If you like The Alienist by Caleb Carr

The Alienist by Caleb Carr

This readalike is in response to a patron's book-match request. If you would like personalized reading recommendations, fill out the book-match form and a librarian will email suggested titles to you. Available for adults, teens, and kids.  You can browse the book matches here.

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." (Book description)
 
These titles are literary, well-written and match the mood of Caleb Carr's The Alienist.
 
The Birth of Venus by Sarah Dunant
Sarah Dunant's gorgeous and mesmerizing novel, Birth of Venus, draws readers into a turbulent 15th-century Florence, a time when the lavish city, steeped in years of Medici family luxury, is suddenly besieged by plague, threat of invasion, and the righteous wrath of a fundamentalist monk. Dunant masterfully blends fact and fiction, seamlessly interweaving Florentine history with the coming-of-age story of a spirited 14-year-old girl. As Florence struggles in Savonarola's grip, a serial killer stalks the streets, the French invaders creep closer, and young Alessandra Cecchi must surrender her "childish" dreams andnavigate her way into womanhood. (amazon.com)
 
Buckskin Line by Elmer Kelton
”From a six-time Spur Award winner comes the story of a Texas Ranger who carries heavy burdens. The father and brother of the woman he loves have been lynched, and he is fated to meet the Comanche warrior whose band killed his family.”—catalog summary
 
 
 
 
City of Light by Lauren Belfer
”In the grand tradition of ‘Ragtime’ and ‘The Alienist’ comes a dazzling historical novel bursting with vibrant characters both real and imagined. At once a thriller, a love story, and a rich portrait of an American city poised for glory at the turn of the century, ‘City of Light’ is a human drama wrought with remarkable depth and intelligence.”—catalog summary
 

 
 
The Dante Club by Matthew Pearl
When a series of gruesome murders erupts in 1865, only Boston's literary elite realize that the style and form of the killings are derived from Dante's "Inferno." (catalog summary)
 
 
 
 
 
Dreamland by Kevin Baker
"A literary tour de force, a magnificent chronicle of a remarkable era and a place of dreams.  In a stunning work of imagination and memory, author Kevin Baker brings to mesmerizing life a vibrant, colorful, thrilling, and dangerous New York City in the earliest years of the twentieth century. A novel breathtaking in its scope and ambition, it is the epic saga of newcomers drawn to the promise of America--gangsters and laborers, hucksters and politicians, radicals, reformers, murderers, and sideshow oddities--whose stories of love, revenge, and tragedy interweave and shine in the artificial electric dazzle of a wondrous place called Dreamland.”—catalog summary
 
The Dress Lodger by Sheri Holman
In Sunderland, England, a city quarantined by the cholera epidemic of 1831, a defiant, fifteen-teen-year old beauty in an elegant blue dress makes her way between shadow and lamp light. A potter's assistant by day and dress lodger by night, Gustine sells herself for necessity in a rented gown, scrimping to feed and protect her only love: her fragile baby boy. She holds a glimmer of hope after meeting Dr. Henry Chiver, a prisoner of his own dark past. But in a world where suspicion of medicine runs rampant like a fever, these two lost souls will become irrevocably linked, as each crosses lines between rich and destitute, decorum and abandon, damnation and salvation. By turns tender and horrifying, The Dress Lodger is a captivating historical thriller charged with a distinctly modern voice...(Book description)
 
The Eight by Katherine Neville
An interweaving of two stories, that of a computer expert in the 1970s who is searching for a legendary chess set once owned by Charlemagne, and a French nun in the 1790s who protects the set by scattering its pieces across Europe to prevent it from falling into evil hands. "With two believable heroines, nonstop suspense, espionage, murder and a puzzle that seems the key to the whole Western mystical tradition, this spellbinder soars above the level of first-rate escapist
entertainment." (Publishers Weekly)
 

Feeding the Ghosts by Fred D'Aguiar
”A suspenseful, poetic novel, based on an actual incident about a disease-ridden slave ship, a female captive, and a shocking court case.”—catalog summary

 
 
 
 
