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One of the reasons I like this series so much is the incredible lens of American history it brings to the table. Readers who have an interest in the city of New York and the tarnished history of the corrupt city government, think Tammany Hall, will appreciate how the author has integrated this story. Valentine is high up in the Democratic party, which is why he holds the enviable post as a station head and also the head of one of the firefighter units. He's viewed as a saint to the Irish immigrants because he helps them to get work and food in exchange for voting for the Democratic candidates.

The storyline resonated deeply with me, as it deals with slavery and the practice of capturing free blacks in the north and selling them into slavery. Timothy's best friend is a free man of color, Julius, who is a member of The Committee of Vigilance, an organization that helps to protect blacks from the blackbirders a name for the slave-catchers. Julius comes to get his help when a young woman of color's family is kidnapped. Timothy is eager to help, his sense of justice appalled at the practice of slavery and the fact that blacks aren't even safe in New York.

Of course, he's seen for himself that there are many terrible ways that racism that impact his beloved city. His assistance in the matter, gets him and his brother involved in a case that grows even darker as the layers pull away to reveal corruption that goes deep into the heart of the city and state government. The aspects of slavery and racial injustice really affected me, as much as the child prostitution and murder in the first book. The author is not shy about revealing these dark themes that are real parts of the history of our country.

When Julius faces the slave-catchers without any real help in the legal courts, I don't think I even breathed the whole time. There are aspects of this book that are downright heartbreaking and bring home how profoundly wrong slavery was and the deep-seated racial prejudice that is a huge part of American history and current events even today. This book is fantastically narrated, and I hope that my library gets the last book in the series.

I can't imagine not being able to listen to it, because now the narrator has cemented himself in my mind in his voicing of Timothy and his brother. I love Timothy. He has many traits that admire in a character and a person, to be honest. But I also love Valentine, despite his corrupt ways. His definitely a bad boy kind of character you can't help but fall for. I had to give this five stars because there is so much to love about this book. I definitely recommend this series, and if you can get it on audiobook, please don't miss that opportunity.

Aug 07, Mary rated it it was ok Shelves: historical-mystery , usa , hfs , read , historical-fiction. A disappointing second installment. Timothy Wilde seemed much more street-smart and competent in The Gods of Gotham , and the love-hate relationship between Timothy and his brother Valentine was over-used here. As with The Gods of Gotham, I found the tough-minded, politically savvy Valentine with all his personal demons much more interesting than the underdog Timothy.

Timothy spent too much time pining for Mercy Underhill, and the way his thoughts were written continually reminded me that he was A disappointing second installment. Timothy spent too much time pining for Mercy Underhill, and the way his thoughts were written continually reminded me that he was a male character written by a modern woman. View 1 comment. Jun 27, Benjamin Thomas rated it it was amazing Shelves: advanced-reading-copy , mystery-historical.

He's a proven asset now, an excellent solver of crimes and finder of missing things, and has therefore been relieved of the necessity of walking a beat as a "rounder" in Ward 6. Rather, he is a sort of special "detective" although that term won't be Six months after the events of The Gods of Gotham , where-in we get to participate in the founding and very early days of the New York City Police Department NYPD , we catch up with young Timothy Wilde, a "Copper Star" in the new police force.

Rather, he is a sort of special "detective" although that term won't be in use for another years and works on specific cases for the Chief of Police, George Washington Matsell. Tim Wilde shows off his detective skills early on but the major case of the novel surrounds the very historically accurate issue of kidnapping free blacks in the North and selling them back to the South as escaped slaves.

This novel is an outstanding second novel in what I surely hope will be a lengthy and successful series. The first in the series, The Gods of Gotham, was an excellent novel as well, but at times, it seemed as if the author was trying a little too hard to craft the perfect novel. Her writing style was a bit more "literary" in that first book and, indeed, it was nominated for a whole host of prizes. But it seemed that the parts of the story were crafted together a bit too neatly.

This time around, she seems much more relaxed with her characters; she's come to know them well and she lets them play on her stage. And once again, her stage is phenomenal! All the color and vibrancy of the first book is here still, the sounds and smells of the population-exploding New York in the midth century, the language of the streets and criminals, and the corruption of the politics And the characters! Wow what a smorgasbord of characters. Many historical figures populate the story and take active roles in it, including members of the New York Committee of Vigilance, founded in for the purpose of preventing the kidnapping of men, women, and children to be sold into slavery.

The fictional characters could not be more multidimensional. I had noted in the first book how Tim's brother, Valentine Val was actually a bit more interesting than Tim and had wished that he had been afforded more stage time in that story. I got my wish this time around and his presence is delightful not to mention critical to the plot. But the author is careful not to let him upstage our main character, Tim.

This, my friends, is the sign of a maturing author. And especially important for an historical novel The historical aspects are downright interesting; she writes them in such a way that made me want to look up further information about them. Tell me that's not a good sign. A very enjoyable read. I'm ready for the next book in this series. Faye: please write faster! View all 3 comments.

Mar 16, Ioana rated it really liked it Shelves: historical-fiction , fiction , mystery. The second installment in Lyndsay Faye's excellently detailed, historically accurate series about the founding of the police force in antebellum NYC is a story about the illegal slave trade and systematic kidnapping of free blacks to be sold to the South for profit.

Usua The second installment in Lyndsay Faye's excellently detailed, historically accurate series about the founding of the police force in antebellum NYC is a story about the illegal slave trade and systematic kidnapping of free blacks to be sold to the South for profit.

Usually I find that historical mysteries stray from politics, religion, and other "controversial" topics in order to broaden their appeal, but often this is a disservice to the era of their setting, because these issues are exactly what "set the tone" of the period. Fayes understands this, and does not shy away from depicting antebellum NYC in all its corrupt, political, zealous, squalid splendor.

