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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Impressive
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...
Published on 12 May 2012 by Brett H

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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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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable and well painted historical novel, 23 Feb 2012
By 
bomble "bomble" (Cambridge, UK) - See all my reviews
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A few reviewers have already given a brief plot synopsis and pointed out some of its weaknesses. I would say that these are fair points if you are looking for a plot-driven detective novel but in my mind this book is several other things before it gets around to being a crime thriller.

I have been brought up on a diet of Sherlock Holmes - first read to me by my father who's a lifelong fan and since then it remains a source of enjoyment through my life. As this book is littered with turns of phrase and choice of wording that pays homage to Conan Doyle's super-sleuth, it came as no surprise to discover the author is a big fan of his work. Not only that, but it is clear to me that her hero, Timothy Wilde, shares much in the powers of deduction (or really induction but who's quibbling!) with our common hero of Baker Street. Timothy Wilde, however is a rich creation in his own right without drawing parallels to other works. Maybe his `inner voice' is a bit androgynous for the tough-guy former bar-tender and able street-fighter that he proves to be. But I still found his exploits to be just within the boundaries of the credible (more so than Holmes in many ways).

The real enjoyment of this book for me was the language and detail of the times. It seems to have been a thoroughly researched work using Matsell's Rogues' Lexicon as its basis but expanding out into the melting pot culture of New York in the 1840s. Faye really paints a wonderful scene and though the plot meanders and doesn't entirely hold together the views along the way are highly memorable and well worth the effort. Others found the book too long but I just enjoyed switching down a gear and taking it all in. With more tightly plotted `whodunnits' I might have engaged a bit more of my brain on trying to solve the crime but here I really just sat back and let it all trundle to its conclusion. No surprises that all the key characters were on the page from the early chapters then.

So I suppose you could say that the whole story is a device to shed light on a much more intriguing backdrop of the historical context of New York and the influx of Irish Catholics fleeing starvation. It works. But my main criticism comes from the levity of Faye's style when dealing with what must have been truly ghastly experiences. There's a dry humour running through the story which makes it all the more readable but also seemed a bit flimsy and maybe even in bad taste when dealing with the subjects of child murder, child prostitution, racism and the squalour of 19th Century life in a burgeoning city.

Overall I really enjoyed this book and will look out for Faye's sequel but it falls short of excellent in my view.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Something a bit different, 21 Mar 2012
At last a different read.

I lenjoyed this book. I feel that the New York of 1845 comes to life on the pages, in particular - the intolerance against the immigrant Irish, the politics of the time and the crime and lawlessness which existed. In this book, New York is a small city, with a large criminal underclass, Harlem still rural countryside and the time is right for a police force to be created, although not all the city's inhabitants are supportive.

Tim Wilde is a barman, who loses his job after a huge fire destroys his place of work, his lodgings and his savings. He is a reluctant recruit to the newly formed New York police force, one of the reasons he is recruited is his ability to talk and understand `Flash' - a dialect spoken by the criminal and lower classes. Tim's beat covers one of the worst parts of the city and there is soon a mystery to be solved when, only a few days into his job, a young girl covered in blood runs into him.

This is a detective novel, but with a difference - it's the story of the first policeman in New York solving a crime, using only his talents of observation. In some ways, he is like Miss Marple, using his observations of human behaviour to identify similar traits in others. The book introduces us to some interesting characters - Tim's opium addicted brother Val, Piest, a fellow `copper star', Mercy Underhill, a reverend's daughter and do-gooder, and Silkie Marsh, a brothel keeper. Intolerance (of blacks, of the Irish) is a theme which runs through the book.

Much of the book's dialogue is `flash' and while it is written in such as way for the meaning to be understood even if some of the individual words are unfamiliar, it did slow the pace of the book down for me. Many of the words seemed to be derivatives of London slang - I wonder whether an American readership might find the dialogue even harder to understand.

Overall , I thought this was a good read although at the end, it would appear that Tim is not as good as reading some characters close to him as we thought. I think it would be a good choice for a reading group - friends of mine who have read it, have very strong views on the book.

There seemed to be enough hooks left at the end to indicate this is the first of a series. I hope so, as I would love to spend more time with Tim Wilde and find out how he progresses in the embryonic NYPD.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An engaging historical crime novel, 13 Feb 2012
By 
I. P. Gearing (UK) - See all my reviews
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The Gods of Gotham is an engrossing crime thriller set within a couple of city blocks of mid C19th New York at the time of the first great migration from Ireland courtesy of the potato blight and, coincidentally, the formation of the New York Police Department. It uses the street language of the day to adorn the story much as the green dress of Mercy Hill, one of the protagonists but not the chief one, is adorned with thread, it draws attention to the form, to the colour, but not in a way that overcomes the senses. That said it will still be a matter of taste as to whether this is adornment or gewgaw but personally I think it added to the atmosphere - and this is a very atmospheric book, layers of detail that garnish the plot and also lend it a suitable pace. Maybe a little editing down would not go amiss but everything, by necessity, moves at the pace of shank's pony. The who-done-it isn't too difficult to work out, but isn't actually the point: that is hidden under layers of plot twist; under the politics of immigration; of policing; class and control of local politics and everyday living in a rapidly growing port city that looks outwards, eastwards, and under the establishment of characters for the follow up novel. I enjoyed reading this, cover to cover, on those grounds I can only recommend it to you.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Never really gets going, 27 Jan 2012
By 
C. Bones "surreyman" - See all my reviews
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This novel opens with much promise. The author certainly knows how to describe New York of 1845. We can feel it, smell it, almost see it. And the characters spring immediately to life; Timothy Wilde a barman coerced into joining the start-up NYPD by his brother Valentino, Mercy Underhill the apple of his eye, the street urchins, etc. etc. They are all well drawn.

