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4.0 out of 5 stars Booktrail to the start of the NYC police - NYC
Set in mid-19th century New York, this is the tale of Timothy Wilde, a ‘copper star’ in the newly formed police force.

He comes across a young girl in the streets dressed in blood-soaked night clothes and his first real serious case starts. But this is a case which is going to the core of everything he doesn’t want to get involved in and the...
Published 4 months ago by thebooktrailer

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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Promising but flawed...
Set in mid-19th century New York, this novel tells the tale of Timothy Wilde, a 'copper star' in the newly formed police force. When Timothy comes across a young girl in the streets dressed in a blood-soaked nightdress, he is soon sucked into investigating what seems to be a trail of horrific child murders going back several years. Are they the work of a deranged madman...
Published on 10 Feb 2012 by FictionFan


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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Promising but flawed..., 10 Feb 2012
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FictionFan (Kirkintilloch, Scotland) - See all my reviews
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Set in mid-19th century New York, this novel tells the tale of Timothy Wilde, a 'copper star' in the newly formed police force. When Timothy comes across a young girl in the streets dressed in a blood-soaked nightdress, he is soon sucked into investigating what seems to be a trail of horrific child murders going back several years. Are they the work of a deranged madman or is there a religious or political angle to the crimes?

The basic premise of the book is good and the descriptions of New York give a convincing picture of a lawless new city run by corrupt politicians and struggling to cope with the influx of Irish immigrants coming to America to escape from the poverty and starvation caused by the Irish Potato Famine. The author has written much of the book in the slang that was apparently current at the time and, while interesting at first, I found this a bit wearing after a while. Unfortunately, I also found the lead character quite unconvincing. The book is written in the first person and I felt Timothy's thought patterns and feelings made him seem more female than male - the author's voice showing through, I think. His constant musings on his love for Mercy Underhill started out quite poetically but eventually became somewhat tedious and repetitive. And though he is supposed to have an understanding of human nature and an ability to get people to tell him things, he seemed to spend most of his time not understanding the motivations of even the people closest to him.

Overall, the characterisation, for me, is flawed and the book was too long for its content - it could have easily been cut by a third without losing much in the telling. However the novel is quite well written despite the slang, the historical context is interesting and the basic plot is good. There's certainly enough to make this a promising first novel, and I will be interested to see how the author develops in future books.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Booktrail to the start of the NYC police - NYC, 1 Aug 2014
By 
thebooktrailer (Whereever a book takes us) - See all my reviews
Set in mid-19th century New York, this is the tale of Timothy Wilde, a ‘copper star’ in the newly formed police force.

He comes across a young girl in the streets dressed in blood-soaked night clothes and his first real serious case starts. But this is a case which is going to the core of everything he doesn’t want to get involved in and the worse level of humour nature in a city that is changing beyond recognition.

Setting –

Ahh think you know New York?

You haven’t seen this side of things the city that never sleeps. For it might not sleep but that doesn’t mean that the criminals have a rest or the worse of human kind come crawling out on the streets.

The two most iconic sites in the novel are the Five Points and the tombs – the tombs was the name for the prison and police station at the time and it was situated int he Five points area of the city – a notorious slum full of vice.

Who and want is valued in the city of this time? The author paints a very real and utterly convincing portrait of New York in 1845. It is grim, dark, dank and smelly. Extreme poverty and sickness are the bedfellows of many.

This is a novel and a book trail right at the heart of the dirt, dank dark streets of the city at one of its most pivotal parts of its history.

Evocative is not the word – it places you right there amidst the chaos, with its cold hand on your shoulder guiding the way….