She does not proselytize, but rather brings the story into focus through believable characters that we come to love, despite their flaws, and perhaps even despite their perpetuation of a corrupt system. The rest of my review is basically the same as for 1, Gods of Gotham , so I will not reprint. In short, the writing is beautiful, the characterizations are a bit overdone at times, the book is definitely "genre" fiction so most likely will not appeal to all readers, and so on.

Aug 06, Wolf rated it liked it. It is clear that the author, Lyndsay Faye, has real talent. The writing is sometimes excellent. Too often, however, it veers into being irritating, overly worked or overly arch. The idea behind the novel, the way the law was used in the mid-nineteenth century US to return runaway black slaves to the American south and how certain slave catchers were none to fussy about whether they collected freemen or runaways, is an excellent one.

Her central po 'Seven For A Secret' is good enough to disappoint. Her central policeman character, with strong abolitionist tendencies but trapped in a world where the kidnap of black men and women is legally sanctioned, a good one to explore the moral issues that this raises. But sadly, due to a number of issues, the book too often misses its mark. Part of the problem is that we are about pages in to the novel before the main plot really begins to motor, with an unexpected dead body turning up, apparently incriminating our main characters.

It is often a sign that an author realises that the start of a book is weak when there is a prologue. Here we get one that hints at the beginning of the main story before we go back to deal with a sub-plot about the theft of a painting which is largely divorced from the rest of the book and could have been usefully cut. The lack of plot line to push us forward gives the reader time to puzzle over other aspects of the story and its telling which might be best left not thought about.

Early on, for example, the policeman central character, and narrator of the story, meets an Englishman acting as a butler in a New York household. He is 'doing his level best London accent' but the narrator immediately identifies him as coming from Bristol. That might work as an incidental detail for an American audience, but it seems hard for anyone familiar with the West Country inflected Bristol accent with its habit of sticking an 'L' on the end of vowels to see that mistake being made or, if the family hiring the man are genuinely so tone deaf to accents, why the butler felt the need to disguise the accent in the first place.

Given that the idea of a received pronunciation 'posh' accent was largely a nineteenth century invention, would anyone even have cared? Another irritation, for me at least, was too often the style of writing. Whilst sometimes very well told, it too often becomes affected. Lyndsay Faye is clearly influenced by the dry laconic hardboiled style of detective fiction created by masters such as Raymond Chandler and much aped since then. The narrator's descriptions are peppered with witty comments in this style.

Very often, I wished he and Faye would give them a rest. Too often the writing and its grasp on character resembles something that we might encounter in creative writing workshops or American indie films but not real life, as I've encountered it. At one stage, the narrator policeman tells a character, from whom he is taking a statement, "'I detest writing police reports,' I admitted It's as if - I can't explain it.

As if when I officially document them, they have to stay with me. Or I give them permanence, or I know it doesn't make sense. I've met police officers and I've met victims of crime and none of them have ever suggested they've felt like that. It makes even less sense the more one thinks about it: this is the same man who, we are expected to believe, does write these events down and in staggering detail, as the very text we are currently reading he makes reference to the pages of the manuscript of the previous story.

It does have to be admitted that, once the main story gets going, the book improves greatly. The various elements of mid-nineteenth century New York, from machine politics to Irish refugees to corrupt policemen are artfully handled, neatly sketched, none outstaying their welcome and all serving a thoroughly entertaining story. By that stage I had been close to giving up, however. The mystery itself and its resolution are a bit disappointing. An acute reader is likely to have guessed one more significant revelations before the central character. The explanation for the mysterious death, that powers the plot of the later two-thirds of the book, is best not considered too closely: alternative courses of action to the one chosen are too obvious.

That said, it would be wrong not to acknowledge that the later part of the book is entertaining. All in all, a generous three stars. Sep 10, Paul rated it it was amazing Shelves: crime-thrillers. Brilliant Historical Crime Fiction Seven For A Secret by Lyndsay Faye is one of the most atmospheric, historically rich crime thrillers that I have read in a long time, and it is certainly one of the best historical crime novels I have read.

In terms of imagery and the use of language it is absolutely spot on for the English usage in New York in the s, of both native New Yorkers. Fortunately for those easily confused there is a selected terminology that criminals used at the time, adapted fro Brilliant Historical Crime Fiction Seven For A Secret by Lyndsay Faye is one of the most atmospheric, historically rich crime thrillers that I have read in a long time, and it is certainly one of the best historical crime novels I have read.

Fortunately for those easily confused there is a selected terminology that criminals used at the time, adapted from a book of the time, the writer of which appears in the novel. New York is being filled by people from all over America, the world and nowhere in particular. Added to this is the daily influx of the Irish escaping the potato famine in Ireland and escaped slaves from the southern states as well as the free slaves of New York. Slave catchers who will stop at nothing to return slaves back to their southern owners and masters and will use all the violence necessary to protect their trade.

While investigating the disappearance then murder of Lucy Adams brings Wilde in to every devious aspect of New York life in , while trying to find her sister and son hopefully alive. This brings him to the attention of corrupt police officers, the Vigilance Committee and the famous Slave Underground Railway that operated in New York. All this lands him an appointment with the infamous Tammany Hall politics of New York and shows how high the corruption went.

Against all the odds, crossing the politicians, corrupt police and the slave catchers Wilde manages to solve the case admittedly maybe not in one piece but solve the crime he does. Lyndsay Faye has written a beautifully researched with attention to detail crime novel drawing on the history of New York. All I can keep saying about this book is that it is simply brilliant, buy it now and step back in time.

