Surrender, New York by Caleb Carr. Having loved the team Caleb put together in his novels situated in the late nineteenth century, The Alienist and Angel of Darkness, I was curious about this novel. What kind of mystery would show up in the twenty-first century and who would solve it?
It seems that in otherwise sleepy Burgoyne County in upstate New York, there have been a series of apparent murders of adolescents, whose bodies are discovered dramatically and grotesquely staged for full shock effect. I say “apparent murders,” but what else could they be? Hmm.
The brilliant Dr. Trajan Jones, exiled to his great-aunt Clarissa’s farm after being unfairly disgraced in New York City, assembles an unlikely team to help him counteract the sometimes bumbling and sometimes corrupt efforts of local authorities. Dr. Jones‘ admiration for the methods of Dr. Kreizler, the great alienist of the previous books, puts him in conflict with the sort of investigation we see on shows like CSI. Dr. Jones doesn’t spurn physical science (his sidekick is a DNA expert); he just contends that the complex thought required in psychological profiling gets to the heart of the matter.
Once you begin this book you are sucked in. There is something incredibly appealing about a super brilliant character who has been drastically humbled by life – childhood illness, lasting physical impairment and then professional disgrace. He’s also a fool for love (shades of The Maltese Falcon). There is plenty of suspense, and, something you don’t see every day, a cheetah who rises to the stature of a major character.