The Gods of Gotham

It seems like we live in a very political time -- but, it might give you some satisfaction to know that it could be worse after you read The Gods of Gotham by Lyndsay Faye.  This debut mystery is set in 1845 New York City, where politics is in all aspects of life -- what neighborhood you live  in, what church you attend, what job you have.  Even the newly organized police force only exists because a politician said it should, and others see the very existence of police as an infrigement of their civil rights and no different from a standing army.  Timothy Wilde is an officer in the new police force thanks to the political pull of his older brother Valentine and a horrible fire that destroys his life savings and leaves him too scarred to go back to his old job as a bartender.  Tim puts on the "copper star" and gradually comes to see the worth in what he does.  When he encounters a blood soaked little girl who claims to know where the children's bodies are buried he is in the hunt for a serial killer who is removing children from brothels.  The descriptions of New York City and the way people lived in 1845 are very compelling, throughout the novel the author makes use of flash, an underground language akin to thieves cant which adds additional authenticity.   This is a fascinating and enjoyable read and I am pleased that it's the first in a series.

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