The Alienist - Caleb Carr

The Alienist

By Caleb Carr

  • Release Date: 1994-03-15
  • Genre: Historical
4.5 Score: 4.5 (From 318 Ratings)

Book Information


“A first-rate tale of crime and punishment that will keep readers guessing until the final pages.”—Entertainment Weekly

“Caleb Carr’s rich period thriller takes us back to the moment in history when the modern idea of the serial killer became available to us.”—The Detroit News

When The Alienist was first published in 1994, it was a major phenomenon, spending six months on the New York Times bestseller list, receiving critical acclaim, and selling millions of copies. This modern classic continues to be a touchstone of historical suspense fiction for readers everywhere.

The year is 1896. The city is New York. Newspaper reporter John Schuyler Moore is summoned by his friend Dr. Laszlo Kreizler—a psychologist, or “alienist”—to view the horribly mutilated body of an adolescent boy abandoned on the unfinished Williamsburg Bridge. From there the two embark on a revolutionary effort in criminology: creating a psychological profile of the perpetrator based on the details of his crimes. Their dangerous quest takes them into the tortured past and twisted mind of a murderer who will kill again before their hunt is over.

Fast-paced and riveting, infused with historical detail, The Alienist conjures up Gilded Age New York, with its tenements and mansions, corrupt cops and flamboyant gangsters, shining opera houses and seamy gin mills. It is an age in which questioning society’s belief that all killers are born, not made, could have unexpected and fatal consequences.

Praise for The Alienist

“[A] delicious premise . . . Its settings and characterizations are much more sophisticated than the run-of-the-mill thrillers that line the shelves in bookstores.”The Washington Post Book World

“Mesmerizing.”Detroit Free Press

“The method of the hunt and the disparate team of hunters lift the tale beyond the level of a good thriller—way beyond. . . . A remarkable combination of historical novel and psychological thriller.”The Buffalo News


“A ripsnorter of a plot . . . a fine dark ride.”The Arizona Daily Star

“Remarkable . . . The reader is taken on a whirlwind tour of the Gilded Age metropolis, climbing up tenement stairs, scrambling across rooftops, and witnessing midnight autopsies. . . . A breathtaking, finely crafted mystery.”Richmond Times-Dispatch 

“Gripping, atmospheric . . . intelligent and entertaining.”USA Today

“A high-spirited, charged-up and unfailingly smart thriller.”Los Angeles Times

“Keeps readers turning pages well past their bedtime.”San Francisco Chronicle 

“Harrowing, fascinating . . . will please fans of Ragtime and The Silence of the Lambs.”The Flint Journal

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Recent Reviews

  • Phenomenal suspense!

    By Acoy0423
    The writer paints amazing pictures and you before you know it, you’re sucked into the story. It’s a very difficult book to put down! May read it again!

    By diwilli
    Really enjoyed this read. It was hard to put down at times. I felt I was walking the actual streets of New York at the time. I was so intrigued I followed the action on a map-perhaps there should be a map at least resembling the time in the pages of the book. The treatment of mental illness seems still in its infancy-there is so much we have yet to learn about the human brain. I highly recommend this book.
  • yay

    By mockinjay4
    awesome u shud watch the show
  • In love !

    By Bandloverbri
    i had to read a book for psychology any book and the alienist crossed my mind, it’s insanely good! insanely interesting and it leaves you wanting to read more about it ! Caleb carr is super talented !
  • Great Book

    By Cyber_Grunt
    Constant action, dead on descriptions make it seem as though you are pet of the book. Grizzly to an extent, but all in all a great book
  • A bit too Sherlock'y

    By Mooiboot
    Beautifully written, a craftsman's delight but could have done with a editor's light fingered touch
  • Excellent

    By Emmet Aloysius
    One of the early books that started my interest in historical fiction. I read this many years ago and do not remember the details but I have only fond memories...EAF
  • A masterpiece.

    By dpd860
  • Engulfs You…Brilliant!

    By Leffler2
    I read this several years ago. Well written. A realistic view of New York City. This read will stick with you for years to come.
  • A Go-To book for me!

    By all the nicknames have been taken
    I've lost count how many times I've read this book. It's so well-written, great characters and Mr Carr has brought late 1800s New York to life. This is a page-turner I promise!