By W.M. Akers
Author’s Website: www.wmakers.net
Brought to you by OBS reviewer Omar
A young detective who specializes in “tiny mysteries” finds herself at the center of a massive conspiracy in this beguiling historical fantasy set on Manhattan’s Westside—a peculiar and dangerous neighborhood home to strange magic and stranger residents—that blends the vivid atmosphere of Caleb Carr with the imaginative power of Neil Gaiman.
New York is dying, and the one woman who can save it has smaller things on her mind.
It’s 1921, and a thirteen-mile fence running the length of Broadway splits the island of Manhattan, separating the prosperous Eastside from the Westside—an overgrown wasteland whose hostility to modern technology gives it the flavor of old New York. Thousands have disappeared here, and the respectable have fled, leaving behind the killers, thieves, poets, painters, drunks, and those too poor or desperate to leave.
It is a hellish landscape, and Gilda Carr proudly calls it home…
Westside starts its story with Gilda Carr running from a clothing salesman who she has just stolen a white glove from. Gilda stole the glove because she has taken the case of finding the missing glove for Edith Copeland. Gilda is a detective that only solves tiny mysteries, the mysteries that won’t let you sleep or that song tune stuck in your head, but you don’t know its name. She lives in the Westside of Manhattan, which is plagued by mysterious and magical events, such as the disappearance of thousands of people and the overgrow of nature. In hopes of containing the disappearance, the city put up a fence in the middle of Broadway. Edith, who lives on the Eastside of Manhattan, asked Gilda to find her glove, as it is the only thing she believes would keep her marriage together. In hopes of finding a new pair of gloves, she starts to follow Galen Copeland, who has a sailor business and is a drunk. Instead of finding where he bought the gloves, Gilda witnesses the murder of Galen by gunshot, which shouldn’t work on the Westside.
“I stole a glove. It dangled off a table in a decrepit leather shop in Thieves’ market on the Eastside of Manhattan in sweltering late September 1921, and it was in my bag before I even knew it had been in my hand.”
The murder is a bigger mystery than what Gilda wants to take on, but she had decided to bring closer to the Copeland family and the need to solve Galen’s murder. What started as a missing glove, has turned into a gang rivalry, illegal alcohol contraband, and mysterious shadows that take people at night.
Gilda has started to notice that she doesn’t know who to trust and everyone has a reason to have Galen dead.
Westside was an interesting and entertaining story that got me caught up since the beginning. The summary was enough to intrigue me, and the first chapter sets the course to know what is happening in this world.
Gilda Carr was a fun character to read. I liked her idea of tiny mysteries and how it could get into your head. Gilda’s determination made the story even more fascinating and her need to solve mysteries has a trade that I liked about her.
The strange things that happened in the westside and how they came forth was one of the reasons this book caught my attention. I wasn’t sure what type of story it was going to be, but the idea of a Manhattan of the 1920s with magic and the prohibition era made the world more interesting. I’m not sure what plans the author has for the series, but I would like to read more about why things happen in the Westside.
I liked Gilda and the other characters in this story. The different gangs and their members gave the story a good twist that made it harder to figure out who killed Galen and why they did it. At the same time, Gilda’s dad, Virgil, was a main character and his previous death still played a greater role in hunting Gilda’s thoughts and actions.
If you are a fan of mystery stories, then I recommend Westside by W.M. Akers. In this story, mysterious shadows hunt the night and a murder stirs a gang war that might destroy the home of the tiny mystery detective, Gilda Carr.