Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Westside” as Want to Read:
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview


(Westside #1)

3.30  ·  Rating details ·  1,544 ratings  ·  287 reviews
A young detective who specializes in “tiny mysteries” finds herself at the center of a massive conspiracy in this beguiling historical fantasy set on Manhattan’s Westside—a peculiar and dangerous neighborhood home to strange magic and stranger residents—that blends the vivid atmosphere of Caleb Carr with the imaginative power of Neil Gaiman.

New York is dying, and the one w
ebook, 320 pages
Published May 7th 2019 by Harper Voyager
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Westside, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions
Dave White There is a fair amount of swearing, most attributed to the principal. In Oklahoma I'd say no.…moreThere is a fair amount of swearing, most attributed to the principal. In Oklahoma I'd say no.(less)
Dave White If someone was spunky they had grit.
I think your reaching.…more
If someone was spunky they had grit.
I think your reaching.(less)

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.30  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,544 ratings  ·  287 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of Westside
Will Byrnes
Only in the Westside could a woman with blood in her hair stroll down the sidewalk on a weekday afternoon, wearing nothing but a slip and hearing only the chattering of a few far-off birds.
Gilda Carr is a young woman who looks into what she calls “tiny mysteries.” Leave those murders for someone else. Big mysteries mean big problems and Gilda has had enough of those. Her mom died when she was a kid, and her father, one Virgil Carr, aka “Clubber” was not only the founder of a notorious Wests
Hannah Greendale
I hurled my filthy slip down the hallway, to enjoy the cavelike air in stark naked splendor.

A flimsy mystery with all the pittfalls of a male author crafting an inauthentic female protagonist. Akers rarely provides a firm sense of place or atmosphere. Some interesting ideas simmering below the surface that never fully materialize. Westside is imaginative at its best; half-baked and hollow at its worst.
Westside has more thick, juicy layers than a weighty feast at a New York deli.

Let's lift the crusty bread on this one.....

Gilda Carr dabbles in tiny mysteries and likes it that way. The smaller, the quicker, the better. It's September of 1921 in Washington Square and she's headed to Manhattan. Edith Copeland, wife of Galen Copeland who owns a shipping firm along the river, has hired her to find a missing ladies leather glove. The gloves were an unexpected gift from her husband and she lost one w
Lisa Wolf
After an initially interesting premise, the story bogs down in the middle. I ended up skimming through the last third or so of the book -- it just did not hold my attention.
Lauren Stoolfire
May 01, 2019 rated it really liked it
I received an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Even though the Westside of Manhattan is a dangerous wasteland that is inhospitable to modern (1920s) technology, home to strange magic and many disreputable residents, Gilda is proud to call it her home. Gilda is in a way a detective who specializes in "tiny mysteries" - those impossible puzzles and that keep you awake at night and chip away at you; questions that can ruin marriages and friendships. These cases distract her from
La La
The last 40% of this book was a disaster. I always give that a bit more hate because when the front half of a story is well written and it tanks in the second half, I feel robbed of my time. It felt like another writer took over after 60%. An inept writer. These sorts of situations always pique my curiosity about the reasons for it. Did they work on the first half of the book for years and then decide to finish it up quickly? Did they grow tired of the characters? Did the publisher push them to ...more
Hélène Louise
May 08, 2019 marked it as gave-up
Shelves: netgalley, ebook
I'm very frustrated with this book,which I liked for many reasons but still had to give up at 40 %.
There was absolutely nothing wrong about it, I appreciated the main character, the background was rather fascinating, as the idea of the heroine solving "tiny mysteries" as a job. I loved some funny metaphors and some witty dialogues.
But alas the rhythm didn't agree with. At each chapter, at each different scene even, I had to make an effort, the kind of effort one does at the beginning of a new re
May 19, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audio, dnf, overdrive
I didn’t like the book, but I absolutely hated the narration of the audio book.
Megan Lyons
I've been done this for about a week, but I've been struggling with writing a review. I know this was a fairly strong book. The writing was good. There were some fabulous, smart lines, both in dialogue and in the general text. The world building was interesting and consistent. The main character was odd; to me she read a bit like an anti hero with some of her actions, but she was quirky and still sympathetic. There were also some larger than life side characters. It had an interesting meld of ur ...more
Mar 06, 2019 rated it liked it
A lot certainly happens in this novel. Lots of people fight, die, disappear, reappear, argue; there are lots of locations, with clever worldbuilding that is, I think, the strongest part of the novel. The problem is that the plot is not particularly engrossing. I found myself bored, my mind wandering off even while my eyes continued to read. That is never a good sign for me.
Neither the protagonist nor her conflicts were very interesting, unfortunately. There were some pacing issues, as well, tha
Amber J
I try to express only my most honest opinion in a spoiler-free way. Unfortunately, there is still always a risk of slight spoilers despite my best efforts. If you feel something in my review is a spoiler please let me know. Thank you.

