Author: W.M. Akers
Source: from publisher for review
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 a woman who motivates her followers with bootleg booze. The other half is run by a man who provides at least the illusion of safety.
The author would have us believe that Gilda survives by solving only small mysteries, staying off the radar of the powerful and avoiding tough questions. However, the first and only case we follow is the opposite of small. It rapidly reveals into a conspiracy possibly involving the leaders of Westside, the wealthiest Eastsiders, and/or a bunch of corrupt cops. She’s pulled into the two main mysteries she’s been avoiding – the mystery of her father’s disappearance and the reason for the darkness of Westside. With her near death wish and willingness to run towards a fight, I found it hard to believe Glinda had ever truly focused on the small mysteries that sounded so interesting in the book blurb.
In general, I found Gilda a difficult character to be excited about. She’s was a bit of a cliche – the hard-boiled detective with a tragic past. Her choice to stay involved in a more difficult case seemed to require the constant, coincidental appearance of hooks to keep her going. Her “investigation” largely involved bouncing from person to person, believing each of them when they blamed someone else and running off to interrogate her new suspect. There was little detective work and few clues. The parts of the mystery I was able to figure out relied on metadata, knowledge of how particular plot points often play out. Gilda took a long time to figure out what were, to me, obvious answers. Most of the time when she did figure things out, it seemed like she was just making a guess, picking one of many solutions that might explain the events she’d observed. Perhaps because this method of presenting a mystery left me reliant on exposition for answers, I was only mildly interested in what would happen next, not gripped by the mystery.
For other reviews of this book, check out the other stops on the TLC book tour.