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The Gods of Gotham (Timothy Wilde Mysteries #1)

3.86 of 5 stars 3.86  ·  rating details  ·  7,713 ratings  ·  1,371 reviews
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 him
Hardcover, 408 pages
Published March 15th 2012 by Putnam Adult (first published 2012)
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The Name of the Rose by Umberto EcoThe Alienist by Caleb CarrThe Historian by Elizabeth KostovaThe Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz ZafónMistress of the Art of Death by Ariana Franklin
Best Historical Mystery
168th out of 1,121 books — 2,963 voters
The Night Circus by Erin MorgensternGone Girl by Gillian FlynnThe Gods of Gotham by Lyndsay FayeThe Chaperone by Laura MoriartyA Good American by Alex George
Summer Reading 2012 MKG
3rd out of 72 books — 49 voters

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Community Reviews

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Florence (Lefty) MacIntosh
Jun 14, 2014 Florence (Lefty) MacIntosh rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommended to Florence (Lefty) by: Derek Green
Probably it was exactly what I felt like reading right about now, whatever, but I haven’t been this entertained in years. We’re talking quality escapism. A murder mystery featuring the NYPD in its infancy, ‘copper stars’ mainly made up of scrappy, downtrodden Irishmen. “We were all missing bits and pieces.”
A swarm of emigrants gushes ceaselessly onto the South Street docks “the entire block consisted of Irish and dogs and rats sharing the same fleas” - that they’re Catholics makes them all the m
New York City Police Department Application - 1845

1) Can you walk?

2) Are you a Democrat?

If you answered ‘Yes’ to both of these questions: Congratulations! You are now a police officer for the city of New York.

Timothy Wilde was a bartender who was doing well by the standards of 1845. He had saved some money which he planned on using for his dream of purchasing a ferry boat and asking the woman he was in love with to marry him. However, a devastating fire leaves him homeless, unemployed, penniless
Hope, I've discovered, is a sad nuisance. Hope is a horse with a broken leg. ~The Gods of Gotham, Lyndsay Faye
New York City, 1845. Helped by an explosion of combustible saltpeter, a great fire has once again decimated Lower Manhattan, claiming the lives of four fireman and 26 civilians.

Across the Atlantic, a terrible potato blight is beginning to take its toll, and shiploads of desperate, starving Irish pour into the city despised for their race and religion. Despite having traveled so far, wo
3.5 Stars

"I'd known before meeting her that women were capable of writing murder across their eyelids and then sweetly blinking at a fellow, but I'd not seen it. It's pretty daunting, when it's done proper."

It's 1845 New York and the BIG fire has just wiped out part of the city as well as bartender Tim Wilde and his stash of $400 saved over the last ten years (to win over the love of his life).......Now disfigured with nowhere to turn, the good natured Tim reluctantly accepts a job from his mu

Doug Bradshaw
Unfortunately, things haven't changed much since 1845 except maybe back then it was easier to get drugs like Morphine, hookers were cheap, Catholics disliked Irish and other protestants perhaps a little more than these days. It was also more normal to drink a lot during the day, the political leaders got away with all kinds of bad dealings and politics (wait, maybe that one hasn't changed) and little orphan kids were treated like slaves sometimes in the sex industry...I think I just heard the FB ...more
Jason Pettus
(Reprinted from the Chicago Center for Literature and Photography []. I am the original author of this essay, as well as the owner of CCLaP; it is not being reprinted illegally.)

A couple of years ago, Lyndsay Faye's clever Sherlock Holmes/Jack The Ripper thriller Dust and Shadow made CCLaP's best-of-the-year lists, and with me specifically saying at the time that I was looking forward to a wholly original creation from this engaging, smart author; and now that original creation is
Once you make it past the late 1940’s-esque cover art---really. Can’t you see that image selling The Gods of Gotham movie starring Barbara Stanwyck, Robert Mitchum, Jennifer Jones, and Van Heflin. The Gods of Gotham…a world torn apart by burning passions! Anyway. As I was implying the cover art is aged at best but the contents? Much better than the cover would have you believe.

My guess is that The Gods of Gotham will most often be compared to The Alienist. Both books are cut from the same cloth
Aaron Arnold
A murder mystery set in 1840s New York City, this is something of a cross between Caleb Carr's The Alienist in subject and Dennis Lehane's The Given Day in writing style. Its similarity the Lehane book put me off at first, partly because Faye had the exact same tendency that Lehane did to tell the reader how to feel about everything that was put in front of them. One of my least favorite writer's tics is when they decide that some object just has to serve as a convenient metaphor, and then nothi ...more
Lyndsay Faye is a remarkable author with a unique talent for interesting plot and rich characters. She enlightens an era of urban history not often relived with grace, candor, and a lyrical prose that effortlessly advances her story while painting a vivid picture of the city's buildings, streets, and inhabitants, even as her unlikely protagonist sketches them in modest charcoal.