I did not really like this book. I know an obvious statement considering my rating, but the most accurate I could think of. It had promise and the plot of the story could have been good if it wasn't told in one of the most boring ways possible. This is a book filled
Sep 08, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
I spent a lot of time reading this novel wondering what the hell was going on. Gilda Carr is a young woman who lives on the west side of NYC. She solves tiny mysteries so she didn’t hesitate to take a job which involved finding a missing glove. Trying to locate the glove led to finding out secrets about many of the people that ran the Westside. It was a terrible place, but it was her home and she wanted to protect it. She was also determined to find out what had happened to many people who had d ...more
Halley Sutton
May 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A rich, complex, terrifying and beautiful world, a fantastic, smart, capable, vulnerable heroine, and all the mysteries—tiny and enormous—a reader could want. Would love to revisit this world in future series offerings!
Apr 26, 2019 rated it really liked it
I received this book for free from the Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.The nitty-gritty: A weird and wonderful, multi-layered story with a tough-as-nails heroine, this delightful fantasy offers up plenty of mysteries, both big and small.

"I answer little questions. Those impossible puzzles that burrow into our brains like splinters and keep us awake at night. I solve the mysteries that spoil marriages, ruin

Francesca ❆
May 07, 2019 rated it really liked it
*I received an ARC from he publisher through Edelweiss in exchange for a review.*

“I answer little questions. Those impossible puzzles that burrow into our brains like splinters and keep us awake at night. I solve the mysteries that spoil marriages, ruin friendships, and curdle joy. A murder is a dull thing. It simply ends a life. Tiny mysteries destroy us."

A quirky mystery set in a grim Manhattan full of colorful and intriguing characters.

Gilda, the protagonist, is fierce, ruthless, b
Michelle F

some slight spoilers, maybe

I struggled with the star rating on this one because when I was fully invested I found so much to like about Westside. My immersion was spottier than I'd have liked, though, and a few outright frustrations keep me from fully endorsing it. That being said, overall I enjoyed this book.

Set in early 1900's Manhattan, it is a bit of a genre mash-up. Historical, yes. Fantasy, yes. Perhaps Historical Dark Fantasy? But it's a Mystery novel at its heart, with a grimy city and a
Anne - Books of My Heart
This review was originally posted on Books of My Heart
Review copy was received from NetGalley. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
The premise of Westside sounded fascinating and I was very excited to read it.   I like historical fantasy with a mystery.  Actually I like mystery, period.  Somehow, even though this had all the parts I should like, it wasn't for me.  The beginning had the detailed world-building which gave me a bit of first book syndrome when
Pat Doucett
May 13, 2019 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I am sorry to say that I couldn't finish reading this book and consider a one star rating being generous on my part. This is one of the most bizarre books I have ever read. It takes place in the early 1900's during prohibition and apparently New York was divided into the West Side and the East Side but to have "shadows" devouring people and objects disappear into the shadows became a bit much after a while. I gave it a chance because I only threw in the towel after reading 150 pages but then I c ...more
Stuart Rodriguez
On its surface, this novel sounds pretty great: It’s the story of a young private detective who specializes in “tiny mysteries” who must investigate murder and corruption in an alternate-universe Jazz Age New York City. Unfortunately, this book is dragged down by poorly drawn characters, thin, one-dimensional villains, inconsistent writing and dialogue, and the protagonist’s inauthentic voice. The audiobook narration is also some of the slowest I’ve ever encountered, but I actually didn’t mind b ...more
May 17, 2019 rated it liked it
Wavering between three and four stars; the hardboiled prose is delightful, but the narrative often misses a step when transitioning between scenes. There are lots of moments where the plot will twist on coincidence or leaps of intuition that are a bit too tough to accept, even in a book in which evil shadows eat people.
Lynn Williams
May 23, 2019 rated it really liked it
4.5 of 5 stars
As soon as I saw Westside I had to have it – put simply, it called out to me – mystery, history, fantasy, all rolled into one. Hell yes. And, within the first few pages it had captured my imagination. I was hooked, and in a nutshell I just adored it. The writing was superb and I fell in love with the main character. A debut, a standalone novel and an author that I will definitely keep an eye on.

Westside is a fascinating and dangerous place to
Lashaan Balasingam (Bookidote)

You can find my review on my blog by clicking here.

