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Author of AGAINST A DARKENING SKY, THE EMPTY ROOM, OUR DAILY BREAD, and others. Find out more at www.LaurenBDavis.com. I read as if my sanity depended upon it.. . . oh, wait, it does! Snort.

The Alienist - Caleb Carr

3.5 really. I enjoyed this novel, and will no doubt read the second in the series. The Victorian world of New York city is wonderfully imagined, and a mighty grim place it is too. Any idea one may have that murder, pornography, child abuse and general violence and mayhem are modern evils will have their illusions shattered.


The characters are good, particularly the alienist himself, Dr. Kreizler, and the narrator, John Moore, a newspaper reporter. The lone female character is less satisfying and rather stereotypical, as a plucky early feminist determined to be a police officer. Not quite believable.


The faults of the book lie in the dialogue's frequently droning pedantry. Every move of these 'detectives' is dissected and examined, much like the corpses that clutter so many autopsy tables. In spite of that, I found myself involved and intrigued and kept turning pages. If you feel like skipping some of the explanatory passages, go ahead. It won't affect your pleasure.