Monday, October 7, 2013

Seven for a Secret

Seven for a Secret is a crime novel which succeeds both as a follow up to last year’s Gods of Gotham and as a mystery in its own right. We are back with the fledgling NYPD in 1846 and Copper Star Timothy Wilde has a new case to solve as a young woman rushes into the police headquarters reporting her family has been stolen. Soon Wilde is on the trail of a gang of blackbirders; legal slave catchers who Mrs Lucy Adams claims have illegally taken her sister and son. With the help of the Vigilance Committee and his brother Captain Valentine Wilde, Timothy discovers a web of corruption that leads to his old adversary Silkie Marsh and to the heart of The Democratic Party. Lyndsay Faye has painstakingly recreated 19th Century New York with meticulous research, rich contemporary language and fantastic characterisation. From the wealthy and well-dressed politicians to the starving orphans, from the drunks to the dandies, this book is peopled with a fascinating cast of characters. The Wilde brothers are by turns comic and tragic and despite their faults utterly likeable. Don’t start this book at bed time as you are likely to lose sleep as I did, desperate to know what happened next and what scrape the Wilde’s will find themselves in. Perfect for fans of Sherlock Holmes and anyone that loves a wild thrill ride of a tale.

Available now in hardback, trade paperback and e-book from Headline Review.
This review originally appeared on

October is small publisher month

Throughout the rest of October I will be reading and reviewing books; both print and e-books which are published by smaller independent publishing houses and self published by the author.

Some of the titles up for review are
Inceptio by Alison Morton published by SilverWood Books

A Rip in the Veil by Anna Belfrage published by Matador

The Blackheath Séance Parlour by Alan Williams published by Cutting Edge Press

Some other titles I hope to review include Shadows of the Past by Carmen Stefanescu
The Call of Agon by Dean F Wilson and 
A Man Against a Background of Flames by Paul Hoggart.

The Incredible Life of Jonathan Doe by Carol Coffey Guest Review by Margaret Madden of Bleach House Library

A Guest Post from my lovely friend, book club buddy and fellow blogger Margaret Bonass Madden of 
Having read Carol Coffey's previous novels, The Penance Room and Winter Flowers, I was delighted to see this on my To-Be-Reviewed pile.  I am a big fan and was dying to see if this new novel was as good as her others.  I was not disappointed.

Brendan is forced to go to live with his Uncle in New Jersey after a brush with the law.  He has also to complete some community service as part of his bail conditions.  A big change for a man in his 30s who lived a pretty self centered life in New York. 
His ex-cop Uncle is hard, tough and extremely old school.  His Aunt is meek and mousy.  Their daughter, Eileen is a nervous, shy  woman who is completely controlled by her bullying Father.  However, Brendan and Eileen form a bond and the changes in their lives mean their days become a bit more bearable for both of them.

Eileen introduces Brendan to staff and residents at a local homeless shelter where she  volunteers, and this is where Brendan meets the unusual character, Jonathan Doe.  Found as a child severely battered, neglected and abused, he has lived at the shelter for years and no one knows where he came from or why he speaks fluent Spanish. This man's story becomes too intruiging to ignore and Brendan decides to investigate the man's past, despite warnings from staff to let it be.

The characters in this novel are just perfect.  Warmly researched, the attention to detail that has been afforded to the individual stories leads to some of the best writing I have come across for years. The concept of what a home is, what family means and how our past can influence our future is delicately interwoven throughout the chapters and you can almost feel as if you are in the middle of the wonderful story along with the cast. 
There are several threads throughout the book but they are so well linked that there is no apparent divisions. Smooth, sleek and compelling, the wonderful characters just tug at your heartstrings and you are wishing them well as they explore their past, present and future.

Similar in style to the 2009 BestSelling " The Silver Linings Playbook " by Matthew Quick, this underrated novel by Carol Coffey deserves a chance to be up there with the best novels of 2013.

Highly recommended.

" The Incredible Life of Jonathan Doe " is published by Poolbeg.
Thanks to Poolbeg for a review copy of this great book.