Tuesday, April 3, 2012

"The Gods of Gotham"

Lyndsay Faye is the author of critically acclaimed Dust and Shadow, and is featured in Best American Mystery Stories 2010. Faye, a true New Yorker in the sense that she was born elsewhere, lives in Manhattan with her husband.

She applied the Page 69 Test to her new novel, The Gods of Gotham, and reported the following:
I am delighted to report that, quite by accident, page 69 is the moment that marks the first absolute turning point for my protagonist Timothy Wilde, a reluctant recruit of the inaugural 1845 NYPD. It also kicks the plot into high gear, which quite tickles me. Tim lost his job, his home, his life savings, and a portion of his face when a devastating fire destroyed 300 buildings in downtown Manhattan, and his brother Valentine landed him a spot with the untested and unpopular “copper stars.” Desperate, Tim took the job, even though it’s grueling and harrowing work.

On page sixty-nine, returning from his shift at the Tombs with every intention of quitting the following day, a little girl wearing a blood-drenched nightdress runs into his knees. And Tim, almost in spite of himself, makes a life-changing choice: he decides to take her into his own home.
“My God,” I murmured. “Are you hurt?”

She didn’t answer me, but her square face was working on something other than words. I believe she was trying not to cry.

Maybe a professional policeman, like the ones in London, would have marched right back to the Tombs and delivered her for questioning even though he was off shift. It’s possible. Maybe a professional policeman would have rushed her to a doctor. I don’t know. It ought to be clear by now that there wasn’t much in the way of professional policemen in New York City. But even if there had been, I was through with them for good and all. Aidan Rafferty was being buried by that time, so was his mother at the Tombs in another sense; I was a man used to pouring gin in a glass for double the money, and the copper stars could go hang themselves.

“Come with me,” I said. “You’ll be all right now.”
What follows is Timothy trying to determine where the blood—for there isn’t a mark on the little girl—came from, and why the child was fleeing the scene. Her name is Bird Daly and she tells a series of fantastical lies that ultimately lead to the truth. I hope very much, therefore, that page sixty-nine meets with approval from readers. It’s what The Gods of Gotham is all about.
Learn more about the book and author at Lyndsay Faye's website.

Writers Read: Lyndsay Faye (April 2012).

--Marshal Zeringue