Saturday, July 9, 2016

Book Review | SURRENDER, NEW YORK by Caleb Carr

August 23, 2016
Random House
Ambitious and brave.
I expect nothing less from a Caleb Carr novel.

Reminiscent of his Kreizler series, Carr’s new novel carries the 19th-century jargon and avid crime investigation techniques he employed; however, it now embodies the present-day tragedies. And a very apt debut for a series, if I may insinuate.

Surrender, an upstate town where Trajan Jones, a criminal psychologist, and his colleague Michael Li found themselves in exile, after having aggravated the “powers that be” in New York City. At present, both are teaching a criminology class online. Still, this present situation does not limit them from being invited as consultants by the local sheriff office, every now and then. And this brings the present dilemma at hand, “abandoned children” and their bizarre death rate in the county, wherein local authorities and the bigger players have a difference of opinion.

This being a Carr novel, it is chock-full of wide-ranging explanations and historical facts. It took some time for the plot to unfold itself, and readers who are used to fast-moving pace action/crime will usually find this slow. But the wisdom of the narrative is in that slowness -not that it lacks car chase scenes and shocking twists- wherein every unfolding is deliberate and effectual.

As per usual, Carr’s characters are very successful; they are all remarkably hard to forget. I distinctly remember when they were first mentioned and how they were mentioned every time. And this is not a short novel, by the way. In my experience with crime novels, the reader has to have a good connection with either the protagonist or the antagonist for it to work well. So, whatever strategy Carr is doing, it works really damn well.

What we see depends mainly on what we look for.
The best thing I like about Carr is that he does not simply conform to what (and how) the readers want. He offers them something significant to want instead and conveys them proficiently through it.

I highly recommend SURRENDER, NEW YORK.

Book details:
Author:  Caleb Carr
Publication: August 23, 2016; Random House
Genre: Mystery & Suspense | Literary Fiction
Rating: ★★★★★

*Thank you Random House for the uncorrected proof.


  1. Thank you for such a thoughtful review. I've ordered my copy and look forward to reading it!

  2. It would be really helpful if you posted this review on Goodreads and Amazon as there seem to be many ill-informed readers writing scathing reviews of this book. Some of them don't bother to finish the book. Others, clearly didn't even read it.

  3. Sorry, I see that you did post on Goodreads. Please disregard my previous comment. Than you.

    1. Same sentiments here. I'll try posting this on Amazon as well.
      Thank you for dropping by. :)

    2. I agree completely, the novel requires patience but that patience is repaid in manifold ways by Mr. Carr. The characters are engaging, if a bit eccentric, he intelligently discourses on criminal justice issues without becoming pedantic, and most importantly for a mystery novel, he makes the reader eager to follow in the steps of his two detectives to find the truth. Bravo, Mr Carr, for the courage to take the time and the thought to write a novel that stays with the reader. And for what it is worth, I am a former prosecutor, and a current criminal court judge, and this writer knows what he is talking about.