December 15, 2011
The Alienist by Caleb Carr
Title: The Alienist
Author: Caleb Carr
Publisher: Bantam Books
The Alienist takes you into the dark, sleezy life of New York City during the late 1800's. This dark world was kept secret in the 1800's and you rarely hear about it today. But, there is no doubt that it existed and that life was scary and difficult for the people that lived in this dark world. In The Alienist, there is a serial killer wandering through this dark world and he is targeting young boys. But, not just any boys, he is focused on boys that are selling their bodies to survive. The government and the police are ignoring the killings. They do not want the public to know this part of NYC even exists, so they just sit back and hope that it will go away.
But, not everyone is content to just sit back and ignore these killings. After all the victims are children. No matter what type of life they are living, they deserve protection from this evil killer. There is an Alienist in the city that wants the killer stopped. His name is Kreizler and he is what today is known as a Psychologist. Kreizler forms a group of friends to try and stop this killer. The group initially consists of Moore who is a New York Times Reporter and Sarah who is a Secretary at the Police Department. The little group eventually expands to include Kreizlers servants and a couple of ex Police Officers. This group will take you into the belly of this dark world and it is sometimes very graphic because when this killer kills a victim, it is very gruesome and even worse because his victims are children.
Kriezler feels sure that the killer is not insane. But, he needs to meet the killer and talk with him before deciding if he is insane or not. He believes that something occured in the killers childhood that made him this way. Therefore, Kreizler is driven to find him so that he can make an effort to answer this age old question. Is this killer insane or just evil?
"Whilst part of what we perceive comes through our senses from the object before us, another part (and it may be the larger part) always comes out of our mind." William James, The Principles of Psychology