A Daily Thriller? Yes, Please!


Hello folks… after a few months hiatus, I’m finally back to blogging.  During April, along with my usual book reviews,  I’m participating in the “A to Z Challenge”, which involves writing daily on my blog, using the theme “A-Z”. Since thrillers are one of my favorite genres, I’m will be writing a daily review of my favorite thriller novels, from A to Z.   So here we go…

The Alienist is an intriguing historical thriller with a perfect blend of  mystery and horror. Set in the 1896 New York City, Caleb Carr pits the new phenomenon of the serial killer against the precursors of criminal profiling in this fast paced novel. What is an alienist? Before the twentieth century, the alienation of the mentally ill from society was common. An alienist is someone who studied the pathology of mental illness, what we now call Psychiatrists. The plot centers around three friends: a journalist, John Moore; an alienist, Dr.Lazlo Kreizler; and a newly appointed Police Commissioner, Teddy Roosevelt (yes, the one who becomes president later on.) The trio are working to solve a series of brutal murders that involves a string of boy prostitutes. A reform-minded Theodore Roosevelt appoints Dr. Kreizler to head the investigation into the murders.  Kreizler creates a team of investigators who gather a “criminal profile” using psychological and material evidence of the killer. Narrated by John Schuyler Moore, a wealthy journalist and friend of Roosevelt from his days at Yale, chronicles his inclusion to the team.  As the story develops, the complex twists and turns change nearly as quick as the investigators can gather information. Despite Roosevelt’s difficulty in finding the serial killer, he’s determined to not only solve the murders, but also clean up the NYPD as well. The prevailing arrogant attitude of the public consider the murder investigations to be unneccessary, as the murder victims are merely prostitutes.  Kreizler faces challenges from all sides: notorious proponents of morality are unwilling to accept the existence of boy prostitutes (or any form of homosexual trade) and policemen are vehemently against any form of scientific inquiry into the criminal mind. The tension builds as the accumulation of the serial killer’s history, pathology and motivations come to light. In the end, the lengthy explanations of the killer’s motives  became tedious. Despite this tiny flaw, the book was fabulous.


9 thoughts on “A Daily Thriller? Yes, Please!

  1. I did not find this a tiny flaw. In fact the end of the book was a let down for me. I really liked the first parts and the use of Teddy Roosevelt was genius. Then it faded at the end. Just my take on it.


  2. What a great A-Z theme! I’m always looking for a good psychological thriller, so I’ll be visiting again! I’ll be posting on bookish topics for my A-Z challenge.

    I remember reading The Alienist for a book club discussion back when it was first released–it was one of the first historical fiction books I’d ever read and I loved the way that Carr made me feel as though I was actually walking those NYC streets.


  3. Love a good mystery as long as it isn’t the ‘true crime’ variety. I read this book along the way and remembered recommending to others. So many books, so little time as the saying goes. Found your blog on the #atoz and am now following. I know I won’t be disappointed after readying an excellent review like this one. Thanks!


    1. Hi Stephany,
      Thanks for your kind words. I’m following your blog also – You’re lucky to have visited the Cotswolds. It’s one of the places to visit on my bucket list. I love gardening and especially English gardens. Have you ever read Tasha Tudor’s gardening books?
      MaryJane 🙂


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