Book Review: The Gods of Gotham
1845. New York City forms its first police force. The great potato famine hits Ireland. These two seemingly disparate events will change New York City. Forever.
Timothy Wilde tends bar near the Exchange, saving every dollar and shilling in hopes of winning the girl of his dreams. But when his dreams literally incinerate in a fire devastating downtown Manhattan, he finds himself disfigured, unemployed, and homeless. His older brother obtains Timothy a job in the newly minted NYPD, but he is highly skeptical of this untested “police force.” And he is less than thrilled that his new beat is the notoriously down-and-out Sixth Ward-at the border of Five Points, the world’s most notorious slum.
One night while returning from his rounds, heartsick and defeated, Timothy runs into a little slip of a girl—a girl not more than ten years old—dashing through the dark in her nightshift . . . covered head to toe in blood.
Timothy knows he should take the girl to the House of Refuge, yet he can’t bring himself to abandon her. Instead, he takes her home, where she spins wild stories, claiming that dozens of bodies are buried in the forest north of 23rd Street. Timothy isn’t sure whether to believe her or not, but, as the truth unfolds, the reluctant copper star finds himself engaged in a battle for justice that nearly costs him his brother, his romantic obsession, and his own life.
The mystery in this story took plenty of twists and turns, some of them believable and some of them not. Overall, I didn’t find it suspenseful enough to hold my interest intently. I wanted to know how it ended, but at the same time, I was able to put it down while I read other books and then picked it back up again.
I was impressed with the dialogue the author used for the characters. They speak using slang called flash and it seemed quite complicated to me. There was a flash dictionary in the front of the book and if a word wasn’t in the dictionary, the author made sure it was explained in the narrative of the story.
The book is the first in a series of Timothy Wilde mysteries. I have the second one, Seven for a Secret and I’m hoping that Timothy’s brother, Valentine, has a bigger role in that book as he was one of my favorite characters in this one.