by Caleb Carr

Reviewer Rating:


A top notch mystery – one of the best and most complete I’ve ever read. Set in New York City in 1896, the novel unfolds through the eyes of a New York Times journalist who has connections in all the right places. As a series of murders begin to show signs of similarity, a carefully crafted team of investigators is tasked to hunt for a serial killer. This special squad, which is based on the brand new notion of criminal profiling, is the brainchild of the young and heady NYC Police Commissioner, Theodore Roosevelt. Dedicated to cleaning up corruption throughout his department and solving a myriad of crimes that powers-at-be would prefer left unsolved, he works closely with the Alienist, the lead investigative psychiatrist tasked with creating a profile of the killer. Piece by piece, the mysterious pall surrounding the murders dissolves, revealing a motive most menacing.  

The blending of a Sherlock Holmes type investigation focusing on a Hannibal Lector type serial killer is commanding, and presents a psychological thriller guised as historical fiction. Nominated for the Bram Stoker Award in 1994.


This book starts out great but felt really rushed at the end, almost like someone else finished it off for Caleb Carr.

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