The problem is that the author isn't so good at writing a crime plot and it is all a bit laboured. Dead children are starting to appear on the streets of New York and are traced back to a brothel run by a politically well connected madam. Again its all promising enough but the story staggers forward with a collection of coincidences and improbably scenes. So for example, despite the reader being told that New York at this time was a city of 400,000 people in fact in this story everybody seems to know everybody else. So locating unknowns who may have something to do with the crime turns out to be just a matter of asking the first person you can think of and they will always come up with the right name. And when the story moves away from the hustle and bustle of New York to the major plot scenes, the writing becomes awkward and unconvincing.

I started off thinking I'd found something special but by half way I had decided it was a bit of a chore.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars slow start, good story, distracting detail, ok ending, 9 May 2012
By 
gerryg - See all my reviews
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I imagine that this book is the first in a series and we are going to see more of Timothy, who here has been set up at NY's first detective, his landlady and the girl (and is the dastardly madam going to play the Joker to his Batman?).

However, or as a consequence, the narrative suffered from too much scene setting, the who and whom being a little two dimensional. In places the story ground to a halt while the author diverted to historical detailing. The use of apparently authentic historical slang got it the way as a result of using direct speech to move the story along. I found myself skipping sections to text.

At times it wasn't clear if I were reading a historical novel, detective fiction or something a bit Mills and Boon when considering the slightly incredible development of the character of the childhood sweetheart/vicar's daughter.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars gothic horror, 23 April 2012
By 
C. CAMPBELL "tagatha" (UK) - See all my reviews
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Whilst Lyndsay Faye's novel sells itself as a more realistic and gritty 'gangs of New York', what we essentially have here is a New York detective novel, set in the infancy of the NYPD before 'detectives' as such even existed. Complete with serial killer, seedy city underbelly, reluctant hero, and unobtainable love interest.

The historical backdrop is not the only thing that is different about this novel though, as large portions of the dialogue are written in 'flash', or rogues lexicon. In print, this use of language disrupts the flow a lot more than it does when a similar tact is taken on screen (viewers of The Wire will attest!) as the visual clues are of course missing. It ends up jarring the reader out of the story at important points and spoils the narrative.

The plot itself is actually also not greatly fleshed out, with one or two rather fantastical plot twists that don't ring true. More important to the author seems to be the internal wrestling of the lead character, Tim Wilde, who if imagined in Gotham a hundred or so years later, would perhaps be wearing a cape and leading a double life. He is in equal measure noble and just as he is frustrating and stale.

An interesting read, but tough to work through. Definitely not one for the feint hearted either, due to graphic description of some really upsetting goings on.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars, 15 July 2014
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This review is from: The Gods of Gotham (Gods of Gotham 1) (Paperback)
not bad at all for a first novel but a bit heavy
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5.0 out of 5 stars This book will not let you down!, 20 Jan 2014
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This review is from: The Gods of Gotham (Gods of Gotham 1) (Paperback)
An excellent read that is factual, pacey and opens up a tangible world of 1840s New York. Timothy Wilde as a troubled and awkward lead character makes for co,pulsing reading.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Thought provoking and a page turner, 26 Nov 2013
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I bought this book without knowing anything about it other than what was written in the blurb. This meant I was in for a very pleasant surprise when it turned out to be one the best books I've read all year, if not in several years. I enjoy historical fiction but it cannot be too didactic as then I might as well be reading a history book itself. This book is one of the best in this genre I've read in a while as a moment in time was vividly and unforgettably created. I also found out many interesting, if essentially useless, pieces of information like why cops are called cops!

A book must have a strong, and appealing, central character to hold my attention; this requirement was also well met. The narrator was interesting and complex to whom you were instantly drawn even in the opening pages. A broad range of varied characters peopled the book. This in conjunction with a plot which kicked off immediately meant there was no putting it down. The New York of 1845 was evocatively portrayed in credible, unembellished language. As an Irish person, the portrayal of the severity of the racism was fascinating. Each chapter began with a brief excerpt from contemporary sources which often thematically linked various plotlines while foreshadowing events to come. Like all good books, I was a little sad when it ended as I no longer had it to look forward to. Read and enjoy.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Great characterisation, 3 Nov 2013
By 
Carol (Brighton, United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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This is a thoroughly good read. I bought it because I read a review for Lyndsay Faye's next book and some Amazon reviewers suggested I'd enjoy it more if I read the Gods of Gotham first. I am hooked on Tim Wilde as a character and the characterisation of his brother Val is just as strong. I didn't find it overwritten at all and I felt Faye made the social, political and cultural history of New York come alive without ramming her research down the reader's throat. It's a strong murder mystery and I liked how the various strands of the story were resolved. I can't wait to read Seven for a Secret now.
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The Gods of Gotham (Gods of Gotham 1)
The Gods of Gotham (Gods of Gotham 1) by Lyndsay Faye (Paperback - 13 Sep 2012)
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