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Seven for a Secret Hardcover – September 17, 2013

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. Faye once again skillfully evokes the early days of the NYPD in this gripping and moving sequel to 2012's The Gods of Gotham, an Edgar finalist. One winter evening in 1846, Lucy Adams, a free black woman, calls on copper Timothy Wilde at police headquarters in the Tombs for help. Lucy's sister, Delia Wright, and her seven-year-old son, Jonas Adams, have vanished from their Manhattan home. Wilde quickly ascertains that even though Delia and Jonas aren't slaves, men seeking to profit from capturing them are responsible. Later, Wilde is horrified to discover the still warm body of a murder victim in the quarters of his police-captain brother, Valentine, and removes the body to a shanty near the Hudson to protect Valentine from being implicated in the crime. As this episode shows, Wilde makes mistakes—but his fallibilities are at the core of his appeal, even as his doggedness and insights enable him to tease out what really has been going on beneath the surface. Simple but effective prose, a brilliantly constructed plot, and three-dimensional characters add up to another winner for Faye. Agent: Erin Malone, William Morris Endeavor. (Sept.)

From Booklist

*Starred Review* In crime-ridden New York City in 1846, the year after the NYPD was established, 28-year-old “copper star” Timothy Wilde is the “solver of the chief’s nastier puzzles.” He intuitively solves the theft of a valuable painting, along the way establishing good will that will serve him well later. But beautiful, “high-yellow” Lucy Adams, wife of a white man, presents a knottier problem when she seeks him out personally after her son and her sister are kidnapped by slave catchers. This requires Timothy to enlist the help of his older brother and sole remaining relative, police captain Val, who alternately scandalizes and saves him. What seems a quick solution soon mushrooms into politically tinged murder, involving Timothy with members of the Underground Railroad trying to counter the slave-catching trade, in which both escaped slaves and freed blacks are captured in the north and sent south into slavery. Like its predecessor, Edgar-nominated The Gods of Gotham (2012), this is fiction based on thorough research, and it captures the tumult of its time and place in an action-packed plot with elements of tragedy and hope, featuring a protagonist who fights for what is right in the face of corruption. Superlative historical mystery. --Michele Leber

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 464 pages
  • Publisher: G.P. Putnam's Sons; 1St Edition edition (September 17, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0399158383
  • ISBN-13: 978-0399158384
  • Product Dimensions: 6.2 x 1.4 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (113 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #606,952 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Lyndsay Faye moved to Manhattan in 2005 to audition for work as a professional actress; she found her days more open when the powers that be elected to knock her day-job restaurant down with bulldozers. Her first novel Dust and Shadow: an Account of the Ripper Killings by Dr. John H Watson is a tribute to the aloof genius and his good-hearted friend whose exploits she has loved since childhood. Faye's love of her adopted city led her to research the origins of the New York City Police Department, the inception of which exactly coincided with the start of the Irish Potato Famine. Her second and third novels, The Gods of Gotham and its sequel, follow ex-bartender Timothy Wilde as he navigates the rapids of his violently turbulent city, his no less chaotic elder brother Valentine Wilde, and the perils of learning police work in a riotous and racially divided political landscape.

After growing up in the Pacific Northwest, Lyndsay migrated to Belmont, California and graduated from Notre Dame de Namur University with a dual degree in English and Performance. She worked as a professional actress throughout the Bay Area for several years, nearly always in a corset, and if not a corset then at the very least heels and lined stockings. As her roles ranged from Scrooge's lost fiancée in A Christmas Carol to Lavinia DuPlessy in Andrew Lippa's world premiere of A Little Princess, whalebone prevented her from drawing a natural breath for a number of years. She is a soprano with a high pop belt, if it interests you. Her performances were generally reviewed well, with adjectives ranging from "soaring" and "delightful" to "sausage-curled."

