The Alienist by Caleb Carr

The year is 1896, the place, New York City. On a cold March night New York Times reporter John Schuyler Moore is summoned to the East River by his friend and former Harvard classmate Dr. Laszlo Kreizler, a psychologist, or "alienist." On the unfinished Williamsburg Bridge, they view the horribly mutilated body of an adolescent boy, a prostitute from one of Manhattan's infamous brothels.

The newly appointed police commissioner, Theodore Roosevelt, in a highly unorthodox move, enlists the two men in the murder investigation, counting on the reserved Kreizler's intellect and Moore's knowledge of New York's vast criminal underworld. They are joined by Sara Howard, a brave and determined woman who works as a secretary in the police department. Laboring in secret (for alienists, and the emerging discipline of psychology, are viewed by the public with skepticism at best), the unlikely team embarks on what is a revolutionary effort in criminology-- amassing a psychological profile of the man they're looking for based on the details of his crimes. Their dangerous quest takes them into the tortured past and twisted mind of a murderer who has killed before. and will kill again before the hunt is over.

Fast-paced and gripping, infused with a historian's exactitude, The Alienist conjures up the Gilded Age and its untarnished underside: verminous tenements and opulent mansions, corrupt cops and flamboyant gangsters, shining opera houses and seamy gin mills. Here is a New York during an age when questioning society's belief that all killers are born, not made, could have unexpected and mortal consequences.

Join or login to comment.

  • Janet B.

    This was a good read and provided lots of topics for group discussion– not only about the plot line & characters but about the historic references and societal concerns then and now.

    February 4, 2014

  • Jane H.

    I don't know if I RSVP'd or not--but I am attending!

    February 3, 2014

  • A former member
    A former member

    I'll be out of town this evening. See y'all next month.

    February 3, 2014

  • A former member
    A former member

    I have been sick and don't want to expose anyone. Have fun. Was hoping to feel better by today, but not happening.

    February 3, 2014

  • Sarah S.

    I hope everyone is looking forward to book club and wine evening! Thanks to those of you who have recently updated their RSVP's....if anyone else's plans have changed - either to join us, or because you now cannot - will you please update your RSVP ASAP? We want to be sure Nicky V's is ready for whatever group size we have. Thanks! Sarah

    February 3, 2014

  • A former member
    A former member

    I love the book but I am out of town and trying to recover from a long cold.

    February 3, 2014

  • Juli

    I didn't get the book read :(... But I've already started Goldenfinch, so I'll see you next month!

    February 2, 2014

  • A former member
    A former member

    I just got the notice that our March book is The Goldfinch. I thought we selected The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd. Just want to be sure I read the right book.

    January 13, 2014

    • Sarah S.

      Hi Linda - see the note for the March posting. I hadn't voted at the Jan. Meeting. Upon voting, due to closeness of the results - goldfinch came out on top.

      January 13, 2014

  • Sarah S.

    Hey All - as a reminder - please email any book suggestions for future meetings to me (Sarah) either via meet-up; or at [masked]. As I did in January, I will prepare a list with summaries for voting at the meetings. For April and May we would really like to find a more light-hearted, fun book (s). We don't want to be the depressing book club! Also, while we want to stay casual, always feel free to come to our conversations with questions/discussion topics in mind. Our first two meet-ups have been great, lets keep the trend going!

    1 · January 13, 2014

  • A former member
    A former member

    I found this to be an excellent read. Historically informative and psychologically thought provoking.

    January 8, 2014

  • Sarah S.

    Hey All! I'll post the March book soon - but wanted to put out the call for more positive books for future months. This is the official call to have some options for upbeat stories to break up the down and dreary! Send ideas to me at [masked]. Thanks!

    January 7, 2014

  • Janet B.

    Do I need to finish the book by the 3rd, or just a certain portion?

    January 7, 2014

    • Sarah S.

      Hi Janet - it depends on if you mind spoilers. Most people complete the book, unless for whatever circumstance didn't have time, or didn't like the book. Anyway, I guess I'd say that we can't promise not to spoil an ending. Sarah

      January 7, 2014

  • A former member
    A former member

    I really enjoyed the meeting last night, but I will be out of town and miss the next meeting. I'll see you all again in March. Since people seemed to want a more upbeat book to read, I went through my "to read" list on Goodreads and picked several. I have not read any of them yet but these looked like fun: "The Hundred-Year-Old Man who Climbed Out of the Window and Disappeared" by Jonas Jonasson; "The Supremes at Earl's All-You-Can-Eat" by Edward Kelsey Moore; "Mr. Penumbra's 24-hour Book Store" by Robin Sloan; "Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society" by Mary Ann Shaffer; and, "The Rosie Project" by Simsion Graeme.

    I hope everyone enjoys "The Alienist".

    1 · January 7, 2014

    • Sarah S.

      Linda - thanks for the book titles and ideas! The only one I've read is Guernsey...fabulous book! See you in March.

      January 7, 2014

10 went

This Meetup is community funded

$5.00/year

Member dues are used to:
  • Encourage more engaged members
  • Have a reserve fund

60 day free trial

No credit card required

After the trial you must pay dues to be a member of this Meetup.

Cancel dues at any time.

Dues are billed each year.

People in this
Meetup are also in:

Create a Meetup Group and meet new people

Get started Learn more
Bill

I started the group because there wasn't any other type of group like this. I've met some great folks in the group who have become close friends and have also met some amazing business owners.

Bill, started New York City Gay Craft Beer Lovers

Sign up

Meetup members, Log in

By clicking "Sign up" or "Sign up using Facebook", you confirm that you accept our Terms of Service & Privacy Policy