1845. New York City forms its first police force. The great potato famine hits Ireland. These two seemingly disparate events will change New York City. Forever.
Timothy Wilde tends bar near the Exchange, saving every dollar and shilling in hopes of winning the girl of his dreams. But when his dreams literally incinerate in a fire devastating downtown Manhattan, he finds himself disfigured, unemployed, and homeless. His older brother obtains Timothy a job in the newly minted NYPD, but he is highly skeptical of this untested "police force." And he is less than thrilled that his new beat is the notoriously down-and-out Sixth Ward-at the border of Five Points, the world's most notorious slum.
One night while returning from his rounds, heartsick and defeated, Timothy runs into a little slip of a girl—a girl not more than ten years old—dashing through the dark in her nightshift . . . covered head to toe in blood.
Timothy knows he should take the girl to the House of Refuge, yet he can't bring himself to abandon her. Instead, he takes her home, where she spins wild stories, claiming that dozens of bodies are buried in the forest north of 23rd Street. Timothy isn't sure whether to believe her or not, but, as the truth unfolds, the reluctant copper star finds himself engaged in a battle for justice that nearly costs him his brother, his romantic obsession, and his own life.
Title: The Gods of Gotham
Author: Lyndsay Faye
Genre: Adult Fiction, Historical, Mystery
Publisher: Amy Einhorn Books
Publication Date: March 20, 2012
Source: Received from publicist. Many thanks goes to Barbara from Penguin Canada for sending me a copy of this book for review. I received this book free of charge in exchange for an honest review.
My rating: 4.5/5
Timothy Wilde is a bartender. He isn't a police man. He enjoys pouring drinks, not patrolling the rowdy streets of New York. When a fire razes down his place of employment, he finds himself out of a job. Much to Timothy's chagrin, his brother has no problems recruiting him to the newly minted police force. While patrolling one night, or rather, coming home from patrolling, he runs into a girl, and falls headlong into his first big case. Will he be able to solve the mystery surrounding this blood soaked girl, and the deaths that keep cropping up around her, before something happens to him?
The Gods of Gotham is a richly written book, and the attention to detail is fantastic. I'm a huge fan of historical novels. Especially when they are written well, and don't read like an actual history book. This novel offered up a host of memorable characters, and left the reader feeling engaged in the story. Timothy Wilde is a charismatic and intriguing character. He keeps the reader guessing at some of his thoughts, especially when drawing conclusions to who he thinks is responsible for the crimes that are inundating the city.
Faye weaves a deftly tantalizing tale of murder, and politics, all the while keeping the reader guessing alongside Timothy. The Gods of Gotham stays in character to the times, and also keeps the read authentic to the policing and forensics of the era. One thing I found that kept me fully immersed while reading was the attention to the language and slang of 1845 New York. This really is one of the best reads I have read in a long time, and Timothy certainly kept me guessing right up to the end.
All in all, if you're looking for something to read next, I recommend that you pick up this book. Engaging characters, mysterious circumstances, lyrical writing, and the historical detail alone will have you devouring this book. I look forward to the next Timothy Wilde book because I have a feeling his story is not finished quite yet.