Jun 27, Barb added it Shelves: vine , most-disappointing , gave-it-a-try-and-then-gave-up. I found 'Seven For a Secret' available through the Vine Program and thought it sounded like a great story. I soon realized it was the second book in a new series, of course I wanted to read the series in order. I read 'The Gods of Gotham' immediately before starting 'Seven For a Secret' I thought that would be the best way to keep the characters vivid in I found 'Seven For a Secret' available through the Vine Program and thought it sounded like a great story.

I read 'The Gods of Gotham' immediately before starting 'Seven For a Secret' I thought that would be the best way to keep the characters vivid in my memory. Unfortunately reading the two books in succession made the differences between them stark and glaring. In 'The Gods of Gotham' Timothy Wilde is a clever young man who struggles with his feelings for his older brother, he's conflicted by equal parts admiration and resentment boarding on loathing.

He's spent many years working in a pub and is skilled at discerning personal habits, geography and occupation from the way customers are clothed, groomed and speak. When he becomes a copper star, one of the first policemen in NYC, he puts his powers of observation and reasoning to use, solving crime and apprehending thieves.

He's a wonderful character and a protagonist I was looking forward to following through a series of books. I felt the same way about his brother, Valentine, who is a very different character, he struggles with his own inner demons but is all the more interesting because of them.

Seven For A Secret

In 'the Gods of Gotham' the friction between them was lively, clever and believable and it added to the depth of the story. The first difference I noticed between the two novels was Tim's personality and his relationship with Valentine. Tim isn't at all street savvy at the beginning of this book. When we leave him at the end of 'Gotham' he's sharp, clever, quick. The Tim that greets us in 'Seven' seems like he may have suffered from a concussion or a brain injury. He's somewhat oblivious to the politics and inner workings of the city. He was fascinated by the pawn shops for instance.

He also frequently says things that only an oaf would say, and is surprised by things that should have been known and understood, like the other copper stars being envious of him. His relationship with his brother is also less realistic and more like a comedy routine peppered with unlikely insults, ludicrous observations and inane dialogue. At one point Tim tells Val to bugger off, then says the whole Democratic Party can bugger off, then asks why they are talking about the Party? It reminded me a little of Abbot and Costello, who are wonderful but between these characters this kind of silliness is out of place.

This new Tim also has a flair for the melodramatic when expressing his feelings and describing the world he lives in. As well as a tendency to describe things in the superlative; the world being splintered to pieces, his being splintered into slivers of ash, his being pulled from the edge of mental ruin, moth holes dotting the heart and mind, hating himself for accidentally tearing out a tendril of someone's hair. This wasn't the Tim I got to know and love in 'Gods'. Even with the many differences in the writing and characterizations I would have continued reading.

The issue that was make or break if for me was that several pivotal points in the story didn't hold up to scrutiny. I don't want to give too much away but there was a choice that was made which defied logic and had serious consequences that could have been avoided with a small dose of common sense.

Later a character takes care of the aftermath in a way that wasn't very believable and the way the story progresses from there feels very off track. Another thing that I found distracting was the recapping of the story at various points when the story itself wasn't very complicated and not a whole lot had happened yet. Overall I was disappointed by this second installment in the series. I'm not sure if I will try this author again but I'm glad that I found and read 'The Gods of Gotham' which I really enjoyed and would recommend.

View all 8 comments. Oct 27, Albert rated it really liked it. Lyndsay Faye won me over with her novel The Gods of Gotham. A mystery crime thriller set in early New York prior to the Civil War. Seven for a Secret is the second novel in what I hope will be a long series of tales. He is on shift at the station when a disheveled and distraught beautiful young woman staggers in crying out that she Lyndsay Faye won me over with her novel The Gods of Gotham.

He is on shift at the station when a disheveled and distraught beautiful young woman staggers in crying out that she has been robbed. Most would say it was luck's, or Fate's. Or even God's. But I can't help but think of her voice that way now. The way it tugged a man, could wrench a steamer off course into cruel shoals. They'd gone pale as slate. With that Timothy is plunged into the hidden world of slave catching.

Not only was kidnapping free black men, women and children in the North under the guise of re-capturing slaves legal, it was considered part of law enforcement. The accused slave would then have to prove themselves to be freemen or be taken back South to be sold. Lucy Adams is a beautiful young woman whose father was white and mother black. She passes mostly as a white Northern woman but under closer scrutiny she cannot hide her heritage. Coming home she finds her home raided and her sister and son taken.

She doesn't know where to turn and asks the newly formed NYPD to help. They cannot because no law has been broken. But young officer Timothy Wilde feels a moral obligation to help Lucy and throws himself headlong into a cesspool of lies and human trafficking. His fellow officers will turn on him as well as the political climate of the time. Still he forges on to find the stolen family only to find a much larger and crueler scheme unfold. Surrounded by the players from Gods of Gotham, Tim battles for the moral sense of what is right and wrong.

And finds himself on the wrong side of the law he is sworn to uphold. An extremely well written second novel featuring the young Copper Star Timothy Wilde.


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Feb 18, Ellen rated it really liked it. I seem to be in the minority among reviewers here, because I liked "Seven for a Secret" better than "Gods of Gotham. I think the near lack of the Mercy Underhill plotline helped things along for me. Timothy does tend to bumble around making an ass of himself, but he does it in as self-aware a way as possible.

I find that quality believable and sympathetic - I'm not sure how one is supposed to become complete I seem to be in the minority among reviewers here, because I liked "Seven for a Secret" better than "Gods of Gotham. I find that quality believable and sympathetic - I'm not sure how one is supposed to become completely sharp and streetwise if you lack a certain brashness and confidence. I also really appreciated the fact that Timothy and the others get things wrong once in a while. I am rather glad to have this one back at the library, as I started mentally belting out Counting Crows every time I saw the cover.

