The Gods of Gotham (Timothy Wilde Mysteries #1) - Lyndsay Faye Although not the Batman novel I momentarily hoped it might be when we first received this into stock(!) this is an absolutely brilliant historical mystery novel that I fell utterly in love with.

Set during the creation of New York's police force in the mid nineteenth century, this is the first in a series of mysteries centred around Timothy Wilde, a reluctant new recruit with nothing left to lose (or so he thinks). He's a fantastic character with great depth; flawed yet sympathetic, clever but without all the answers. The supporting characters, from his drug-addled, political older brother to the woman Timothy loves, the reverend's daughter with secrets of her own, are all beautifully realised and fully formed, creating a rich and diverse city to lose yourself in.

And it is very easy to lose yourself in this novel; Faye's writing is glorious, complex and evocative while creating a plausibly contemporary voice. She's done her research, but she doesn't beat you over the head with it, instead weaving period detail and information seamlessly into the narrative. New York in the nineteenth century - and the people who inhabit it - are brought magnificently to life, while the plot itself often had me grinding my teeth when my lunch hour came to an end just at a particularly exciting part!

Faye takes a deeply disturbing subject as her first mystery, but it is dealt with sensitively and without seeming to glorify or revel in the tragic deaths of young children. She doesn't shy away from the horror, but also doesn't over-indulge the detail; something I've found in a lot of other historical crime novels that seems unnecessary in some cases and downright disturbing in others. A good balance is struck here, so I have no caveats about recommending this novel, something I sometimes struggle with when it comes to other crime novels.

I am on tenterhooks waiting for the second (and third!) novels in this series; absolutely everything I wanted from a historical crime book and more.