New York – the big apple may be rotten and the city have no chance of sleep in Ward Six but the new police force is fighting back

What an amazing point in time to pay a visit.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars No sign of Batman!!, 17 May 2012
By 
FLB (England) - See all my reviews
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If your looking for Batman, forget it! This book follows the life of Timothy Wilde who becomes poor, homeless and injured following a large fire in a lower Manhattan fire, set in 1845 the story moves on a pace. Told in the first person Tim becomes a Police Officer and quickly becomes involved in a series of child murders. A well written book that provides a view of 1845 New York that can seem all too real at times, If this is the first of a series then I'm hooked. If not, then it will be a missed opportunity.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Impressive, 12 May 2012
By 
Brett H "pentangle" (Brighton) - See all my reviews
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The author paints a convincing portrait of New York in 1845. In many ways it is a grim place with extreme poverty and sickness. Brothels abound and numerous abused and vagrant children live on the streets or in `bawdy houses'. This is a city which has grown rapidly to a population of some 400,000 and which is increasing in size daily as the Irish flood driven by the potato famine in their native land. The Irish jostle at the bottom of the social scale alongside the blacks and there is particular resentment towards Catholics.

The story is told in the first person by Timothy Wilde who loses his lodgings and his savings and is hurt in a great fire which devastates a large part of lower Manhattan. His brother, Val, who is older than him and with whom he has an extreme love hate relationship, is a political animal involved with the Democrats. As a result of this he secures a position as Captain in the fledgling police force, and manages to find a job for an initially reluctant Tim as police roundsman or a `Copper Star'.

Tim quickly finds himself involved with a case which involves the murder and disposal of a number of children. Unlike most of his colleagues who patrol the streets and intervene if they see something illegal, Tim's skill is in solving crimes. He is intelligent, resourceful, analytical and has a lot of perseverance. Whilst initially he, and the other members of the force are mainly observers, his skills are quickly recognised by George Washington Matsell, the Chief of Police and he is then given the go ahead to investigate crimes. A further essential skill in his new career is that he is sufficiently politically and emotionally astute to be able to make sensible judgements.

There is a lot of `flash' in this book which is the language of the underworld. In many books, authors drop in the occasional non English word to give their tale a local flavour, and usually this is meaningless as far as the reader is concerned and somewhat irritating. However, one does not feel this with flash as many of the words or expressions are either already vaguely familiar or fairly obvious or the reader becomes accustomed to them quite quickly.

This is an impressive and well written novel which has clearly been thoroughly researched to give it an authentic background. New York is so well described that you can almost feel the sights and smells of 1845. In particular we really get under Tim's skin and appreciate that he is a complex character. He is using his skills to do the job of solving crimes after the event rather than preventing them happening, which is unique in this setting, since this concept has not even been considered by the powers that be. I would think there is plenty of scope for further stories about Timothy Wilde. I certainly hope that the author does choose to write more since this character and setting are well worth persevering with. If further books do follow they will be high on my personal reading list.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A good yarn, 12 May 2012
By 
Christian (UK) - See all my reviews
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I've read some of the other thoughts on here and whilst I understand the points made, they haven't detracted from my enjoyment of this book.

Set in New York 1845, this is the tale of a city that is still finding it's own identity and yet is changing daily with the clashing of different peoples trying to find a home. This is an earthy tale which is well researched and fuses neatly the historical context with the tale told within.

Some may find the anachronisms difficult to take; Tim Wilde is written as a character perhaps easier to understand and relate to. I think there is always a trade off and have read characters before who are so authentic that it turns you off trying to relate to the central figures. He is a character between two worlds, that of the street and society.

What I particularly liked was that this was a mystery which felt really grounded. Too many detective books have incredible leaps of faith with villains who are seemingly supernatural. This tale brings together a cast of characters who may be flawed, but for that they are truly human. Really enjoyed reading this and felt the pay off at the end was fitting. More please.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Colourful slice of New York life, 8 May 2012
By 
Denise4891 (Cheshire) - See all my reviews
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The Gods of Gotham is a crime thriller with a difference. It's set in New York in the mid 1840s and our erstwhile narrator, Timothy Wilde, has rather reluctantly been recruited to join the 'Copper Stars', the city's burgeoning police force. His subsequent investigations into the deaths of a number of young orphans and child prostitutes bring him into contact with the squalor, depravity, corruption and ingenuity of New York's underbelly on a daily basis.

There's a cast of very colourful characters, not least Timothy's disreputable and very amusing brother Valentine and the formidable madam, Silkie Marsh. The language is equally rich and vibrant - one of Timothy's superior officers is compiling a 'Rogue's Lexicon' of slang terms used by the criminal classes to aid the detectives in their work, and the text is liberally sprinkled with colourful examples, giving the book an almost Dickensian feel at times.

