Alien

Review From User :

***New TV series based on the book is showing on TNT and launching January 22nd, 2018.***

"I caught a vague glimpse of human flesh glowing in the moonlight. We took a few steps closer, and then I made out plainly the figure of a naked young boy on his knees. His hands had been bound behind his back, causing his head to rest on the stone surface of the promenade, and his feet were similarly tied. A gag had been wrapped around his head, holding his painted mouth open at a painful angle. His face was glistening with tears; but he was alive."



Some demented fiend is leaving mutilated and brutalized corpses of young boys all over New York City. It is 1896, and Theodore Roosevelt is the newly appointed police commissioner. In a highly unorthodox move, he appoints his old friends Dr. Laszlo Kreizler, Alienist, and John Schuyler Moore, journalist, to a special task force to hunt down this killer and bring him to justice. Too many of the cops in the New York system are just criminals with badges and more interested in graft and corruption than finding a killer, especially one who is murdering nancy boy prostitutes.

Hurry or a child will die!

What the heck is an Alienist, you might ask "Alienist is an archaic term for a psychiatrist or psychologist. Despite falling out of favor by the middle of the twentieth century, it received renewed attention when used in the title of Caleb Carr's novel, The Alienist (1994). Although currently not often used in common parlance, the term 'alienist' is still employed in psychiatric hospitals to describe those mental health professionals who evaluate defendants to determine their competency to stand trial. However, in this context, professionals are more often referred to as forensic psychologists."

Kreizler is an unmistakable, unusual character that, once met, you'd never forget him. "His black eyes, so much like a large bird's, flitted about the paper as he shifted from one foot to the other in sudden, quick movements. He held the Times in his right hand, and his left arm, underdeveloped as the result of a childhood injury, was pulled in close to his body. The left hand occasionally rose to swipe at his neatly trimmed mustache and the small patch of beard under his lip. His dark hair, cut far too long to meet the fashion of the day, and swept back on his head, was moist, for he always went hatless; and this, along with the bobbing of his face at the pages before him, only increased the impression of some hungry, restless hawk determined to wring satisfaction from the worrisome world around him."

These are early days for profiling serial killers, but Kreizler and his team are using the evidence they are collecting to build a file that slowly adds shape and substance to the shadowy figure killing these young boys. Poverty insures that there are no shortage of disadvantaged immigrant boys to replace the ones who are being culled from the herd. For most of New York, these murders are merely a brief distraction with their coffee or a topic for repartee over dinner. For Kreizler and Moore, it is a situation that becomes more sinister and diabolical the more they learn about the killer.

Hurry or a child will die!

They add a pair of incorruptible brothers to their team and a police secretary named Sara Howard. Kreizler has made a habit of collecting unusual people over the years. He also has several ex-criminals working for him who add some muscle and street smarts to the group. The trail of this killer sends some of them out west to see if his origins will give them any clues to his motivations. In NY, they interview boys in places like Paresis Hall, where the skin trade is exploited and soiled doves are 12 years old or even younger. They troll the seamiest gin mills and gangster hangouts, looking for any information that will help them close in on this fiendish killer. Brushing the grime, soot, and filth from their close encounters with the sordid nightlife are contrasted with their enjoyment of the splendors of the opera house and the delicious, famous Delmonicos Restaurant.

Hurry or a child will die!

Their investigation also brings them in contact with the world famous Black Library, owned by the very wealthy J. P. Morgan. It is fascinating how the most unseemly, seedier sides of town always seem to intersect with the most affluent, "elite" society. There are secrets masked by the silk wallpaper and hidden behind brocade curtains.



This is the second time I've read this book. The first time was back in 1994 when it was first released, and both times I've been struck with the authenticity of experiencing Victorian New York from the locations, disreputable and elegant, we are allowed to visit during the investigation to the fog strewn streets as they race to catch a killer before he can strike again.

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Science Fiction | Horror | Fiction

Based on the screenplay by Dan O’Bannon. The crew of the spaceship Nostromo wake from cryogenic sleep to distress signals from an unknown planet. One is attacked when they investigate a derelict alien craft. Safely on their way back to Sol, none foresee the real horror about to begin.

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