This was a pretty good sequel that delved into the practice of the time of taking escaped slaves, or freed slaves - and then pretending they weren't freed- from the Northern States of America and returning them to the Southern states for a fee. It is a period of American history I am unfamiliar with and so was quite interesting, and appaulling. The story further develops Timothy and his brother Val, although the pace was certainly much slower than book one and not quite as enjoyable.

Still a ver This was a pretty good sequel that delved into the practice of the time of taking escaped slaves, or freed slaves - and then pretending they weren't freed- from the Northern States of America and returning them to the Southern states for a fee. Still a very good piece of historical fiction and I'm sure to read the next in the series in the hope that we will find out more about Mercy and Bird than we did in this book. Oct 14, K. Trigger warnings: murder, kidnapping, slavery, racism, suicide, self harm, mentions of having been in a fire. It's a pretty heartbreaking story at times, dealing with the way that people of colour were treated in s New York.

It covers the white protagonist's realisation of just how bad things are, when people of colour can be kidnapped and Trigger warnings: murder, kidnapping, slavery, racism, suicide, self harm, mentions of having been in a fire. It covers the white protagonist's realisation of just how bad things are, when people of colour can be kidnapped and taken to the South just on suspicion of being escaped slaves, and his realisation that he's an abolitionist. But at its heart, it's a crime novel.

Timothy is a copper star in the newly founded New York Police Force, but he speaks flash, the language of the streets. He's caught between the two worlds, caught between wanting to help people and his job. The characters are great. The writing is great. The subject matter is heartbreaking and confronting.

But ultimately? It's one hell of a story with a wonderful amount of diversity, given that it's historical fiction. First of all thank you so much for the unexpected pleasure of an advanced copy of this novel through my door one day. A bookworms dream… When I started reading this terrific story , I had two thoughts — firstly I realised that it was a sequel to Gods of Gotham, a book I have had in my peripheral vision for a while but had yet to get around to — and secondly that nothing in the world was going to stop me reading this now, even though my pedantic side would usually have forced me to read Book One First of all thank you so much for the unexpected pleasure of an advanced copy of this novel through my door one day.

A bookworms dream… When I started reading this terrific story , I had two thoughts — firstly I realised that it was a sequel to Gods of Gotham, a book I have had in my peripheral vision for a while but had yet to get around to — and secondly that nothing in the world was going to stop me reading this now, even though my pedantic side would usually have forced me to read Book One in advance. Seven for a Secret is absolutely fine to read as a standalone book and there are no spoilers for book one but enough information to give you background.

So this instalment sees the return of Timothy and Valentine Wilde and another case that will find them investigating the dark heart of New York. I loved the flowing and old school prose in this book…shooting you straight into the heart of the story, with a terrific historic feel and a genuine sense of authenticity you are soon immersed into the ongoing events right along with Timothy.

Both of the brothers in fact… The mystery element is superbly done. I genuinely had no idea what was going on a lot of the time — Seven for a Secret never to be told is a perfect title. Lucy may not be revealing everything, and corruption abounds. Various supporting characters make up the whole and it is a page turner of the highest order. And I wait with my usual problem of chronic impatience to see what Ms Faye brings us next…. Dec 30, Sally rated it it was amazing.

I wish I could more eloquently put into words just how much I adored this novel. It truly came to life in my hands, and I could. Faye has a way with prose that is unbelievably engaging, witty, humorous, colorful, and at times, heart-breaking. I think she must have done an intense amount of research to bring to life the horrors of NYC in the late s, the fears of free African Americans as they fought for their already hard-earned freedom, the inhumanity of slave catchers, a I wish I could more eloquently put into words just how much I adored this novel.

I think she must have done an intense amount of research to bring to life the horrors of NYC in the late s, the fears of free African Americans as they fought for their already hard-earned freedom, the inhumanity of slave catchers, and the lawlessness that ran in abundance. Faye follows the life of Timothy Wilde, a young Copper Star in a newly formed police force.

Wilde becomes intertwined with a mysterious black family after a beautiful woman named Lucy begs him to help find her sister and son who have been captured by "slave hunters" who kidnap free or runaway slaves to sell them. Readers are taken through a wild ride, and I was happy to be there for every minute. I fell in love with a whole host of characters, despised a great deal of them, cried for some, and laughed honestly.

I would suggest reading "Gods of Gotham" prior to this novel. I did not, and there were a few plot lines I was unaware of while reading. However, I don't think it's necessary to read them in sequence if you happen to grab this book first. I look forward to reading the prequel as soon as I can get my hands on it! Jun 30, Donna rated it it was amazing Shelves: historical-fiction , loved-loved. What a fun book.

I loved this and the fact that it was historical fiction was an extra bonus. I was taken for a ride. I didn't have to think or question or quiet my pet peeves. It was so enjoyable He did a phenomenal job. I cannot wait to read the other 2 books in this series. The characters were fun, surprising, and oh so different. I loved that. Valentine and Timothy are brothers and they couldn't be more dif What a fun book.

Valentine and Timothy are brothers and they couldn't be more different, but they were tightly connected. I loved the dialog between them. Sometimes it had me laughing out loud and other times, I was saying, "Ahhhhhh. View all 5 comments. Sep 20, Jill rated it really liked it. This book is the second in the historical police detective series that began with The Gods of Gotham. She is African-American, though h This book is the second in the historical police detective series that began with The Gods of Gotham.

