Review: The Gods of Gotham by Lyndsay Faye (4/5)

Thursday 3 July 2014
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, fantasizing about the day he has enough money to win 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 new "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 making his rounds, Wilde literally 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.

Having recently reviewed Seven For A Secret, I was very excited when Headline asked if I would like a copy of this book too. It had no sooner came through the door than I was reading it, such was my excitement. Seven For A Secret was brilliant, however I was slightly apprehensive about whether I'd enjoy this book as much as the second and whether it'd be weird going backwards. I am glad to say no problems and I loved this book. Also with a good few thousand reviews out there I'll keep this one brief.

I've always been fascinated with this era of New York and America in film and on TV but have not read all that many books about it. Set in 1845 the book focuses on the newly formed NYPD. The NYPD that we all know today of course as one of the most well known and recognized police forces in the world. If I'm certain of one thing it's that the recruitment process for today's NYPD is much different than the process in 1845! After now reading both of Lyndsay's books it's clear that her research is excellent, this is a very authentic novel both in terms of its setting and language used. As I said in my other review it's almost like reading a book from that era rather than one set in that era.

Book two was my first introduction to our main characters, Timothy Wilde and his brother Valentine. Both intriguing characters with an intense and troubled relationship. My interest was piqued in the second book and I loved reading about the two of them here and learning more about why they are the way they are. The subject matter here isn't for the faint hearted. Timothy runs into a girl with a wild story to tell of dead bodies buried in a nearby forest. With plenty of twists and turns I finished this book much sooner than I thought I would given the small font and amount of pages but the story was just that good it was hard to stop reading at times. As said in my review for book two, I hope this is going to be a very long running series.

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