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The Gods of Gotham by Lyndsay Faye
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The Gods of Gotham (original 2012; edition 2012)

by Lyndsay Faye

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5557317,987 (4.02)121
Member:arielfl
Title:The Gods of Gotham
Authors:Lyndsay Faye
Info:Amy Einhorn Books/Putnam (2012), Edition: 1, Hardcover, 432 pages
Collections:Read but unowned
Rating:****
Tags:Mystery Series/ Timothy Wilde

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The Gods of Gotham by Lyndsay Faye (Author) (2012)

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English (76)  French (1)  All languages (77)
Showing 1-5 of 76 (next | show all)
This is the story of Timothy Wilde, a former bartender who comes to serve on the brand-new NYPD, and his efforts to solve the apparent murders of several child prostitutes. Along the way, Faye weaves in public health issues of the day (set in 1845), prejudice against Irish immigrants to NYC, commentary on religious strife, and class tensions. I enjoyed it very much.

Soapbox time: I'm half Irish Catholic and half English, and I'm old enough to remember when Catholics were commonly called "Papists" (as a slur). My WASP grandfather refused to attend the wedding of his son to my Irish Catholic mother, is what I'm saying--this prejudice isn't as long-gone as you might think. I even find it comes up from time to time here in the present-day South (where I live now). So it was refreshing to read about it, given that many people think, "Oh, it wasn't that bad for them." Yes, it was. /soapbox

Anyway. This book rang true to me in all historical aspects, so brava to Faye. I especially liked the way she wove in the patois of the underclass ("flash"), from which we get some of our present-day slang (e.g., pal, cop). Very interesting. I also cared about the characters, and didn't guess "who dunnit" because of a couple of nice twists toward the end. A solid read.

EDIT: I just found out she's got another Timothy Wilde book out now, Seven for a Secret. Whoo! ( )
  pfflyernc | Jul 25, 2014 |
Enjoyable enough historical mystery (excellent choice of time period), but it suffers a bit for having a main character who is unrelentingly Good and unrealistically open-minded (wants justice for all, even the Irish! has a black friend! respects women's autonomy!). Not that such traits were impossible at the time, but he felt like a modern insert. I would have much rather read a book starring his scoundrel brother (crimes include: "Narcotics, alcohol, bribery, violence, whoring, gambling, theft, cheating, extortion, sodomy" [p317]). ( )
  ellen.w | Jun 1, 2014 |
Enjoyable enough historical mystery (excellent choice of time period), but it suffers a bit for having a main character who is unrelentingly Good and unrealistically open-minded (wants justice for all, even the Irish! has a black friend! respects women's autonomy!). Not that such traits were impossible at the time, but he felt like a modern insert. I would have much rather read a book starring his scoundrel brother (crimes include: "Narcotics, alcohol, bribery, violence, whoring, gambling, theft, cheating, extortion, sodomy" [p317]). ( )
  ellen.w | Jun 1, 2014 |
A true history lesson in the making of New York City's Police Force. A staggering story of racism to the immigrants particularly the Irish, the Papacy and the Catholic Church and one newly appointed Copper Star, Timothy Wilde's personal story of hope, love, betrayal and forgiveness. A Great Read! ( )
  booklovers2 | Apr 13, 2014 |
I listened to an excellent audio version narrated by Steven Boyer.

New York City in the mid 1800s was a patchwork of competing and warring tribes. The newest immigrants getting the worst of it (the Irish) at that moment. But political bosses and religions were just as divisive. It was in the midst of that wild madness that the first police force was formed, most of the members of that force selected by the Democratic party bosses, rather than by any person looking for any real credentials. But then, policing was mostly knocking heads together, rather than solving crimes.

Into that mix comes Timothy Wilde, whose brother is a political boss and whose former job ended in a huge fire that swept through the city.

Timothy, much to his own surprise, finds he takes to the task, and when he discovers a dead kinchin, he’s swept up by his emotions and desires to solve the death of this little unwanted child. When yet more bodies turn up, he’s driven to create his own methods to find out just who is responsible and make them pay.

Beautifully written, period details are well drawn, and the tale is atmospheric and moving. You can almost imagine the misery that so many people experienced then.

The mystery itself is complex enough to draw you in and compel you forward to want to find out the whole story. ( )
  majkia | Apr 4, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 76 (next | show all)
New York City of 1845 is a cacophany of competing lexicons. In The Gods of Gotham by Lyndsay Faye, the city’s political bosses, religious leaders, starving Irish immigrants, impoverished nativists, civil leaders, race-baiters, headline writers, popular novelists, street hawkers, sinners, lovers, and criminals each employ language as distinctive as a police report’s. But also whispering among the leaning hovels of babble in Five Points are secret loyalties, monstrous acts, and madness.
...
Amid many intersecting factions, venues, and intents, the novel retains a glorious and tragic coherence. Without being epigraphic, The Gods of Gotham is a feast of language, 1845’s New York City as a magnificent assembly of newspaper articles, poems, sensational novels, crime reports, advertisements, amateur theatrics, hawkers’ calls, political promises, and flash conversations, making those tender and awful things that can’t be said even more keenly felt.
 
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For my family, who taught me that when you are knocked considerably sideways, you get up and keep going, or you get up and go in a slightly different direction.
First words
When I set down the initial report, sitting at my desk at the Tombs, I wrote: On the night of August 21, 1845, one of the children escaped.
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Book description
In 1845 New York City Timothy Wilde, a twenty-seven-year-old Irish immigrant, joins the newly formed NYPD and investigates an infanticide and the body of a twelve-year-old Irish boy whose spleen has been removed.
Haiku summary
Timothy Wilde is
One of New York's first police
Investigators.
(passion4reading)

Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0399158375, Hardcover)

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.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:29:33 -0400)

(see all 6 descriptions)

New York City, 1845. Timothy Wilde, a 27-year-old Irish immigrant, joins the newly formed NYPD and investigates an infanticide and the body of a 12-year-old Irish boy whose spleen has been removed.

(summary from another edition)

» see all 5 descriptions

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