Learn more Shop now Learn more Shop now Shop now Shop now Shop now Shop now Shop now Shop now Shop now Shop now Learn More Shop now Learn more Click Here Shop Kindle Amazon Music Unlimited for Family Shop now Shop Women's Shop Men's

Customer reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
4.2 out of 5 stars
Seven for a Secret (Gods of Gotham 2)
Format: Kindle Edition|Change

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.
0Comment|Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE 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.
0Comment| 4 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
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.
0Comment| 2 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE 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.
0Comment|Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
TOP 100 REVIEWERVINE VOICEon 6 September 2013
Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
There can be no doubt Lyndsay Faye is a talented writer. In Seven for a Secret she evokes a wonderful sense of history in the guise of New York during the mid 19th century. The immigrant population is huge and more and more people are flooding into the City in an attempt to escape poverty and destitution. The differing cultures don't necessarily live happily alongside one another and there's a great sense of friction, uncertainty and mistrust running through the novel. I don't know how accurate the historical research has been but; the historical elements work so well I was prepared to let go of any doubts and go along with the story.

The core of the novel is all at once captivating, dark and awful as 'blackbirders' prowl and search for anyone who might be considered an escaped slave and who can be returned to their 'owner' for profit. Problem is; the blackbirders aren't too choosy and seem happy to capture freemen alongside those still considered enslaved. What follows is a mixture of cultural diversity, poverty, crime and kidnapping running alongside a newly created police force, copper stars, sent in with little more than a note book and a great deal of street smarts to clear up the mess.

In general I enjoyed the characters and found them a quirky, odd mix of the believable and the not quite so much. Faye does the best job she can with dialogue and makes a canny attempt at a realistic vocabulary, to the extent she has included a dictionary full of words that have now slipped out of common use. There is a supplement at the start of the novel to introduce the reader to those words and their meanings.

Seven for a Secret is a joy to read but it's also frustrating in places as not a great deal happens. The plot is so wide open there's little that doesn't become glaringly obvious which means little tension develops however; the sheer depth of history, diversity and darkness alongside the beautiful, rambling style of writing creates a heady mix which helped me push through to the end.

There's no doubt Seven for a Secret is an entertaining, complex mystery and works well as a stand alone if you haven't read Gods of Gotham. I wouldn't say it's the best novel I've read this year but it's certainly one of the most original in terms of writing style.
0Comment| One person found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICEon 22 November 2014
Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I read 'Gods of Gotham' and have been waiting for the sequel. Faye hasn't disappointed with 'Seven for a Secret'. In this outing Faye puts Wilde into the controversial world of slave catchers through the abduction of a woman and child. The novel is rich in historical detail which is a testament to Faye's grasp of the subject matter; in particular her description of the underground system that moved slaves from the South into the North. Wilde also gets sucked into the murky world of politics and corrupt politicians and there is the constant background of a New York underworld of crime vying for his attention as the lone detective in the newly formed police department. I'm looking forward to number three.
0Comment|Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
VINE VOICEon 13 October 2013
Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
"Seven for a Secret" is the second book in Lindsay Faye's crime series in nineteenth century New York. Her first, "The Gods of Gotham" introduced Timothy Wilde a former bartender and now a member of the city's fledgling NYPD. This time the "Edgar" nominated author advances the tale six months on into 1846.

Narrated in the first person, the plot drives along and involves the abduction of the family of Lucy Adams by the 'blackbirders' (slave catchers of black people,) who take them from the northern states of America and transport them to the south into slavery. It enrages Wilde's high sense of morality, ethics and fairness and he embarks on a quest to investigate and find the missing family.

However the "Copper Star" Wilde, who has been relieved of his obligation to walk the beat and can now investigate crime, gets himself into danger as the tentacles of this obscene trade spread far and wide posing many risks.

