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on 4 February 2014
A good sequel to Gods of Gotham, this kept my attention well, and you get a real feel for 19th century New York.
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on 1 September 2016
Part of an excellent trilogy found by accident. Well worth it. Delivery good
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on 3 October 2013
Another great effort from Faye, with the characters and their relationships becoming even more developed from the last novel. Great stuff!
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TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICEon 2 March 2015
Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I loved The Gods of Gotham, the book that introduced us to one of the first of the 1840s New York City policemen, ex-barman Timothy Wilde.
Like that book, Seven for a Secret is packed with fascinating historical details and the language of a bygone era.

Timothy's older brother Val who pulled a reluctant Timothy into the newly minted force and persuaded him to become a copper star, returns in this book, dissolute, base and brave, plumbing further depths as a deeply flawed but somehow loveable hero.
The action of Seven for a Secret takes place six months after The Gods of Gotham, and the fiery summer heat of the first book is exchanged for the mud and slush of a New York winter. Timothy is off the streets and has become a proto-detective, one of the world's first, given the toughest cases to solve.

Once more the plot is an absolute cracker. With slave shortages in the South, free Northerners of colour are being kidnapped and sold into slavery in the southern states. Timothy is asked for help by a beautiful woman, Lucy, whose mixed race son and sister have disappeared. Timothy and Valentine uncover corruption all along the way and at the highest level in their attempts to reveal the truth. Real-life characters blend with the fictional in a fascinating mix.
The Gods of Gotham had a more convoluted plot than Seven for a Secret in my opinion, but this latest book is no less fascinating. This book can be read without reading the first in the series, but having read the back story I did feel it helped, particularly with the nature of the relationship between Valentine and Timothy.
One final detail - if you've ever wondered where the expression 'OK' came from, this book gives what may be the definitive answer. Recommended.
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VINE VOICEon 12 March 2017
Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
February 1846, New York. Timothy Wilde is a copper star, part of the newly formed New York police department and the only officer charged with solving crimes. On Valentine’s Day Mrs Lucy Adams, a beautiful black woman, arrives at the police headquarters: someone has kidnapped her sister and her son. Wilde’s friend, Julius Carpenter, works with the New York Committee of Vigilance (a group that protects black people) who point him towards Sexias Varker and Luke Coles – slavecatchers known to take freed people and sell them in the southern states.

But tracking down Lucy’s relatives plunges Wilde and his flamboyant brother Valentine into the murky world of local politics and racial inequality where murder is simply as an easy way to achieve your ends and Silkie Marsh is at the heart of an evil web, pulling her malevolent strings to hurt both brothers and those they care about …

The second in Lyndsay Faye’s GODS OF GOTHAM TRILOGY is an atmospheric historical crime story that makes the most of the location, the period and the horrors of slavery and has a wonderful antagonist in the form of the sociopath Silkie Marsh but I don’t buy Timothy Wilde or his brother Valentine as their attitudes and behaviour are too 21st century for me, although I enjoyed their relationship and would read the other two books. Faye is great at recreating life in 1840s New York (e.g. the local cant and the sordid politics of the Democratic Party). Her portrayal of the plight of even freed slaves is genuinely chilling and she makes good use of source material by including quotes from works of the time at the head of each chapter and wrapping those issues into the central mystery. I also thought Silkie Marsh was a genuinely chilling antagonist, sociopathic and conniving I believed in her vendetta against Timothy and Valentine and her willingness to play different people against each other. However I didn’t buy Timothy’s reactions to the world he lives in (e.g. his failure to understand that black people were unable to give testimony in court) and his attitude towards things like homosexuality or Valentine’s bisexuality seemed a bit too 21st century to me (although I liked how he applied his own experience to solving mysteries). That aside, the story and characters kept me turning the pages and I really want to read the other books in the trilogy.
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VINE VOICEon 21 December 2013
Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
In the follow-up novel to "Gods of Gotham" Faye has taken a much under-appreciated aspect of the issue of slavery in 1840`s America - the iniquitous activities of slave-catchers.

The story continues the career of Timothy Wilde of the recently formed New York City police force, and is narrated in the first-person as a case-file by Wilde himself; an investigation into the abduction of a black woman and child leads him into the murky and immoral world of "blackbirders" who, under the legally sanctioned business of re-capturing escaped slaves, will snatch any black person in the knowledge that the law will do little to prevent them. This premise makes for a long and convoluted plot, evocative of the period due to the level of historical detail and use of language the author has employed. As in her previous novel, this presents the reader with an immersive recreation of the New York underworld of the era; where it falters a little is in the levels of verbosity her character indulges in, which can require a degree of patience. I can quite understand that some readers may find this off-putting, although I myself enjoy the author`s use of language; there is less "flash" vernacular in evidence this time around, but it is present - it isn't difficult to follow, taken in context.