"The Gods of Gotham" is impossible to put down once taken up.
So yeah, despite some faults, I really enjoyed this, enough to give it 5 stars.

Faye weaves a wonderful and multi-layered tale in a Gothic setting that is sure to appeal to those who appreciate a good mystery/piece of historical fiction. In addition to an engaging main plot, Faye manages a number of subplots that compliment rather than distract for the primary story line. And while a few of the secondary/supporting characters bordered on cliches, the key characters felt fresh and well-drawn (for
This is engaging from page one. You feel like you are in NYC, at the middle of the 19th Century. NYC has just formed a police force, due to rampant crime. There is filth and vermin and fires - great to have recently read Triangle: The Fire That Changed America, although that took place 50 years later.

I am listening to the audiobook narrated by Steven Boyer. Every word is clear, even though the speed is rapid. The Irish brogue is just perfect for the time and setting. There is a glossary in the
Just read the other reviews. Faye's story grabs you from the first sentence and doesn't let go. My only regret is that the library glued down the flaps, covering up part of the map of Manhattan on the inner covers. Timothy Wilde and his brother Val seem a little bigger than life - orphans after fire took their parents lives. Val lives by his wits as Party boss - the Democrats. Wilde is made penniless when southern Manhattan burns to the ground - his savings and his job as bartender up in smoke. ...more
I both read and listened to the audio book. I enjoyed this book a lot. It kept me. Once I got into the storey, I could not put it down. I am looking forward to reading Lindsay Faye's next book. I already have it from the library.

I loved the way she brought the old New York back to life. She really brought home the way the Irish were treated during the potato famine. The Irish part of my family came to New York State during that period. I don't know if they ever lived in New York City. They did
Willem van den Oever
The Gods of Gotham” could hardly have opened in a more impressive way. Starting off at breakneck speed, the reader is shot back in time to New York, 1845, as a raging fire destroys a large portion of the city. Debris flies through the air, the stench of burning skin lingers in the air and thousands of people are left homeless by the destruction. Amongst those whose life is destroyed in Timothy Wilde. Formerly a barkeeper at a local oyster bar, he discovers his workplace is eaten by the flames, ...more
The Gods of Gotham by Lyndsay Faye is an interesting read.

"After a fire disseminates a swathe of lower Manhattan, and following years of passionate political dispute, New York City at long last forms an official Police Department. The same summer the great potato famine hits Ireland. These events will change the city of New York forever.

Lyndsay Faye does an amazing job of bringing to life the sense of time and place of 1845 New York City. You certainly get a feel for this city and its people.
aPriL does feral sometimes
A vortex of a book! The twists and turns and reveals and dark secrets - I'm spinning! Without reservation, I recommend this book as the best mystery I've read this year! Terrific, well-done, exciting read, despite the horror, death and destruction without a lot of resolution...because it's, you know, New York.

Timothy Wilde, I love you. I want to be your woman. Poor man. I'm a sucker for a guy who is so tough, he's willing to fight 50 men by himself, even though he knows he's going to die, in try
I was expecting this book to be much more of a thriller than it turned out to be, given the crime that's the central plot. It was more about the people and about the historical New York that becomes a character itself. Kind of interesting and disappointing all at once. Not that the quality of the writing was at all disappointing, far from it, but Faye brought in the reality of people so well that I found humanity a bit disappointing. For one, in that way where you build up idealized versions of ...more
Randi Reisfeld
I'm all over the history of New York City -- this book was billed as a cross between Gangs of New York and one of my all-time favorites, The Alienist. It was neither -- which isn't to say it wasn't interesting, just not what I expected and waaaay over-written (as in the descriptions of every-little-thing had my eyes rolling). The Gods of Gotham turns on the abduction and murder of orphans in the mid-1800s--many of whom wound up as prostitutes, here called "kinchin-mabs". It recounts the founding ...more
☔Diane S.
This was a fantastic historical mystery taking place in 1852 New York City. The potato famine has caused hundreds of thousands of Irish immigrants to flock to New York, causing untoward problems between the protestants and the newly arrived Catholics. The Five Point area, 6th district is a poor violent area full of corruption and crime. A new police force, the predecessor to the NYPD is formed, the men wearing the badge are called Copper stars by the residents. Add to that a murderer of children ...more
Amazing! Lyndsay Faye is a fantastic mystery writer.

The book was a bit slow to start and the mystery was a bit more grisly than I was prepared for. But I really liked the characters and the way the plot unfolded. I had my guesses and hunches and some of them turned out to be right -- at least partially. Tim is great character though; he's smart, hard working, and of course madly in love with a girl who doesn't have a clue. He tortures himself a bit more than he should, but he doesn't whine and a
I expected to like this book much more than I did. The story was good but I felt it was derivative (The TV show "Copper" and the film "The Gangs of New York). The author provides a glossary at the front of the book, but for me it is only half complete. This may be my fault, but I thought I needed to spend too much time with the maps provided on the inside covers. I don't live in New York, but I've been there a few times in my life including to all the places where the story is set and I didn't r ...more
Amy Sturgis
This is how it should be done.

