Thursday, June 11, 2015

The Gods of Gotham

The Gods of Gotham (Timothy Wilde Mysteries #1)The Gods of Gotham by Lyndsay Faye
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This would have received 4 stars but for three pretty egregious problems:
1. Anachronisms! At one point the narrator (Timothy Wilde) talks about the 'data' in relation to the crime he is investigating. While the world 'data' certainly existed at that time point, it was not part of common-day usage. It did not become common until well into the 20th century. The other BIG anachronism was a reference to razor wire. Barbed wire was not patented until 1860-something, and razor wire was invented after WWII!!
2. Reliance on the "raving Christian conservative lunatic" as a major character. Really, this trope is SO over-used! And having this be the motivation for one of the pivotal crimes/plot-points is just lazy.
3. The 'voice' of the narrator. Timothy Wilde was orphaned at 10, and raised by his drug-abusing older brother. They practically lived on the streets, and yet Timothy's musings include Latin references and a vocabulary that bespeaks a fine college education. While I did like this character, and found his musings and observations to be insightful, they just didn't sound like a young tough from the streets of New York City. This bothered me the entire book, and really interfered with my enjoyment of it.

All that being said, this was a fine 'true-crime' historical novel. For the most part, the characters were well-rounded (with the exception of #2, above - which I will refrain from naming to avoid spoilers) and had complex motivations. The action moved along nicely - the last half of the book, especially so. The descriptions of the city and its denizens made it seem quite real. I also like the fact that while the main mystery was solved, there were still some open-ended situations with respect to Timothy, his brother and other principal, though secondary, characters. As this is the first in a series, I do hope we'll find out about how things pan out for these people and their lives.

So, despite the three problems listed above, I do hope to read the next one in the series - though I'll probably just get it from the library, and not buy it.

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