Return to a twisted version of Jazz Age New York in this follow up to the critically acclaimed fantasy Westside, as relentless sleuth Gilda Carr’s pursuit of tiny mysteries drags her into a case that will rewrite everything she knows about her past.
Six months ago, the ruined Westside of Manhattan erupted into civil war, and private detective Gilda Carr nearly died to save her city. In 1922, winter has hit hard, and the desolate Lower West is frozen solid. Like the other lost souls who wander these overgrown streets, Gilda is weary, cold, and desperate for hope. She finds a mystery instead.
Hired by a family of eccentric street preachers to recover a lost saint’s finger, Gilda is tempted by their promise of “electric resurrection,” when the Westside’s countless dead will return to life. To a detective this cynical, faith is a weakness, and she is fighting the urge to believe in miracles when her long dead mother, Mary Fall, walks through the parlor door.
Stricken with amnesia, Mary remembers nothing of her daughter or her death, but that doesn’t stop her from being as infuriatingly pushy as Gilda herself. As her mother threatens to drive her insane, Gilda keeps their relationship a secret so that they can work together to investigate what brought Mary back to life. The search will force Gilda to reckon with the nature of death, family, and the uncomfortable fact that her mother was not just a saint, but a human being.
Westside Saints follows Detective Gilda Carr, solver of tiny mysteries that often turn into big ones, as she investigates a case that involves her own past. It really dark and atmospheric, and oftentimes felt really chaotic.
I am sorry to say I struggled with this book for several reasons. First, it was so dark to the extent that there was no light at the end of the tunnel. I do not mind a dark, broody book just so long as there is a strand of hope written in the story somewhere. I did not really feel that when reading Westside Saints: everything felt extremely hopeless for everyone involved. Even at the end of the book when the mysteries are solved and everything falls into place, it just did not feel satisfactory. I think that is because along the way I never learned to care about the characters. For me, this usually comes when a character is in a tough situation, and they have something strong to fight for. I never experienced that situation in this book. The characters, their stories, trials, and tribulations never really connected with me; thus, when the end came it just kind of fell flat.
The story also felt really chaotic and random at times. It also seemed like certain plot points, events, and even characters seemed almost like they were pulled out of a hat. By that, I mean there was too much chaos and randomness without meaning, in my opinion. I love chaos and randomness in a book, so long as it is done with some sort of underlying thread. I never felt that way reading Westside Saints, and that really took away from the story.
Sorry, book friends, you are not going to get a recommendation from me this time. Just because I did not enjoy it, though, does not mean you will not. If the synopsis sounds intriguing to you, check it out. You might find you connect to the story more than I did.