Lyndsay and her husband Gabriel Lehner live just north of Harlem with their cats, Grendel and Prufrock. During the few hours a day Lyndsay isn't writing or editing, she is most often cooking, or sampling new kinds of microbrew, or thinking of ways to creatively mismatch her clothing. She is a very proud member of AEA, MWA, ASH, and BSI (Actor's Equity Association, Mystery Writers of America, the Adventuresses of Sherlock Holmes, and the Baker Street Irregulars, respectively). She is hard at work on the sequel to The Gods of Gotham.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

24 of 28 people found the following review helpful By Benjamin Thomas VINE VOICE on June 30, 2013
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Six months after the events of The Gods of Gotham, where-in we get to participate in the 1845 founding and very early days of the New York City Police Department (NYPD), we catch up with young Timothy Wilde, a "Copper Star" in the new police force. He's a proven asset now, an excellent solver of crimes and finder of missing things, and has therefore been relieved of the necessity of walking a beat as a "rounder" in Ward 6. Rather, he is a sort of special "detective" (although that term won't be in use for another 5-10 years) and works on specific cases for the Chief of Police, George Washington Matsell. Tim Wilde shows off his detective skills early on but the major case of the novel surrounds the very historically accurate issue of kidnapping free blacks in the North and selling them back to the South as escaped slaves.

This novel is an outstanding second novel in what I surely hope will be a lengthy and successful series. The first in the series, The Gods of Gotham, was an excellent novel as well, but at times, it seemed as if the author was trying a little too hard to craft the perfect novel. Her writing style was a bit more "literary" in that first book and, indeed, it was nominated for a whole host of prizes. But it seemed that the parts of the story were crafted together a bit too neatly. This time around, she seems much more relaxed with her characters; she's come to know them well and she lets them play on her stage. And once again, her stage is phenomenal! All the color and vibrancy of the first book is here still, the sounds and smells of the population-exploding New York in the mid-19th century, the language of the streets and criminals, and the corruption of the politics...all the way to Tammany Hall.

And the characters!
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28 of 34 people found the following review helpful By Barbarino VINE VOICE on August 2, 2013
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I found 'Seven For a Secret' available through the Vine Program and thought it sounded like a great story. I soon realized it was the second book in a new series, of course I wanted to read the series in order. So, I picked up the first book 'The Gods of Gotham' and as it turns out I was pleased that 'Seven for a Secret' led me to 'The Gods of Gotham'.

I read 'The Gods of Gotham' immediately before starting 'Seven For a Secret', I thought that would be the best way to keep the characters vivid in my memory. Unfortunately reading the two books in succession made the differences between them stark and glaring.

In 'The Gods of Gotham' Timothy Wilde is a clever young man who struggles with his feelings for his older brother, he's conflicted by equal parts admiration and resentment (boarding on loathing). He's spent many years working in a pub and is skilled at discerning personal habits, geography and occupation from the way customers are clothed, groomed and speak. When he becomes a copper star, one of the first policemen in NYC, he puts his powers of observation and reasoning to use, solving crime and apprehending thieves. He's a wonderful character and a protagonist I was looking forward to following through a series of books. I felt the same way about his brother, Valentine, who is a very different character, he struggles with his own inner demons but is all the more interesting because of them. In 'the Gods of Gotham' the friction between them was lively, clever and believable and it added to the depth of the story.

The first difference I noticed between the two novels was Tim's personality and his relationship with Valentine. Tim isn't at all street savvy at the beginning of this book. When we leave him at the end of 'Gotham' he's sharp, clever, quick.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By OLT TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on August 7, 2013
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Faye's book's title comes from an old English nursery counting rhyme about magpies, considered birds of ill omen, but when the rhyme was transplanted to America, the birds became crows or blackbirds (magpies being in short supply here). The rhyme begins with "one for sorrow" and there's a goodly supply of sorrow and despair to be found in the book, but, for me, this turned out to be an oddly uplifting read, considering the downer plot and the troubled characters involved.

How are blackbirds involved? The main story line involves the heinous activities of "blackbirders", those who capture runaway black slaves and also abduct free blacks either to return the former to their "owners" or to sell the latter on the slave market. This is 1846 New York, pre-Civil War, and life's tricky and uncertain, especially for immigrants, in particular the Irish who came voluntarily to escape the Great Famine, and for blacks, who obviously were not here voluntarily. There's bigotry and racism abounding.

Although the main story involves the murder of a black woman and the abduction by blackbirders of her young son and her sister, this mystery is less important in the reading than the story of life and people in NYC, mid 19th century. The protagonist (in addition to NYC itself) is Timothy Wilde, in his first year as a copper star in the newly-formed NYPD. Timothy has been a reluctant recruit to the NYPD, but he has shown considerable aptitude for crime solving and detective work.

If you've read Faye's first book about Timothy,
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