Seven for a Secret by Lyndsay Faye | Penguin Random House Canada

She is African-American, though hardly recognizable as such, and she explains that her son and her sister who was babysitting him have been taken by slave catchers. The capture of fugitive "slaves" was of course legal at this time in American history, but the more unscrupulous and greedy slave catchers did not make a distinction between a black who was free and one who had escaped from slavery. The author reports in her Afterword: Overwhelming evidence indicates that the practice of kidnapping free blacks for the purpose of selling them as alleged slaves was common, systematized, and almost entirely overlooked by courts and law enforcement.

There is simply not enough here. Rather, he is a sort of special "detective" although that term won't be Six months after the events of The Gods of Gotham , where-in we get to participate in the founding and very early days of the New York City Police Department NYPD , we catch up with young Timothy Wilde, a "Copper Star" in the new police force. Rather, he is a sort of special "detective" although that term won't be in use for another years and works on specific cases for the Chief of Police, George Washington Matsell.

Tim Wilde shows off his detective skills early on but the major case of the novel surrounds the very historically accurate issue of kidnapping free blacks in the North and selling them back to the South as escaped slaves. This novel is an outstanding second novel in what I surely hope will be a lengthy and successful series. The first in the series, The Gods of Gotham, was an excellent novel as well, but at times, it seemed as if the author was trying a little too hard to craft the perfect novel.

Her writing style was a bit more "literary" in that first book and, indeed, it was nominated for a whole host of prizes. But it seemed that the parts of the story were crafted together a bit too neatly. This time around, she seems much more relaxed with her characters; she's come to know them well and she lets them play on her stage.

And once again, her stage is phenomenal! All the color and vibrancy of the first book is here still, the sounds and smells of the population-exploding New York in the midth century, the language of the streets and criminals, and the corruption of the politics And the characters! Wow what a smorgasbord of characters. Many historical figures populate the story and take active roles in it, including members of the New York Committee of Vigilance, founded in for the purpose of preventing the kidnapping of men, women, and children to be sold into slavery.

The fictional characters could not be more multidimensional. I had noted in the first book how Tim's brother, Valentine Val was actually a bit more interesting than Tim and had wished that he had been afforded more stage time in that story. I got my wish this time around and his presence is delightful not to mention critical to the plot. But the author is careful not to let him upstage our main character, Tim. This, my friends, is the sign of a maturing author. And especially important for an historical novel The historical aspects are downright interesting; she writes them in such a way that made me want to look up further information about them.

Tell me that's not a good sign. A very enjoyable read. I'm ready for the next book in this series. Faye: please write faster! View all 3 comments. Mar 16, Ioana rated it really liked it Shelves: fiction , historical-fiction , mystery. The second installment in Lyndsay Faye's excellently detailed, historically accurate series about the founding of the police force in antebellum NYC is a story about the illegal slave trade and systematic kidnapping of free blacks to be sold to the South for profit.

Usua The second installment in Lyndsay Faye's excellently detailed, historically accurate series about the founding of the police force in antebellum NYC is a story about the illegal slave trade and systematic kidnapping of free blacks to be sold to the South for profit. Usually I find that historical mysteries stray from politics, religion, and other "controversial" topics in order to broaden their appeal, but often this is a disservice to the era of their setting, because these issues are exactly what "set the tone" of the period.

Fayes understands this, and does not shy away from depicting antebellum NYC in all its corrupt, political, zealous, squalid splendor. She does not proselytize, but rather brings the story into focus through believable characters that we come to love, despite their flaws, and perhaps even despite their perpetuation of a corrupt system. The rest of my review is basically the same as for 1, Gods of Gotham , so I will not reprint.

In short, the writing is beautiful, the characterizations are a bit overdone at times, the book is definitely "genre" fiction so most likely will not appeal to all readers, and so on. Aug 06, Wolf rated it liked it. It is clear that the author, Lyndsay Faye, has real talent.

The writing is sometimes excellent. Too often, however, it veers into being irritating, overly worked or overly arch. The idea behind the novel, the way the law was used in the mid-nineteenth century US to return runaway black slaves to the American south and how certain slave catchers were none to fussy about whether they collected freemen or runaways, is an excellent one. Her central po 'Seven For A Secret' is good enough to disappoint.

Her central policeman character, with strong abolitionist tendencies but trapped in a world where the kidnap of black men and women is legally sanctioned, a good one to explore the moral issues that this raises. But sadly, due to a number of issues, the book too often misses its mark.

Part of the problem is that we are about pages in to the novel before the main plot really begins to motor, with an unexpected dead body turning up, apparently incriminating our main characters. It is often a sign that an author realises that the start of a book is weak when there is a prologue. Here we get one that hints at the beginning of the main story before we go back to deal with a sub-plot about the theft of a painting which is largely divorced from the rest of the book and could have been usefully cut.

The lack of plot line to push us forward gives the reader time to puzzle over other aspects of the story and its telling which might be best left not thought about. Early on, for example, the policeman central character, and narrator of the story, meets an Englishman acting as a butler in a New York household.

He is 'doing his level best London accent' but the narrator immediately identifies him as coming from Bristol. That might work as an incidental detail for an American audience, but it seems hard for anyone familiar with the West Country inflected Bristol accent with its habit of sticking an 'L' on the end of vowels to see that mistake being made or, if the family hiring the man are genuinely so tone deaf to accents, why the butler felt the need to disguise the accent in the first place. Given that the idea of a received pronunciation 'posh' accent was largely a nineteenth century invention, would anyone even have cared?

Another irritation, for me at least, was too often the style of writing. Whilst sometimes very well told, it too often becomes affected. Lyndsay Faye is clearly influenced by the dry laconic hardboiled style of detective fiction created by masters such as Raymond Chandler and much aped since then. The narrator's descriptions are peppered with witty comments in this style. Very often, I wished he and Faye would give them a rest. Too often the writing and its grasp on character resembles something that we might encounter in creative writing workshops or American indie films but not real life, as I've encountered it.