Have you ever been drawn by a book by the marketing behind it that casually compares it to authors or books that you have loved in the past with all your heart? While I remain skeptical most of the time, I sometimes land upon some that make the most tantalizing comparisons that I would have never imagined possible. From W.M. Akers, readers get to enjoy an unimaginable concoction of historical fiction, mystery, and fantasy in what is being praise
Ryan Hixson
Westside by W. M. Akers is one hell of a debut. I went into this book really loving the premise of a detective who solves small mysteries like a missing broach or jewelry is lead into this huge mystery involving murder and supernatural elements. The voice is similar to Neil Gaiman's and reminded me of Neverwhere meets Johnathan Strange & Mr. Norrell wih a little Blake Crouch's Dark Matter. It's a good Historical Fiction Mystery that adds a dash of Supernatural to it. This novel is a trip that is ...more
Aug 12, 2020 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I thought I might like it, but I do not. Right from the opening theft-and-chase, it is badly paced: tediously lingering over details that fail to inspire any feeling, and skipping over those that feel necessary (why did she cause herself so much trouble by stealing the glove in the first place? mischief? poverty? disdain? it's totally unclear.)

I stuck with it through a brief natural history of the Westside being "beaten into submission" by "civilized" folk despite the warnings of the Lenape-- wh
Mar 11, 2019 marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
As a fan of historical fiction, I thought I would enjoy Westside, but that was not the case. The story world setting is just not plausible in my mind. It's just a bit too far out to really connect with reality of the time and place. I skimmed through parts of it because I didn't care enough about the outcome to commit my time to this story. Overall it's an average read that I know many readers will enjoy. Thanks to NetGalley for an arc in exchange for an honest review. ...more
Jun 09, 2019 rated it liked it
I don’t usually read fantasy but this tongue-in-cheek detective story about a different New York City in the 1930’s was rather fun. It especially excelled in WORLD BUILDING which is my favorite ingredient of this genre.
Feb 04, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: horror, mystery

3.5 stars

Gilda Carr doesn't want to look at the big mysteries, like what happened to her disappeared father. She prefers her mysteries tiny. So, when a rich lady hires her to find a missing glove, it's right up her alley. The mystery sends her all over 1920s Manhattan. But the Westside isn't as we know it. There are waterfalls on buildings, and child gangs, and murderous shadows. Gilda is forced to face the big mysteries. The biggest? Why are people disappearing from the Westside?

Westside is a f
Katie/Doing Dewey
May 15, 2019 rated it liked it
Summary: The setting for this story was fun, but the plot was lacking and the main character felt cliched.

Let's start with the best part of this book - the setting! Detective Gilda Carr lives in New York City. It's 1921 and to the West of Broadway, the city has been slowly succumbing to the shadows for years. A guarded border protects the Eastside from the mysterious rash of disappearances and supernatural happenings of the Westside. The Westside itself is divided into two parts. Half is run by
Feb 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Westside is a dark, and spunky new Fantasy novel set in an alternate reality of Prohibition-Era New York. This was the first novel I had the joy to read by W.M. Akers, and it will not be my last!

Gilda Carr is a feisty new protagonist, born and raised on the mysterious and segregated westside of New York City, where gangs and bootleggers run free, the cops are crooked, and unexplained shadows will snatch your loved ones from existence without warning. Gilda’s recently departed father, an NYPD cop
Apr 04, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, reviews
Westside is a fine example of a book that has an innovative story marred by poor execution. The author's attempts at creepy Gothic atmosphere fell short, as did his attempt at creating a "tough" female protagonist. She was basically a Victorian-style manic pixie dream girl in a bodice. It reminded me of that Tumblr post where the users write dramatic send-ups of men describing women in their novels, with things like "She breasted boobily up the stairs." The plot was a mess, too, with long stretc ...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • The Record Keeper
  • Magic for Liars
  • Gather the Fortunes (Crescent City, #2)
  • The Last Ocean: A Journey through Memory and Forgetting
  • Thirteen Doorways, Wolves Behind Them All
  • Poppy Redfern and the Midnight Murders (A Woman of WWII Mystery, #1)
  • The Hotel Neversink
  • The Paris Diversion (Kate Moore, #2)
  • Conviction
  • The World That We Knew
  • The Laws of the Skies
  • Naamah
  • The Right Sort of Man (Sparks & Bainbridge Mystery #1)
  • The Red-Stained Wings (Lotus Kingdoms, #2)
  • The Bird King
  • Peach Clobbered (Georgia B&B, #1)
  • Strange Harvests: The Hidden Histories of Seven Natural Objects
  • Vessel
See similar books…
W.M. Akers is a novelist, playwright, and game designer. He is the author of the mystery novels Critical Hit, Westside, and Westside Saints; the creator of the bestselling games Deadball: Baseball With Dice and Comrades: A Revolutionary RPG; and the curator of the history newsletter Strange Times. He lives in Philadelphia, but hasn’t traded in his Mets cap yet. Learn more about his work at wmakers ...more

Other books in the series

Westside (3 books)
  • Westside Saints
  • Westside Lights: A Novel

Related Articles

  Holiday-themed books are always a good time. A quality romance or cozy mystery becomes enhanced, somehow, when there’s a connection to those...
118 likes · 21 comments
No trivia or quizzes yet. Add some now »
“I said, changing the subject quick enough to dizzy her.” 0 likes
More quotes…