Lyndsay Faye spins a tale that immerses the reader in New York City of 1845. The details are rich, well researched, and never superfluous; everything serves the interest of the story, in this case the formation of New York City's first police force. When one of those pioneering "copper stars" accepts the burden of investigating a truly horrific series of murders, he takes a personal and professional journey that shows him the many faces of religious and racial confl
T. Edmund
I hate to sound terribly uneducated, but I'm not a huge fan of 'literary' books that require a dictionary to read, or have such manipulated prose I can barely read them.

Gods of Gotham does have a Flash Dictionary, and the prose is quite poetic, however when it came to this book my concerns were little more than foibles. Sure Gods of Gotham isn't your typically whodunnit thriller, but is stocked well with drama at a good pace.

While at times I was worried the substance would disappear behind the l
Yvann S
"Hope, I've discovered, is a sad nuisance. Hope is a horse with a broken leg."

In 1845, Timothy Wilde becomes member of the newly minted New York Police force after a fire destroys his home, his employment and his looks. Despairing of ever winning the delightful Miss Underhill’s regard, and seeking to avoid his louche brother Valentine at all times and costs, Timothy tries enforce some law and order while being kind to the impoverished Irish immigrants. When a girl in a blood-drenched lace nightg
 Danielle The Book Huntress (Self-Proclaimed Book Ninja)
The Gods of Gotham was an impulse audio read from my trusty library, and it was definitely worth the read. The narrator really took this book where it needed to go. His voices were subtly different for each character. He endows Timothy with the integral mix of hardened cynic and stubborn idealist which defines his persona. For Valentine, Timothy's jaded older brother, his tone is more sardonic and poised, what I would expect of a borderline shady rakish fellow such as Valentine. The narrator als ...more
Author Lyndsay Faye has written a fast paced historical novel, The Gods of Gotham, which takes place in 1845, and includes all sorts of interesting tidbits about the New York City of that era. It is a tough time to be a fact, it's kind of risky to be anybody in NYC in 1845! The book is fictional, but it portrays the actual inception of the New York Police Department and it's somewhat rocky start. Most of the policemen are political patronage hires of the Democrat party and training is p ...more
Cynthia Neale
As a writer of historical fiction, I was eager to read this novel that is set in New York City in 1845. The protagonist, Timothy Wilde, has suffered great loss in his life and tends bar saving his money and dreaming of marrying a childhood friend. But then a fire disfigures him, he becomes unemployed, and his older brother who acts as a ward heeler and a scumbag politico obtains a job for him in the brand new NYPD. And then more hell breaks loose with graphic depictions of violence against child ...more
Thank you Goodreads First-reads giveaway for the ARC of The Gods of Gotham!

The Gods of Gotham is certainly a tour-de-force mystery told in noir-ish language bordering on melodrama at times with plenty of crime slang to boot. The characters are well developed, though in [dim] light of the noir voice, everything is a bit skewed; the big man can take too much drugs to wake up just fine in the morning, the smart guy will figure everyone out, and the tough kids will be just fine in the end. There is
For some reason when I read this book I had it in my mind it was a work of journalism not fiction. I think I read the review too quickly and got it into my head that Ms Faye had written this novel about a true story and so I read the entire book thinking it was a true account. Of course, I know now it is a work of fiction but that doesn't hamper my enjoyment of this wonderful book any less, nor does it negate any of the author's extensive research on the historical background of this novel as we ...more
New York City in 1845 was a tumultuous place, filled with political upheaval and radicalism. When the Great Potato Famine struck Ireland and thousands of Irish Catholics washed upon the shores of Manhattan, religious turmoil was added to the already volatile city. In The Gods of Gotham, Lyndsay Faye transports readers to this riotous time and place. Timothy Wilde has been struggling for years, working as a bartender and saving his money in hopes of winning Mercy Underhill, the girl of his dreams ...more
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Other Books in the Series

Timothy Wilde Mysteries (3 books)
  • Seven for a Secret (Timothy Wilde Mysteries, #2)
  • The Fatal Flame (Timothy Wilde Mysteries, #3)
Dust and Shadow: An Account of the Ripper Killings by Dr. John H. Watson Seven for a Secret (Timothy Wilde Mysteries, #2) The Fatal Flame (Timothy Wilde Mysteries, #3) The Gospel of Sheba Seven for a Secret Free Preview

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“Hope, I've discovered, is a sad nuisance. Hope is a horse with a broken leg.” 16 likes
“Because I'm still here. I got a brick, a leather strap, and a rock from a slingshot too, all on a shelf. But look at me. I'm right here.” 3 likes
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