The Gods of Gotham
Atmospheric suspense featuring one of NYs first "copper starred" policemen
The Gods of Gotham by Lyndsay Faye
Published March 2012 by Putnam
Set in 1845 in New York City, The Gods of Gotham weaves the first-person account of Timothy Wilde, an astute bartender saving his hard-earned dollars so he can ask the woman he loves to share a life of promise with him. After a raging fire and an explosion that reduces much of Manhattan to cinders and disfigures him, Tim reluctantly takes on a job as a "copper star" -- a member of the first government funded police force in NYC. His first big case involves multiple child murders, and as Tim gets involved, his skills of observation and his moral compass become important factors in uncovering the truth.
The Gods of Gotham is an exquisitely written and deeply researched historical mystery novel that turns mid-1800s NYC into a character as vibrant as Tim, his mentally unstable brother Val, Tim's unrequited love Miss Underwood, the irascible little orphan named Bird, and many, many other remarkable characters. It reads as if the author read meticulously through the dusty history tomes, picked out some interesting threads of stories and characters of the times, and breathed life and plausible imagination into them. I look forward to reading more works by Lyndsay Faye.