The Gods of Gotham by Lyndsay Faye

gods of gothamSummary: It’s 1845, Irish immigrants are flooding into New York City as the Great Potato Famine begins to ravage their home country and in a downtown Manhattan bar Timothy Wilde pours drinks and serves oysters all while saving every cent to achieve his dream of owning his own ferry boat and marrying the girl of his dreams. That is until he loses every dollar in a disastrous fire and is forced to take a job on the newly formed New York City Police Department. When Tim literally collides with a 10 year old girl running through the streets of his ward in a bloody night dress he is thrown headlong into a disturbing and dangerous case. Tim must walk a thin line between uncovering the truth and maintaining peace in a city about to boil over with anti-Irish rage.

Review: The Gods of Gotham is astoundingly well researched. Faye creates a strong sense of place and does a marvelous job transporting you to 1840s New York with small details like period dialect and excerpts from historical documents. As a protagonist, Timothy Wilde is a fascinating character to watch grow and change as the novel progresses. While his views may strike some readers as anachronistic, they make the character incredibly likable so you can’t help but root for him to get out from under his brother’s shadow and find his own voice.  The mystery itself is absorbing and well-handled – although the most genre-savvy readers may see at least part of the resolution coming. In all, it is a great turn in the historical fiction genre and the start of a promising series. Fans of shows such as Copper or Ripper Street will find much to like in this novel.

Read-a-likes: Readers who enjoy mysteries and the setting of 19th century New York should be sure to check out The Alienist by Caleb Carr. Also be sure to check out the rest of the books in the series Seven for a Secret and the newly released, The Fatal Flame.

-Bibliognost

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