The atmosphere of mid-19th century New York with its criminal gangs, corrupt politicians and influx of Irish immigrants, is skillfully drawn and Lyndsay Faye has created an empathetic, likeable but flawed protagonist in Timothy Wilde. I don't know if she's planning on continuing his adventures in a sequel, but if she is I'd be very interested in reading it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Wilde about New York, 25 April 2012
By 
Gods of Gotham This atmospheric fictional tale set at the very beginnings of what we now know as the NYPD has everything. A touching love affair with a very surprising twist, characters that are all larger than life but entirely believable, an admirable hero who has a nice line in commentary, and a dark body-littered plot. With all that it boasts true originality, even the slang language that the reader learns as he reads is unlikely to be found elsewhere.
So, Alfie, what's it all about?
It is a New York, full of corruption, prostitution, drunkenness and of the poorest of Irish immigrants where barman, Timothy Wilde, is caught up in a terrible fire and scarred for life. He has lost his looks and his savings in the fire and, in doing so, also loses all hope of marrying Mercy Underhill, the Reverend's daughter. Mercy does her rounds giving charity to the desperate poor, even to the house of child prostitutes run by Silkie Marsh, unsurprisingly amid such corruption, a woman of power.
It is Timothy's hated brother Valentine who drums him into the newly forming `Police Force' and he finds his natural place in the world. A place where he can lick his wounds and find a use for himself. His qualities are soon required when he finds a young blood-soaked girl escaping from Silkie and a young boy's body is discovered, suffering horrific wounds. Timothy takes time to piece all the clues together but there are enough of them when a veritable graveyard of little bodies are discovered. Shock after shock is revealed before Timothy cracks the case and fences are mended, others broken in a very surprising way.
Timothy is a brilliant creation whose humour and wit are sprinkled about generously and his decidedly bigger brother, though having a very different philosophy, is also memorable. Indeed, there are a dozen characters that stay in the mind, long after the book is put down. Timothy even has his own `Baker Street Irregulars'! The plot, too, is original but it is perhaps, New York which is the brightest star. A very different New York to that of today but, I'm sure, every bit as real, with all its humour and its horrors.
A debut novel of great richness and deserving of great success.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Immerse yourself in old New York!, 17 April 2012
By 
lovemurakami "tooty2" (uk) - See all my reviews
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Having read and really enjoyed Dust and Shadow (an account of the Ripper killings by Dr. John H. Watson) I was over the moon to hear that Lindsay Faye was bringing out a new novel. If you love history and fact and haven't yet tried her I would suggest you do. She packs into her writing plenty of fact and gives vivid descriptions of the world her characters populate.

Set in New York in 1845 the Gods of Gotham deals with the beginnings of the New York police department and follows Timothy Wilde who unluckily loses all in a fire which spread through lower Manhattan. His brother who has political connections and is a fire fighter gets Timothy to sign up to the newly formed NYPD. It is here where the plot really takes hold as Timothy becomes embroiled in a case dealing with the murder of child prostitutes (kinchen mab as they are known in NY slang).

As I have said if you love highly descriptive writing, which paints a vivid landscape which the characters inhabit and good plotting, you will enjoy this historical crime read. My only problem was the use of slang which at first was quite interesting but felt a bit stilted at times.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Darkly imaginative and well written., 26 Aug 2012
By 
A. I. McCulloch "Andrea" (Co Durham) - See all my reviews
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This is an unusual book, set in a period which saw the emergence of the first police forces in both the UK and America, set up to provide protection for newly emergent urban communities.
It works well as an account of social and political history, narrating the emergence of the dark underworld of urban America.
It links the effects that the Irish potato famine had on American history by making these events part of the narrative, not a shameful episode of a long forgotten past but something immediate and deeply tragic.
Most of all though, it's a cracking crime novel with a really engaging reluctant hero in Timothy Wilde. Forced into the newly emergent New York Police Force by a massive fire that deprives him of all he owns and his job, he proves to be a detective worthy of Sherlock Holmes as he investigates a case that he literally runs into on his first day.

