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23 September 2013

The Gods of Gotham (Gods of Gotham #1)

The Gods of Gotham by Lyndsay Faye is the first book in her series by the same name. The Gods of Gotham is a mystery set around the founding of New York City's first police force, the "copper stars" in 1845. This creation coincided with massive immigration of Irish due to the potato famine to change NYC forever.

Timothy Wilde is a bartender. He dreams of one day saving enough money to marry the girl he fancies and move to Long Island or somewhere he can spend more time in the outdoors. But a massive fire that destroys much of lower Manhattan changes his plans. Tim's brother, Val, sets him up with a job - the newly forming police force. Though he does not think he wants the job, both because of the nature of it and because his brother got it for him, he show up the first day.

Tim Wilde is assigned as a roundman - a police who walk around a set path for his entire shift, both to prevent crime and arrest anyone committing a crime. At the time there were no investigative roles, only stopping what was going on. But Wilde, with his background as a bartender and his like of puzzles, will be given a situation that he must solve when a ten year-old girl in a bloody night dress literally runs into him on his walk home.

When the body of a young boy is found, and matches the story the girl told, it seems take New York has a killer of children hiding within its masses of people. Incorporating politics, race relations, clashing religion and the slang of the day, Faye has set readers up to dive into the past of our most famous city. Imagine a time when the wilds north of New York started just above Chelsea. Great story and characters in a fascinating setting. Fans of Jacqueline Winspear's Maisie Dobbs series might like this grittier version of historical mystery.

Faye, Lyndsay. (2012). The Gods of Gotham. New York: Penguin.

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