Gilda Carr #3
By W.M. Akers
Author’s website: wmakers(.)net
Brought to you by OBS reviewer Omar
The Alienist meets the magical mystery of The Ninth House as W. M. Akers returns with the third book in his critically acclaimed Jazz Age fantasy series set in the dangerous westside of New York City, following private detective Gilda Carr’s hunt for the truth–one tiny mystery at a time.
After the events of Westside Saints, Gilda Carr and her lover Cherube have decided to take a well-deserved vacation to the riverside, live in a boat, and even get a pet seagull. After some months, the residents of the Eastside also decided to try and modernize the riverside of the Westside and fill it out with new lights, booze, and casinos. Among the Eastsiders that are staying at the riverside, Gilda and Cherub have become somewhat friends with a group of artists, a writer, a musician, and a play writer, among others.
After some weeks of constant late-night drinking, Gilda notices that her pet seagull has disappeared and the itch to go on a tiny mystery has started to come back, but she promised Cherub that she wouldn’t be taking cases for a while. One night, with a headache Gilda decides to stay in and sleep. Her writer friend Martina??? Comes to see her and gives her a new drink that is going around the riverside.
Gilda passes out and wakes up to the sound of something hitting the boat. When she manages to get up there, she finds a massacre of people. She cannot find Cherube anywhere but recognizes the remains of her friends and a warning on the sail implying that Cherub is also dead.
As Gilda tries to find help, she is instead accused of murder and the police is after her. Now, Gilda must escape from the police, follow the trail of dead birds, find out who killed Cherub, and get revenge.
I liked Westside Lights, it was great to get back into the world of parallel New York and see Gilda Carr solve tiny mysteries that keep getting bigger. While I like the series, when I read the summary of the book and what might happen to Gilda and Cherub I was a little hesitant to start reading, but my curiosity for a good mystery got the better of me and I was not let down.
It was nice to read more about Gilda and Cherub’s relationship and what they did after the events of the previous books. Even though Westside is a strange place and has a paranormal power, it’s still the 1920’s and it was not seen well for a man of color and a white woman to be dating, we get a bit of this fear in this book and their reluctance of both Gild and Cherub to leave the Westside or New York for a more normal place to leave.
Technology and the strange powers of the Westside are making great advances and the new light that adorns the riverside seems to have made the place look safer. But like many stories, it’s easy to not trust anything free and shiny and Gild makes that mistake. I had the question of what those lights were since they were first mentioned, and it was great finding out about them.
Many characters from the previous books make appearances in this new story, but we also get to meet new ones with their own secrets. Because of so many people to keep track of and their relationships with Gilda, it is best to give a quick re-read to the previous books just to be all caught up.
While the main mystery of the book is who killed Cherub and Gilda’s other friends, other tiny mysteries arise. It was very interesting to see how they are all interconnected, from a lost pencil to a missing seagull or the meaning behind a middle name initial. If you are a fan of W.M. Akers works, or the Gild Carr series, then I recommend Westside Lights. In this story, we follow Gilda as she has tried to change for the man she loves, but the itch for tiny mysteries is too much and sometimes you need to follow your gut when it tells you to find your pet seagull.