The Alienist by Caleb Carr

A very well written, rather dark story but one that was impossible to put down. Mr. Carr paints a very intricate portrait of life in NYC in the 1890’s. While the murders were gruesome and involved children who were prostitutes it does reflect the times as they were. Children were not protected by any laws and many of them were on the streets forced to survive on their own. The Alienist, Dr. Lazlo Kreizler (Psychiatrists were known as Alienists at the time) brought together an unusual team to work the murders that were being committed by a serial killer. The team consisted of a newspaper journalist, a police dept secretary (one of the first females to have that position) two outcast police detectives using cutting edge technology for that period and others.

The story is intense, the pace rapidly increases throughout the book until you feel breathless trying to get to the end. I absolutely loved this book although the possibility of nightmares did exist! I was thrilled with the character of Sarah, an independent, liberated woman in 1890 was very unusual and I completely identified with her. An unexpected turn of events toward the end of the book literally had me in tears as I read it.

Mr. Carr did an excellent job developing all the characters in this book. An amazing writer indeed, and I am looking forward to reading more of his works. Five Stars for sure!

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