Like the Holmes stories, this isn't a fast-paced book. The scene is carefully set and if you aren't a fan of social history this may annoy you a little as you wait for descriptions to be over and the plot to progress. But progress it eventually does, with the story unwinding and much promised for a possible sequel.
Not just a good crime novel but a very interesting read for anybody interested in Irish history during this period.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Unforgivably boring, 13 July 2012
By 
MisterHobgoblin (Melbourne) - See all my reviews
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The Gods Of Gotham should be so much better.

New York City in 1845 was a real melting pot with boatloads of new migrants coming from around the world - particularly from Ireland. There was tension between the American born, Protestant citizens and their new arrived, Catholic migrants. There was crime, squalor, corruption, poverty and fire.

Unfortunately, Lyndsay Faye has taken these ingredients and produced an overly long and muddled novel. On the surface it flatters to deceive. The reader assumes that it is a book of significance given its rich ingredients, but at heart it is not well written, poorly paced and lacks any real depth of characterisation.

Let's take just a selection of the shortcomings by way of example.

The novel takes at least a third of its length to even set up the premises - Tim Wilde becoming one of the city's newly minted police officers investigating a dead child. This is way too long and really confusing. Wilde seems to have taken the job to please his brother - who is probably corrupt and involved in politics in a role that is never properly explained; he has a natural intuition that allows him to understand people, spot lies, and know who to trust - except in the specific instances when it actually matters. The set up feels contrived and the characters never feel real.

The novel uses "flash" language - a thieves argot. Tim understands the language from his work in an oyster bar, thereby allowing him to converse with the street urchins of the city. Unfortunately, the use of flash feels heavy handed when used to report conversations with newspaper boys and renders the section unreadable. Flash words are dropped into the rest of the narrative for no obvious reason - kinchen mabs, stargazers and hushes abound, even from the lips of middle class citizens.

The pacing is wrong. At numerous points, what should have been breathless scenes are ruined by the pointless insertion of description. The shock is lost completely. This is coupled by an irritating habit of ending chapters on cliffhangers but then starting the next chapter in a different scene telling slow backstory. The tension dissipated and by the moment of reveal, the reader has forgotten the cliffhanger altogether. This happens over and over again, even in the final chapters which should have raced by.

The detection process is not explained. Tim just manages to pull amazing deductions from the air (or from his butchers paper) having failed to make connections for many preceding pages. At the end, the case just comes together from nowhere with one brilliant insight leading to a sequence of many more insights. Thus, the complicated and mystifying plot is resolved very quickly - and that's about the only thing in the book that is quick. Perhaps that's why Lyndsay Faye tried to put in some of the detail, just to slow down this breakneck speed and make it feel more like a process. And did I mention that the whole mystery relies on a series of coincidences that even Dickens could not have contrived?

Tim's relationships with others never feel quite real. He is a bachelor who harbours secret designs on Mercy Underhill, a clergyman's daughter. He has frequent contact with Mercy and her father, yet neither suspects his hidden ardour. Tim's brother Val keeps popping up in a variety of guises - politician, fireman, chief of police, vagabond - but there is no consistent narrative thread to hold him in place. One wonders why Tim gives him time of day, yet he seems to be forever in Val's thrall. It feels fake.

There is way too much research. Each chapter starts with a quotation designed to underpin an air of sectarianism against the Irish migrants. But this starts each chapter in an overly academic way and it's a tone that the narrative then fails to shake off. There are whole paragraphs - whole pages - dedicated to explaining a history to the reader which Tim, as a first person contemporaneous narrator, should have taken as read. There is too much focus on telling and not enough on showing. And it pops up at the wrong moments - walking up a blind alley to get duffed up, does Tim really think the reader needs a history of the shipping of cattle into New York City? When Tim faces down a riot, would he really step aside to tell the reader his theories that riots are created by artifice and have links with the political classes? Perhaps not.

But the biggest failing of all - especially for a thriller - is that the novel is boring.
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Gods of Gotham
Gods of Gotham by Lyndsay Faye (Paperback - Sep 2012)
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