Whatever I thought right seemed bad to others; whatever seemed wrong to me, others approved of.
Published: Originally published December 15, 1994
Publisher: Random House
Length: About 4 hours
Series: Dr. Laszlo Kreizler #1
Change isn’t something that most people enjoy, even if it’s progressive change.
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.
Hello all! I have quite an interesting review for you today!
So The Alienist became a miniseries on TNT in 2018 (gosh, can’t believe it’s been that long!) and I absolutely loved it. It was like Criminal Minds meets my favorite historical pieces and I completely devoured it. The costumes were spot on (picture for reference). The acting was phenomenal. The story line kept me guessing and guessing. If you haven’t watched it yet I highly recommend it! I loved how dark and gritty it was, it didn’t pull any punches. So when I saw the audiobook through my library and noticed it was only 4 or some odd hours long, I immediately jumped on it!
Now, as is with any TV/movie adaptation, there were some differences between the show and the novel but it wasn’t anything major. The show seemed to add some more fluff to it, but the book was really exactly as I expected and was identical in plot line to the show. But that didn’t mean I was bored! The book is told directly through the eyes of newspaper reporter John Schuyler Moore (Luke Evans) and so I got to see the story a bit differently. The show adds on each character’s past and experiences with the case, which was really interesting to me, but I also liked how the audiobook read and felt. It was like I was sitting down for a one on one conversation with Mr. Moore and he was telling me this incredible story.
I think the whole mystery behind the murders was really well done. I liked that it wasn’t just a strangling or stabbing, but was instead something much more sinister and we got to see how the team pieced together the clues from the bodies themselves. It also went into that dark underbelly that was child prostitution, and more than that, the young boys who dressed like, talked like, and acted like young girls for their “clients”. It’s something that I haven’t seen in other mystery novels I’ve read, and I enjoyed that fresh take on a historical mystery, which tends to be less…. graphic, than this one.
Overall I really enjoyed getting a refresher on this case and getting to enjoy the historical atmosphere all over again. Historical fiction is really one of my escape genres, be it mystery, romance, or just general fiction. The only drawback I had was that the narrator couldn’t really do more than male voices. Like if the characters had an accent he did well, but the women and the other men without accents all sort of sounded the same. I did really love his voice though, it just didn’t seem suited to character acting.
If you loved this show like I did then I do suggest giving the book or audiobook a try! Or vice versa! Watch the show if you enjoyed the book! Also, there is a third book in this series set to release in 2022! Yay! Find info on that here!
The Dr. Laszlo Kreizler Series