At one stage, the narrator policeman tells a character, from whom he is taking a statement, "'I detest writing police reports,' I admitted It's as if - I can't explain it. As if when I officially document them, they have to stay with me. Or I give them permanence, or I know it doesn't make sense. I've met police officers and I've met victims of crime and none of them have ever suggested they've felt like that. It makes even less sense the more one thinks about it: this is the same man who, we are expected to believe, does write these events down and in staggering detail, as the very text we are currently reading he makes reference to the pages of the manuscript of the previous story.

It does have to be admitted that, once the main story gets going, the book improves greatly. The various elements of mid-nineteenth century New York, from machine politics to Irish refugees to corrupt policemen are artfully handled, neatly sketched, none outstaying their welcome and all serving a thoroughly entertaining story.

By that stage I had been close to giving up, however. The mystery itself and its resolution are a bit disappointing. An acute reader is likely to have guessed one more significant revelations before the central character. The explanation for the mysterious death, that powers the plot of the later two-thirds of the book, is best not considered too closely: alternative courses of action to the one chosen are too obvious.

That said, it would be wrong not to acknowledge that the later part of the book is entertaining. All in all, a generous three stars. Sep 10, Paul rated it it was amazing Shelves: crime-thrillers. Brilliant Historical Crime Fiction Seven For A Secret by Lyndsay Faye is one of the most atmospheric, historically rich crime thrillers that I have read in a long time, and it is certainly one of the best historical crime novels I have read.

In terms of imagery and the use of language it is absolutely spot on for the English usage in New York in the s, of both native New Yorkers. Fortunately for those easily confused there is a selected terminology that criminals used at the time, adapted fro Brilliant Historical Crime Fiction Seven For A Secret by Lyndsay Faye is one of the most atmospheric, historically rich crime thrillers that I have read in a long time, and it is certainly one of the best historical crime novels I have read. Fortunately for those easily confused there is a selected terminology that criminals used at the time, adapted from a book of the time, the writer of which appears in the novel.

New York is being filled by people from all over America, the world and nowhere in particular. Added to this is the daily influx of the Irish escaping the potato famine in Ireland and escaped slaves from the southern states as well as the free slaves of New York. Slave catchers who will stop at nothing to return slaves back to their southern owners and masters and will use all the violence necessary to protect their trade. While investigating the disappearance then murder of Lucy Adams brings Wilde in to every devious aspect of New York life in , while trying to find her sister and son hopefully alive.

This brings him to the attention of corrupt police officers, the Vigilance Committee and the famous Slave Underground Railway that operated in New York. All this lands him an appointment with the infamous Tammany Hall politics of New York and shows how high the corruption went. Against all the odds, crossing the politicians, corrupt police and the slave catchers Wilde manages to solve the case admittedly maybe not in one piece but solve the crime he does.

Lyndsay Faye has written a beautifully researched with attention to detail crime novel drawing on the history of New York. All I can keep saying about this book is that it is simply brilliant, buy it now and step back in time. Jun 27, Barb added it Shelves: vine , most-disappointing , gave-it-a-try-and-then-gave-up. I found 'Seven For a Secret' available through the Vine Program and thought it sounded like a great story.

I soon realized it was the second book in a new series, of course I wanted to read the series in order.


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I read 'The Gods of Gotham' immediately before starting 'Seven For a Secret' I thought that would be the best way to keep the characters vivid in I found 'Seven For a Secret' available through the Vine Program and thought it sounded like a great story. I read 'The Gods of Gotham' immediately before starting 'Seven For a Secret' I thought that would be the best way to keep the characters vivid in my memory. Unfortunately reading the two books in succession made the differences between them stark and glaring.

In 'The Gods of Gotham' Timothy Wilde is a clever young man who struggles with his feelings for his older brother, he's conflicted by equal parts admiration and resentment boarding on loathing. He's spent many years working in a pub and is skilled at discerning personal habits, geography and occupation from the way customers are clothed, groomed and speak. When he becomes a copper star, one of the first policemen in NYC, he puts his powers of observation and reasoning to use, solving crime and apprehending thieves. He's a wonderful character and a protagonist I was looking forward to following through a series of books.

I felt the same way about his brother, Valentine, who is a very different character, he struggles with his own inner demons but is all the more interesting because of them. In 'the Gods of Gotham' the friction between them was lively, clever and believable and it added to the depth of the story. The first difference I noticed between the two novels was Tim's personality and his relationship with Valentine. Tim isn't at all street savvy at the beginning of this book.

When we leave him at the end of 'Gotham' he's sharp, clever, quick. The Tim that greets us in 'Seven' seems like he may have suffered from a concussion or a brain injury. He's somewhat oblivious to the politics and inner workings of the city. He was fascinated by the pawn shops for instance. He also frequently says things that only an oaf would say, and is surprised by things that should have been known and understood, like the other copper stars being envious of him. His relationship with his brother is also less realistic and more like a comedy routine peppered with unlikely insults, ludicrous observations and inane dialogue.

At one point Tim tells Val to bugger off, then says the whole Democratic Party can bugger off, then asks why they are talking about the Party? It reminded me a little of Abbot and Costello, who are wonderful but between these characters this kind of silliness is out of place. This new Tim also has a flair for the melodramatic when expressing his feelings and describing the world he lives in. As well as a tendency to describe things in the superlative; the world being splintered to pieces, his being splintered into slivers of ash, his being pulled from the edge of mental ruin, moth holes dotting the heart and mind, hating himself for accidentally tearing out a tendril of someone's hair.

