Reviews for Gods of Gotham

Kirkus Reviews 2012 January #2
Displaying the same gift for characterization that refreshed her retelling of the Jack the Ripper case (Dust and Shadow, 2009), Faye crafts a top-notch historical thriller. This time around, she's invented her own plot. In July 1845, Timothy Wilde is a successful bartender who's accumulated $400 in silver--just about enough, he figures, to ask minister's daughter Mercy Underhill to marry him. But the conflagration that sweeps through Manhattan that night consumes Timothy's savings and disfigures his face. It's the second time fire has upended his life; an earlier blaze orphaned Timothy and older brother Valentine when they were children, leaving them to fend for themselves on the city's brutal, indifferent streets like so many other "kinchin." (Faye makes savory use of 19th-century thieves' slang throughout.) Timothy reluctantly becomes a "copper star," so-called for the badge worn by members of New York's newly created police force. Valentine, a stalwart of the city's Democratic political machine, gets him the job, but tensions seethe between the brothers that seem to involve more than Valentine's addiction to morphine. When Timothy stumbles across a young girl covered with blood, who leads him to the mass grave of 20 kinchin horribly disfigured apparently at the hands of a Catholic fanatic, political scandal and religious riot threaten. No one is precisely what they seem in Faye's richly imagined, superbly plotted narrative, which delivers not one, not two, but three bravura twists as Timothy tracks the killer and tangles with a well-connected madam, Mercy's anti-Catholic father and gangs of nativist thugs. The tough police chief and a doctor who has devoted his life to caring for New York's neglected children are among those who aid Timothy's quest, which concludes with a gruff, moving reconciliation and a sorrowful parting. Faye's damaged but appealing hero seems likely to have more adventures ahead, and they'll be welcomed by anyone who appreciates strong, atmospheric storytelling. Copyright Kirkus 2012 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.

Library Journal Reviews 2011 November #1

In 1845 New York, Timothy Wilde, an officer in the newly organized police force, encounters a blood-soaked girl claiming to know where plenty of bodies are buried. It's soon evident that a serial killer is at work, eager to stoke anti-Irish sentiment. Faye has already proved herself a capable writer of historical fiction with Dust and Shadow, a beautifully done debut that revisited Sherlock Holmes.

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Library Journal Reviews 2012 January #1

Faye's new novel, after the Sherlockian thriller Dust and Shadow, focuses on the growing distrust toward Irish Catholic immigrants in 1840s New York. Badly scarred and rendered destitute after a city fire, barman Timothy Wilde takes a job on the newly formed police force at the urging of his politically connected older brother, Valentine. As a "Copper Star," Tim is well suited to investigation, and he stumbles on a mystery involving murdered children and one of New York's most infamous brothels. Mercy Underhill, a devoted social worker and the object of Tim's unspoken affection, is drawn into the case as she tries to protect her wards. Tim searches for answers amid political scheming, nativist sentiments, and anti-Catholic riots. VERDICT The Wilde brothers are a valiantly flawed pair (they commit illegal acts for good reasons) whose adventures dramatically light up this turbulent era. Faye's use of flash, an underground language akin to thieves' cant (British criminal jargon), further enriches this engrossing historical thriller, the first in a new series. [See Prepub Alert, 10/2/11.]--Catherine Lantz, Morton Coll. Lib., Cicero, IL

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Publishers Weekly Reviews 2012 January #3

Set in 1845 New York City, Faye's knockout first in a new series improves on her impressive debut, Dust and Shadow (2009), which pitted Sherlock Holmes against Jack the Ripper. As Irish immigrants pour into the city, fleeing the potato famine in their homeland, Timothy Wilde, a 27-year-old former bartender, adjusts to life as a policeman in New York's newly formed police force. As one of the first to wear the copper star, Wilde soon discovers more than one unwelcome surprise. In short order on his lower Manhattan beat, he runs across an infanticide and the body of a 12-year-old Irish boy whose spleen has been removed. The investigation the novice detective launches into the boy's murder brings him deep into the heart of human darkness. Vivid period details, fully formed characters, and a blockbuster of a twisty plot put Faye in a class with Caleb Carr. Readers will look forward to the sequel. Agent: Erin Malone, William Morris. (Mar.)

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