Lindsay Faye has created another enthralling, fascinating and page turning historical thriller which will hook you in from the first page. Although this is the second in the series it is a stand alone book and well worth a read. The book provides a refreshingly different and atmospheric setting in this genre. Recommended.
0Comment| One person found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 4 September 2013
Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Being a man of conscience in mid-19th century New York would appear to be a soul destroying affair if Lyndsey Faye's `Seven for a Secret' is anything to go by. The book is the second mystery to feature Timothy Wilde, one of the first Copper Stars; policemen or political puppets? Tim becomes embroiled in a case of kidnap when a free black family is taken to be sold. Like the big maggoty apple it was, Faye's New York is a festering pile of depression and disease. Black people are kidnapped for profit, whilst the poor white Irish flood in from the sea, only to die on the streets. How can Tim possibly live being surrounded by all this? Only by doing what little he can to turn the tide of misery.

`Seven' is a hard book to stomach, but brilliantly written. Faye is an evocative writer and you can almost smell the putridity of New York. Tim is a charming and interesting hero and his relationship with his politico brother develops even further in the book. It is the city itself that is the star, but Faye's use of Flash comes a close second. The use of this slang speak gives a sense of depth and place to the book.

The original story of the Wilde Brothers, `The Gods of Gotham' was an absolute triumph and `Seven' struggles slightly to live up to it. The story of forced slavery is a powerful one that rings true, but there is a sense of foreboding in the book that is a little off putting. It is written as if from Tim personal accounts and he mentions on more than one occasion that something is about to happen - this did nothing but take me out of the story. `Seven' is still a great crime novel that is powerful, but also a good mystery in its own right. More in the series would be greatly appreciated.
0Comment|Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
VINE VOICEon 10 July 2013
Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Lucy Adams, a beautiful young woman of African descent, stumbles into New York police headquarters to file a report: her family has been stolen. Timothy Wilde and his colleague Jakob Piest, along with Timothy's unorthodox brother Valentine, are soon on the trail of certain blackbirders, men employed to capture escaped slaves and return them to their owners in the South. Shortly afterwards a body is found, and it is again up to Timothy, with the help of his brother and his friends, to discover the reason and the perpetrator behind the crime.

This is the second novel featuring Timothy Wilde, a copper star of the newly formed New York police, taking place about six months after the eventful days of the previous summer described in The Gods of Gotham. Those not familiar with Timothy Wilde will find him a short man with a big heart, an idealist, someone who learns people's secrets by listening to them, having been a bartender before a disastrous fire necessitated a change of career. Told in the first person, he allows the reader access to his innermost thoughts, and we discover that he is wracked by insecurities and has quite an unconventional way of looking at things. As in The Gods of Gotham, Seven for a Secret again features the use of flash, an historically documented mix of several languages primarily spoken "by the poorer classes and the more nefarious denizens of the ghettos where they were forced to live", but also used extensively by Timothy and Valentine. It's not essential to have read the first volume in the series, but it definitely helps to understand characters' back stories and certain events are referenced repeatedly during the course of the novel. It's a slow start where the main characters are introduced and the scene is set - a freezing cold New York - so that the violent crime that happens next really shocked me because it came so unexpected. Lyndsay Faye portrays a perverted world, one where segregation and casual cruelty against slaves, but also against freeborn citizens of African descent and those of a darker skin than the accepted Caucasian white, are the norm, and amalgamation and abolitionism are frowned upon and considered abnormal. The descriptions of inhuman treatment don't leave anything to the imagination and are often difficult to read, as are quotes from various primary sources such as first-hand accounts by slaves, so-called patriots or other chroniclers; they still manage to deliver a punch even after 170 years. With such a sombre background it is nearly inevitable that the central mystery takes a bit of a step back, and Timothy spends a lot of time criss-crossing the freezing streets in search of clues or pondering the significance of any new intelligence; in those parts the plot sags a bit in my opinion, but because Timothy is such an engaging and affable character, we willingly follow him.

Another worthwhile and thought-provoking read by Lyndsay Faye, and I hope this won't be the last time that Timothy Wilde has had occasion to employ his considerable skills of detection; I certainly hope to see Silkie Marsh, a very memorable villainess who we first encountered in The Gods of Gotham, receive her just deserts. More, please.
0Comment| One person found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
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!
0Comment| One person found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse

Need customer service? Click here