This wasn't the Tim I got to know and love in 'Gods'. Even with the many differences in the writing and characterizations I would have continued reading. The issue that was make or break if for me was that several pivotal points in the story didn't hold up to scrutiny. I don't want to give too much away but there was a choice that was made which defied logic and had serious consequences that could have been avoided with a small dose of common sense. Later a character takes care of the aftermath in a way that wasn't very believable and the way the story progresses from there feels very off track.

Another thing that I found distracting was the recapping of the story at various points when the story itself wasn't very complicated and not a whole lot had happened yet. Overall I was disappointed by this second installment in the series. I'm not sure if I will try this author again but I'm glad that I found and read 'The Gods of Gotham' which I really enjoyed and would recommend. View all 8 comments.

Oct 27, Albert rated it really liked it. Lyndsay Faye won me over with her novel The Gods of Gotham. A mystery crime thriller set in early New York prior to the Civil War. Seven for a Secret is the second novel in what I hope will be a long series of tales. He is on shift at the station when a disheveled and distraught beautiful young woman staggers in crying out that she Lyndsay Faye won me over with her novel The Gods of Gotham. He is on shift at the station when a disheveled and distraught beautiful young woman staggers in crying out that she has been robbed.

Most would say it was luck's, or Fate's. Or even God's. But I can't help but think of her voice that way now. The way it tugged a man, could wrench a steamer off course into cruel shoals. They'd gone pale as slate. With that Timothy is plunged into the hidden world of slave catching. Not only was kidnapping free black men, women and children in the North under the guise of re-capturing slaves legal, it was considered part of law enforcement. The accused slave would then have to prove themselves to be freemen or be taken back South to be sold. Lucy Adams is a beautiful young woman whose father was white and mother black.

She passes mostly as a white Northern woman but under closer scrutiny she cannot hide her heritage. Coming home she finds her home raided and her sister and son taken. She doesn't know where to turn and asks the newly formed NYPD to help. They cannot because no law has been broken. But young officer Timothy Wilde feels a moral obligation to help Lucy and throws himself headlong into a cesspool of lies and human trafficking. His fellow officers will turn on him as well as the political climate of the time. Still he forges on to find the stolen family only to find a much larger and crueler scheme unfold.

Surrounded by the players from Gods of Gotham, Tim battles for the moral sense of what is right and wrong. And finds himself on the wrong side of the law he is sworn to uphold. An extremely well written second novel featuring the young Copper Star Timothy Wilde. Feb 18, Ellen rated it really liked it. I seem to be in the minority among reviewers here, because I liked "Seven for a Secret" better than "Gods of Gotham. I think the near lack of the Mercy Underhill plotline helped things along for me. Timothy does tend to bumble around making an ass of himself, but he does it in as self-aware a way as possible.

I find that quality believable and sympathetic - I'm not sure how one is supposed to become complete I seem to be in the minority among reviewers here, because I liked "Seven for a Secret" better than "Gods of Gotham. I find that quality believable and sympathetic - I'm not sure how one is supposed to become completely sharp and streetwise if you lack a certain brashness and confidence.

I also really appreciated the fact that Timothy and the others get things wrong once in a while. I am rather glad to have this one back at the library, as I started mentally belting out Counting Crows every time I saw the cover. This was a pretty good sequel that delved into the practice of the time of taking escaped slaves, or freed slaves - and then pretending they weren't freed- from the Northern States of America and returning them to the Southern states for a fee. It is a period of American history I am unfamiliar with and so was quite interesting, and appaulling.

The story further develops Timothy and his brother Val, although the pace was certainly much slower than book one and not quite as enjoyable. Still a ver This was a pretty good sequel that delved into the practice of the time of taking escaped slaves, or freed slaves - and then pretending they weren't freed- from the Northern States of America and returning them to the Southern states for a fee. Still a very good piece of historical fiction and I'm sure to read the next in the series in the hope that we will find out more about Mercy and Bird than we did in this book.

Oct 14, K. Trigger warnings: murder, kidnapping, slavery, racism, suicide, self harm, mentions of having been in a fire. It's a pretty heartbreaking story at times, dealing with the way that people of colour were treated in s New York. It covers the white protagonist's realisation of just how bad things are, when people of colour can be kidnapped and Trigger warnings: murder, kidnapping, slavery, racism, suicide, self harm, mentions of having been in a fire.

It covers the white protagonist's realisation of just how bad things are, when people of colour can be kidnapped and taken to the South just on suspicion of being escaped slaves, and his realisation that he's an abolitionist. But at its heart, it's a crime novel. Timothy is a copper star in the newly founded New York Police Force, but he speaks flash, the language of the streets. He's caught between the two worlds, caught between wanting to help people and his job.

The characters are great. The writing is great. The subject matter is heartbreaking and confronting. But ultimately? It's one hell of a story with a wonderful amount of diversity, given that it's historical fiction. First of all thank you so much for the unexpected pleasure of an advanced copy of this novel through my door one day.

A bookworms dream… When I started reading this terrific story , I had two thoughts — firstly I realised that it was a sequel to Gods of Gotham, a book I have had in my peripheral vision for a while but had yet to get around to — and secondly that nothing in the world was going to stop me reading this now, even though my pedantic side would usually have forced me to read Book One First of all thank you so much for the unexpected pleasure of an advanced copy of this novel through my door one day.

A bookworms dream… When I started reading this terrific story , I had two thoughts — firstly I realised that it was a sequel to Gods of Gotham, a book I have had in my peripheral vision for a while but had yet to get around to — and secondly that nothing in the world was going to stop me reading this now, even though my pedantic side would usually have forced me to read Book One in advance. Seven for a Secret is absolutely fine to read as a standalone book and there are no spoilers for book one but enough information to give you background.

