Review: The Fatal Flame by Lyndsay Faye

Tuesday 12 May 2015
Title: The Fatal Flame (Timothy Wilde, #3)
Author: Lyndsay Faye
Publisher: Headline
Publication Date: 12th May 2015
Pages: 416
ISBN: 9781472217387
Source: Review Copy
Rating: 4/5
Purchase: Amazon
A scarred barman turned copper star, the birth of the NYPD, gangs, murder, brothels and bedlam in the dark underworld of nineteenth-century New York.

Timothy Wilde - copper star, tough with a warm heart, learning his craft as a detective.

Valentine Wilde - Timothy's gregarious, glamorous, depraved rogue of a brother.

Mercy Underhill - The intelligent, creative but unstable love of Timothy's life.

Silky Marsh - The beautiful brothel owner whose scheming knows no bounds.

Against the gritty backdrop of the notorious Five Points in 1848, Timothy Wilde is drawn yet again into a disturbing mystery, leading him to the heart of the Bowery girls, the original 'factory girls' in downtown Manhattan.

Someone is starting fires on the streets of New York and Timothy has to unravel a knot of revenge, murder and blackmail if he's to find out who is behind it all and stop them before the whole city goes up in flames...

I read The Fatal Flame in the midst of my Blue Bloods addiction, Blue Bloods being a rather enjoyable police series set in present day New York City and The Fatal Flame being a historical crime novel set in nineteenth-century New York City and focusing on copper star Timothy Wilde and the newly-formed NYPD. It was rather enjoyable to spend a little time comparing the two and what it really brought to light to me was just how beautifully Lyndsay Faye has researched this series. Not having read a lot of historical fiction there's nothing that I can personally compare it with, but it's just such an incredibly atmospheric read in places that you know Lyndsay has been meticulous in her research as well as being somebody who has a real passion for what she is writing.

It's difficult to summarise what the book is about, especially for those who haven't yet read The Gods of Gotham or Seven for a Secret, something which I would definitely recommend doing if you are planning on picking up this book. Copper star Timothy Wilde once again finds himself caught up in another disturbing mystery. Somebody is setting fires on the streets of 1848 New York City, and Timothy must unravel a knot of revenge, murder and blackmail if he's to find out who is behind it all and stop them before the whole city goes up in flames... All while contending with issues of his own in regards to his personal life. Past events which we read about in the preceding books come to a head in The Fatal Flame. I found myself - as with the previous two novels from Lyndsay - getting completely caught up in the story and the world created here, and spent a little time following the conclusion of this series online reading more about this time, and the formation of the NYPD, fascinating stuff in itself. Everything about The Fatal Flame is extremely authentic, especially in the dialogue and language used throughout.

With the knowledge that The Fatal Flame was probably going to be the final book in this series, I felt that there was real scope for Lyndsay Faye to forgo that happy ever after, and having followed the characters, having my favourites - those I care about, those I like more than others - I really felt the danger that some of them faced, and had no idea just how Lyndsay would ultimately conclude the story. The mystery element throughout really is brilliantly done, and I imagine that a number of readers will not be able to put the puzzle back together. Nothing ever felt predictable, and the closing chapters in particular left me satisfied but at the same time saddened that we might not meet these characters again in the future. Lyndsay Faye is definitely an author to watch, and she has opened my eyes to a genre that in the past I have took not all that much notice of. I will definitely be keeping an eye out for what Lyndsay Faye writes in the future.


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