It is 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, fantasizing about the day he has enough money to win 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 new "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 making his rounds, Wilde literally runs into a little slip of a girl - a girl not more than 10 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.
©2012 Lyndsay Faye (P)2012 Penguin Audio
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.
Perfect combination of excellent story line, well-developed characters, great pacing. The author displays a knowledge of history and language that makes it fun to look things up and never seems like it isn't pertinent to the story.
It totally drew me in and gave me a sense of being transported to a different time. There is nothing predictable, cliche or overdone about it.
Flawless performance, as far as I'm concerned. Again - nothing is annoyingly overdone. No verbal equivalent of "mugging" or bad acting. His accents are great. I'm really, really impressed. Over 60 audio books in, this one takes the cake.
I wasn't completely convinced by the listening sample. It was about Bird and not told from the same perspective as the rest of the book. When it switches to Tim's perspective about 5 minutes in, it really takes off.
I find this novel lacking a real edge to the story. I believe it was compared to The Alienist but I beg to differ. This book doesn't provide an edgy Gangs Of New York feel to the writing and this was disappointing. The author uses the slang used by criminals of the day but it lacks the true grit of street life. Where are the vivid descriptions of the crime sites? This is "murder lite"
work at a job that lets me listen to books all day I like history, good mysteries and humor
This is a good novel for those who enjoy historical fiction. The story is entertaining and the narrator I found quite enjoyable
That the characters are believable in their inperfection.
The authors ability to convey time and place.
Gotta love the main guy.
Probably the little girl, as she is so wise for her years and accepting.
Pleasantly surprised. I liked it better than Heartstone and perhaps a little less than Devil in the White City, a favorite.
I love reading and going on vacation with my family.
No, it was predictable and not believable.
I thought the narrator did not do a very good job of making me believe that his brother was a bad person and he didn't distinguish the individual charters very well. It all just ran together.
I definitely had higher hopes for this story set in New York during 1845. A sort of a "Jack the Ripper-like" person is causing panic in the city after 19 child corpses are found buried outside the city.
I would've given this one 2-stars because it was not believable and oh so predictable. The redeemer for the 3-star rating was all the information regarding Catholics of that period. I had absolutely no idea that they were considered heretic's because they "worshiped" the pope and people considered them ignorant for their beliefs. Catholics, Prodestants, Christians...aren't they all praying to the same god? I never cease to be amazed by the conflict religion creates.
Steven Boyers performance was BRILLIANT. He made Timothy Wilde come alive and jump off the page. This is great piece of historical writing. The characters are believable and well written. With Mr. Boyers performance and Ms Fayes writing, the characters are very easy to visualize. You will be drawn in and you wont be able to put it down. This book should be on everyone summer reading list.
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