Such a great story. Well paced, quick moving, full of twists and turns and it kept me guessing until the last minute. The main subject matter of Timothy's investigations related to child prostitutes and at times I found it hard to stomach, but overall the book was so intriguing, I couldn't put it down and yet, I was very sad to have it end. The characters were well written and I rooted for them, hated them, and waited with baited breath to see where the story unfolded to next.
This was also the first time I listened to Steven Boyer read and he did a masterful performance. He was well paced and it was a joy to listen to and I'm looking forward to more of his narratives..
As a descendent of Irish immigrants who escaped the Potato Famine, I was very interested in the hardships and discrimination they endured. It was an unsparing account of a desperate time, and the story was tightly written with a compelling plot. The murder mystery kept my interest throughout. and I especially appreciated the author's research in uncovering the vernacular of the time.
My one quibble is with the narrator, who seemed to be adept at accents, and yet when he was speaking with the voice of Tim, the protagonist, he returned to one of a 21st century American. That made the quaint language sound false and awkward to me, and was distracting. I wished that the reader could have adopted some sort of "antique" accent that would have placed him in mid-19th century New York.
Overall though, a very enjoyable book.
I have to admit that I'm a total Audible junkie. MUST have book going at all times. I may be the subject of a family intervention someday.
Haven't, but he did a fine job. Wished for at least a hint of Irish in the lead character's speech though.
Gotta wonder if the producers of the terrific BBC series "Copper" have read or are aware of this book, as it has an awful lot in common: characters, setting, time frame (within 10-15 years) and even some plot points.
I'm crazy about the show, and really enjoyed the book. Matter of fact I'm hoping this signals the start of a series.
It was time well spent because the characters are interesting and the narrator was great! I was disappointed however in the second half of the book in which all of the loose ends were just thrown together.
Probably best at dramatizing the very rough nature of life in big cities then, focusing on the extra strains in NYC caused by the immigration of so many poor Irish and the anti-Catholic zealots who opposed them. The drama and crime around which the setting is described is itself not so compelling, though refreshingly open minded and liberal (in the old sense). Narrator is superb.
This provides good historical atmosphere for fans of NYC (I am one).
The widow baker is a minor character but provides a nice touchstone for the society.
The author makes a few of the characters a little too heroic (or deeply villainous)... the striving social worker/writer, the priest, the doctor, the new "cops" on the nascent police force. The strength of the story is the atmosphere, the setting of a burgeoning new city filled with people striving, with success and failure.
The narrator is excellent and gives sympathetic life to Timothy Wilde. The early days of the NYC PD are quite revealing. Tim's naive goodness is a little unbelievable, and the rampant bribery, prostitution, murder in this period of extreme religious intolerance and dirty politics are painted very black. Still, this portrait of New York City in a turbulent time holds the reader's interest through most of the story.
This book can hold its own in the field of Historic Fiction, but, in the end, the sensationalism of the mystery becomes somewhat repetitive and tedious.
The color and life of Manhattan in 1845 come alive with the narration--Boyer's grasp of the various accents of the city add a lot to the story.
I do not see this as a movie, but it might make a good short series on PBS.
HIstorical novel set in 1844 when the New York police department is just being set up and the bad side of New York, Five Points, is worse than the worst parts of London. Faye has the history right, the characters nicely developed and a fast-paced yarn to tell.
It is 1845 New York City with its politics and diverse groups of immigrants. The city has just divested itself of a corrupt and ineffective attempt at a police force. A new force, with the men called “copper stars” and wearing stars, is being appointed. It is to be neutral, not tied to any political group and to include Americans from across the immigrant spectrum. Tim is a bartender who has been saving money so he can ask Mercy, a minister’s daughter, to marry him. But a huge fire breaks out in downtown New York, and, among other things, destroys Timothy’s lodging and thus his saved money. He is burned and permanently scarred in the fire. Permanently disfigured in the face, homeless, and now unemployable as a bartender, his brother talks him into taking a job as one of the copper stars. He turns out to be very good at investigating crimes and solving them. One day a little girl attaches herself to him. She comes from one of the “houses” where men go to lay with adult and children prostitutes. She says that someone has been “torn to pieces.” Tim hears about the crime at work and connects it to her. Tim and his brother, with family secrets they’ve never revealed to each other, work together with the police chief and a couple of other people to track down what is really happening. They uncover 19 partial bodies of children which have been buried. One of the major madams is also a big giver to the democratic party, so Tim is initially not allowed to go after her or possible accomplices. This is a very good book about early New York City when politics and anarchy ruled.
I like historical fiction and "Gods of Gotham" is a great example of the genre. The characters are well written, the period felt very well research. This is a period I pretty much know nothing about so I can't really judge the accuracy but to me it felt like I could see, hear and smell New York in 1845.
However, the really outstanding thing about this audiobook is the narrator Steven Boyer. The way he is able to change his inflection and accent really makes you feel like you are standing in a room full of Irish and American's, doctors and prostitutes. This was the first book I heard narrated by Boyer but I will definitely see whether there are others that I might be interested in.