 
Hitler's Niece by Ron Hansen
”’Hitler's Niece’ tells the story of the intense and disturbing relationship between Adolf Hitler and the daughter of his only half-sister, Angela, a drama that evolves against the backdrop of Hitler's rise to prominence and power from particularly inauspicious beginnings. The story follows Geli from her birth in Linz, Austria, through the years in Berchtesgaden and Munich, to her tragic death in 1932 in Hitler's apartment in Munich. Through the eyes of a favorite niece who has been all but lost to history, we see the frightening rise in prestige and political power of a vain, vulgar, sinister man who thrived on cruelty and hate and would stop at nothing to keep the horror of his inner life hidden from the world.”—catalog summary
 
An Instance of the Fingerpost by Ian Pears
We are in England in the 1660s, Charles II has been restored to the throne following years of civil war and Oliver Cromwell's short-lived republic. Oxford is the intellectual seat of the country, a place of great scientific, religious, and political ferment. A fellow of New College is found dead in suspicious circumstances. A young woman is accused of his murder. We hear the story of the death from four witnesses: an Italian physician intent on claiming credit for the invention of blood transfusion; the son of an alleged Royalist traitor; a master cryptographer who has worked for both Cromwell and the king; and a renowned Oxford antiquarian. Each tells his own version of what happened. Only one reveals the extraordinary truth. (catalog summary)
 
The Journal of Mrs. Pepys: Portrait of a Marriage by Sara George
”The journal of Elizabeth Pepys, wife of the celebrated diarist Samuel, is the story of a passionate, if pain-fraught marriage, of a gloriously rich and robust period in our history and a woman's passage through the defining years of her life in which her search to draw significance from her existence is punctuated by the everyday urgencies of living. At times jauntily acerbic, at others movingly elegiac, this is portrait of a tumultuous relationship and era that, in its sharp-edged concerns and emotions, is utterly compelling.”—catalog summary
 
 
Juneteenth by Ralph Ellison
”Here is the master of American vernacular--the rhythms of jazz and gospel and ordinary speech--at the height of his powers, telling a powerful, evocative tale of a prodigal of the twentieth century. "Tell me what happened while there's still time," demands the dying Senator Adam Sunraider to the itinerate Negro preacher whom he calls Daddy Hickman. As a young man, Sunraider was Bliss, an orphan taken in by Hickman and raised to be a preacher like himself. Bliss's history encompasses the joys of young southern boyhood; bucolic days as a filmmaker, lovemaking in a field in the Oklahoma sun. And behind it all lies a mystery: how did this chosen child become the man who would deny everything to achieve his goals? Brilliantly crafted, moving, wise, Juneteenth is the work of an American master.”—catalog summary
 
The Name of the Rose by Umberto Eco
It is the year 1327. Franciscans in an Italian abbey are suspected of heresy, but Brother William of Baskerville's investigation is suddenly overshadowed by seven bizarre deaths. (amazon.com)
 
 
 
 
 
The Nautical Chart by Arturo Perez-Reverte
A treasure hunt for a Jesuit ship sunk by pirates off the coast of Spain is the plot on which Perez-Reverte's new novel turns, but a love story is the real heart of this nicely crafted, carefully told adventure. A suspended sailor happens on a maritime auction in Barcelona, where he meets the beautiful Tanger Soto, a museum curator whose winning bid buys her a 17th-century atlas that may reveal the final resting place of the Dei Gloria. Coy, the sailor, is totally smitten, so it's no surprise that he signs on to help Tanger track the sunken ship to its grave in waters he's sailed since childhood. Enlisting the aid of a diver friend, Coy and Tanger stay a few steps ahead of the crooked salvagers who've been trying to get the atlas, outmaneuvering the attempts on their lives and the efforts to keep them from the treasure. (amazon.com)
 
Night Inspector by Frederick Busch
”In post-Civil War New York, an investor mounts an operation to free a group of children held as slaves in Florida. The investor is William Bartholomew who served in the Union army as a sniper and he does it at the behest of his Creole girlfriend.”—catalog summary
 
 
 

A Prayer for the Dying
by Stewart O'Nan
”Set in Friendship, Wisconsin, just after the Civil War, ‘A Prayer for the Dying’ tells of a horrible epidemic that has gripped the town in a vise of fear and death. Jacob Hansen, Friendship's sheriff, undertaker, and pastor, is soon overwhelmed, though he continues to do what he can. Dark, poetic, and chilling, a ‘Prayer for the Dying’ makes us consider if it's possible to be a good man in a time of madness.”—catalog summary