lazlo Kreizler who seeks to understand the origins of monstrous behaviors while at the same time fighting demons of his own. The books includes some fascinating details on the beginnings of forensic science and has a profound message about humanity and society. The language and descriptive passages can be quite challenging to get through but they are well worth it.


  1. Ooh, your review reminded me I wanted to read this! I hadn't realized it was part of a series -- should definitely start now before I'm six books behind!

  2. Hi Audra,
    I'm glad this reminded you - it is a really great book.
    There is only one sequel called "The Angel of Darkness" published in 1997.