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This review is from: The Gods of Gotham (Hardcover)
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Rating: 4.5 stars
Gods of Gotham is Lindsay Faye's second novel and one thing is acutely clear, she thrives on detail.
Take this description for example: "Mott Street near to Five Points just south of Bayard gives a man the impression an infection is running rampant through the road's sewers. And in August the fever worsens, paint peeling and wood cracking like skin in a hospital ward, the hot wet air shivering before your eyes. The pale glassy cast of the windows making the houses look stupefied. The smell of it. Every open casement vomiting chicken guts and trimmed vegetable leaves that are already spoiling, thrown down from kitchen bowls three stories above.
As an actress she obviously needs to understand and absorb her surroundings and she uses this skill to pull readers into her stories. Gods of Gotham deals with the serial murder of numerous children in New York City in the early 1800s. The story, however, is much more complicated than that since it involves the origination of the New York Police Department, adds the politics of the ruling political party and persons of that time, and weaves the animosity between the Irish and nearly everyone else.
Rather than summarize the details of the book, I prefer to present my impressions of the author's efforts. They are: readers of historical fiction will be drawn into the book. Much like "Gangs of New York", this story presents a much different impression of the era and Faye presents numerous images to capture it. The principle characters are most interesting. Disfigured Tim Wilde, his love interest Mercy Underhill and her reverend father, his brother Valentine and the impish "Bird"... these and a host of others are well defined and quite realistic. The case has an interesting twist and frankly, almost takes a secondary role as the author delivers great detail in presenting her cast of characters, their situation and the daily activities around them.
In her previous book, "Dust and Shadow" I thought she captured much of the essence of Sherlock Holmes' London and I think she does the same in this effort. It is not your typical murder mystery principally because Faye adds so much to the coffers in the way of prsenting her characters and life in the 1840s. Be prepared to emcounter the beginnings of New York and the history of it's first responders in this excellent presentation.
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Initial post: Feb 18, 2012 7:07:45 PM PST
James Mowry says:
This book is indeed marvelous. I was fortunate to be an early reviewer through LibraryThing.
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