Caleb Carr started a new genre with The Alienist, a period piece forensic thriller: Silence of the Lambs meets Jack the Ripper, and even though it's been a while since I have read it, I remember it as one of the funnest reads ever.
My mom is an avid reader (to put it mildly) and loves a good mystery, so I am not surprised that this was a memorable one for her as well. The book takes place in 1896 New York City and a serial killer is on the loose. With the police having no luck in solving the grizzly crimes, Theodore Roosevelt asks for the assistance of psychologist (then called “alienist”) Lazlo Kreizler and his team of daring new sleuths.
There is a lot of historical detail which makes for interesting and fun insight into what it was like to live in the city at that time and how crimes were traditionally solved. With summer just around the corner, I recommend picking this up if you want a page turner that won't leave you feeling like a moron. I do not, however, recommend the sequel–just so you know.