On the whole, this succeeds well as an historical detective novel with the advantage of relatively unusual subject matter; good as a stand-alone read, better if you've read the first in what I now assume will be a series.
I enjoyed it and am happy to recommend it.
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VINE VOICEon 3 December 2014
Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Much of the structural patterns of the Gods of Gotham are to be found in this follow up, which make it strong, but also the need for better, more ruthless editing remains. Timothy Wilde, accidental hero, for someone who lives in the moment, seems awfully drawn towards mawkish reflection at times. I can see that shades the personality of someone who is really stuck in the loss of being orphaned - as related in the first book - and a subsequent and difficult relationship with his savvy, protective and ambitious big brother - on whose advancement he increasingly becomes a brake. Families are complex, or supposed to be. Timothy Wilde seems to have regressed in the six months since the last book, but maybe that is a defence against the everyday realities of 1840's New York, the life at the bottom of which is likened to a rigged game of musical chairs in Faye's memorable description. Maybe that is the nature Timothy, for certainly in the first half or so of this book he would rather kick that chair over than sit on it, even when his brother is holding back the crowd to give him a better chance. He is neither grateful for it nor cognoscente of the envy that generates. The roguish Valentine is the more attractive character and I wonder, if Ms Faye were starting this series from scratch, whether he would be more focal. That, of course, would be a different book and beneath this there is a solid historical crime novel. Enjoyable, well written, could have been profitably shorter, authentic enough without being obscure and well worth this readers investment. I hope there is a third (and a fourth) if only in the hope someone knocks some sense into Mr Timothy Wilde!
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VINE VOICEon 15 March 2016
Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I read Gods of Gotham some time ago and had forgotten most of it but that didn't seem to matter once I got into this second book as a lot of the first was recapped here. It could probably be read as a standalone but I'd still recommend reading the first book beforehand because it's a really good story. It was great to see Wilde and his brother again and this newest case is every bit as exciting and compelling as the first.

The research and attention to detail just shine through here and I got a real feel for the area and setting and totally sucked into Wilde's world but will admit that at times the 'slang' got on my nerves a bit, not least of all because I had to keep pulling myself out of the story to check the glossary to find out what was being said. Eventually I just stopped caring was was said and glossed over the bits I didn't get and didn't seem to miss much either way.

It's a great continuation of a great series and I'll be looking out for the next book.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 7 February 2015
Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I first read Gods of Gotham, which is the predecessor to this story, a couple of years back. It was an excellent and original story, very well written, and I was delighted when I discovered that there was a subsequent book. However, it is not necessary to have read the predecessor to thoroughly enjoy this story although it is worthwhile doing so as it is such a good book.

One of the strengths of this author’s writing is that she has clearly gone to great lengths to research the background. Set in New York in about 1845, the descriptions are so good that the reader can really feel they are walking the streets, seeing the sights and smelling the smells of the locality. In many ways it is a depressing place. The population has been rapidly expanding as the Irish flooded in as a result of the Potato Famine, jobs and accommodation are scarce and there is much poverty and deprivation. Naturally there are plenty who wish to exploit the rest of the citizens to their own advantage.

This tale is, as with the Gods of Gotham, told by Timothy Wilde who is a member of the newly formed police force or a Copper Star as the police are generally known. This time he brushes up against slavers who are none to particular whether they are taking escaped slaves or free blacks who are citizens of New York. It was a despicable trade and one which anyone who has seen the recent film, Twelve Years a Slave, will be somewhat familiar with.

There is a lot of ‘flash’ which is the local language of the underworld and the poor. However, whereas in some books authors drop in the occasional foreign word to give local flavour, here it is much more pervasive and also much more intelligible since many of the words are somewhat familiar and the reader soon gets use to the colloquialisms.

Overall I thought this was another excellent offering from an author who writes very well and takes the trouble to research what she is writing about in depth. I would think there is plenty of mileage in Timothy Wilde as a character and I hope to read more about him before too long.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 27 September 2014
Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I reviewed Gods of Gotham in February 2012 and thoroughly enjoyed it, so when I was given the opportunity to review the sequel I was delighted. Sequels are a delicate matter - the best can stand on their own as well as develop and extend the characters introduced in the original. Seven for a Secret succeeds on both counts in my opinion. As it had been over two years since I had explored the streets of 1840s New York under Faye's imaginative guidance, I didn't recall all the fine detail of the first book and found there was just enough drip-fed reminiscences of the first story to link them tidily together without building sequel totally dependent on the events of the first. Faye continues to use well-researched context, quoting from contemporary records relating to the treatment of slaves (and those `mistaken' for them) in the Northern states. I also enjoyed the use of the Flash slang of the times which she had introduced in book 1.

The story itself is more about highlighting a historical setting and having our hero variously entering and escaping from peril whilst displaying a liberal outlook that wouldn't seem out of place at a modern human rights rally. In other words, the plot is a good-enough hanging rail onto which Faye places her characters and historical context and I probably won't be able to tell you exactly what happened in the story after a few more weeks. However, I will remember the powerful images of the treatment of slaves and free black citizens in the North; the ruthless bounty hunters and twisted legal system that allowed such inequity and the horrors that they were trying to escape from in the Southern slaver states. Faye's choice of subject matter was right on trend in 2013 - Seven for a Secret (which quotes from book 1Twelve Years a Slave) was published on 17th September 2013; the hugely successful film 12 Years a Slave came out in November of that year. If you are interested in that subject matter then this is fascinating place to find out more.

As I said in my review of the Gods of Gotham, I'm a lifelong fan of Sherlock Holmes and when I need a little `comfort reading' that's what I often turn to. Knowing that Faye herself is a super-fan of Holmes says it all. This is not derivative but it's certainly in part homage to the powers of deductive reasoning put on the page by Arthur Conan Doyle. If you like disappearing into Victorian London with Holmes then there's a fair chance you'll like a stint in New York with the Wilde brothers and their colourful array of partners and adversaries. Very good.
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