So this instalment sees the return of Timothy and Valentine Wilde and another case that will find them investigating the dark heart of New York.

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I loved the flowing and old school prose in this book…shooting you straight into the heart of the story, with a terrific historic feel and a genuine sense of authenticity you are soon immersed into the ongoing events right along with Timothy. Both of the brothers in fact… The mystery element is superbly done. I genuinely had no idea what was going on a lot of the time — Seven for a Secret never to be told is a perfect title. Lucy may not be revealing everything, and corruption abounds.

Various supporting characters make up the whole and it is a page turner of the highest order. And I wait with my usual problem of chronic impatience to see what Ms Faye brings us next…. Dec 30, Sally rated it it was amazing. I wish I could more eloquently put into words just how much I adored this novel.

It truly came to life in my hands, and I could. Faye has a way with prose that is unbelievably engaging, witty, humorous, colorful, and at times, heart-breaking. I think she must have done an intense amount of research to bring to life the horrors of NYC in the late s, the fears of free African Americans as they fought for their already hard-earned freedom, the inhumanity of slave catchers, a I wish I could more eloquently put into words just how much I adored this novel.

I think she must have done an intense amount of research to bring to life the horrors of NYC in the late s, the fears of free African Americans as they fought for their already hard-earned freedom, the inhumanity of slave catchers, and the lawlessness that ran in abundance. Faye follows the life of Timothy Wilde, a young Copper Star in a newly formed police force. Wilde becomes intertwined with a mysterious black family after a beautiful woman named Lucy begs him to help find her sister and son who have been captured by "slave hunters" who kidnap free or runaway slaves to sell them.

Readers are taken through a wild ride, and I was happy to be there for every minute. I fell in love with a whole host of characters, despised a great deal of them, cried for some, and laughed honestly. I would suggest reading "Gods of Gotham" prior to this novel. I did not, and there were a few plot lines I was unaware of while reading. However, I don't think it's necessary to read them in sequence if you happen to grab this book first.

I look forward to reading the prequel as soon as I can get my hands on it! Jun 30, Donna rated it it was amazing Shelves: historical-fiction , loved-loved. What a fun book. I loved this and the fact that it was historical fiction was an extra bonus. I was taken for a ride. I didn't have to think or question or quiet my pet peeves. It was so enjoyable He did a phenomenal job.

I cannot wait to read the other 2 books in this series. The characters were fun, surprising, and oh so different. I loved that. Valentine and Timothy are brothers and they couldn't be more dif What a fun book. Valentine and Timothy are brothers and they couldn't be more different, but they were tightly connected.

I loved the dialog between them. Sometimes it had me laughing out loud and other times, I was saying, "Ahhhhhh. View all 5 comments. Sep 20, Jill rated it really liked it. This book is the second in the historical police detective series that began with The Gods of Gotham. She is African-American, though h This book is the second in the historical police detective series that began with The Gods of Gotham.

She is African-American, though hardly recognizable as such, and she explains that her son and her sister who was babysitting him have been taken by slave catchers. The capture of fugitive "slaves" was of course legal at this time in American history, but the more unscrupulous and greedy slave catchers did not make a distinction between a black who was free and one who had escaped from slavery.

The author reports in her Afterword: Overwhelming evidence indicates that the practice of kidnapping free blacks for the purpose of selling them as alleged slaves was common, systematized, and almost entirely overlooked by courts and law enforcement. There is simply not enough here. Not enough work, enough food, enough walls with roofs topping them. He has an advantage in doing detective work, because people tend to open up to him. This attitude tends to put Tim repeatedly in danger himself.

Also, his brother Val plays an important role in both the party and the police, so Tim's behavior doesn't just hurt himself. As for Val, he is truly the star of the series, in my view. He is open-minded, interesting, brave, and has a lot more street smarts than his hapless idealistic brother. But we the readers know his worth, because it is largely because of Val that I want to keep following this series! Evaluation: This is an appealing historical crimes series with a social conscience, and with characters that grow dearer to the reader as the series progresses.

Jun 11, Marina rated it really liked it Shelves: 4-star , own. Seven for a Secret is great sequel to the Gods of Gotham, although I'm not sure if it's a better book-- some things were better, others not so much. I really like Timothy Wilde, he's not a perfect man, but he's good enough to care about the underdogs. He spends a little too much time pitying and being a touch too sentimental -- for a man of his time anyway.

I do love his relationship with Valentine. He is such a little brother; and their little spats, and fights, can't hide how much they care abo Seven for a Secret is great sequel to the Gods of Gotham, although I'm not sure if it's a better book-- some things were better, others not so much. He is such a little brother; and their little spats, and fights, can't hide how much they care about each other. The plot was certainly convoluted and tangled, there's so much historical facts at play though.

The stark racism of that era is so appalling, but I think Faye handles it well. There's also an interesting cast of characters and I was sad to see some of them go, and certainly spilled some tears over Julius. I don't much like to see Tim mooning over Mercy, for goodness sake man, move on. And I don't think it's fair of her to dangle him on a thread either. Let him go, woman. I hope he moves on with the certain someone, but considering the premise for the next book, I hope it doesn't turn into a triangle. I liked the resolution of this book much better than the fist.

Silkie Marsh is such a wonderfully despicable character, I kind of adore her. Either way, highly recommend this to fans of mystery and history alike. Sep 24, Kate Sherwood rated it liked it. Audiobook version - narrator isn't flashy, but toward the end of the book when a character appeared somewhere he had no reason to be, I knew who it was immediately, even before the text identified him, because of the voice the narrator used. Not a caricature, not a weird accent, just a slightly different voice used for that character.

Well done, I'd say! The story itself? I'm giving an extra star for Valentine, a rare example of an alpha-done-right.