Seven for a Secret by Lyndsay Faye
(Timothy Wilde Mysteries #2)
464 Pages Adult Fiction
September 17,2013 – Amy Einhorn Books
Source: Penguin First Reads
I received a copy of this digital galley, free, in exchange for my honest opinion.
From Goodreads: Six months after the formation of the NYPD, its most reluctant and talented officer, Timothy Wilde, thinks himself well versed in his city’s dark practices—until he learns of the gruesome underworld of lies and corruption ruled by the “blackbirders,” who snatch free Northerners of color from their homes, masquerade them as slaves, and sell them South to toil as plantation property. The abolitionist Timothy is horrified by these traders in human flesh. But in 1846, slave catching isn’t just legal—it’s law enforcement. When the beautiful and terrified Lucy Adams staggers into Timothy’s office to report a robbery and is asked what was stolen, her reply is, “My family.” Their search for her mixed-race sister and son will plunge Timothy and his feral brother, Valentine, into a world where police are complicit and politics savage, and corpses appear in the most shocking of places. Timothy finds himself caught between power and principles, desperate to protect his only brother and to unravel the puzzle before all he cares for is lost.
I didn’t know what to expect when I first started reading, and I wasn’t aware that it was the second one. So I have to first say that while there were some things that would have been clear had I read the first book, I wasn’t completely lost. I do think that this could be read as a standalone.
This started out as a slow start, and honestly if I didn’t have this for review I may have stopped and marked it as a DNF and tried it later. But I am glad that I finished it. As far as the mystery itself, I would say that there were moments that it seemed simple and I thought that I had it all figured out. In reality, I was right about who did it, but the mystery was a complex one. It was not just about who did it, but also about why. Slavery is never a pretty topic to talk about, and I am not sure if it is something that can ever really be justified. But it is a reality that existed for everyone, in some form –indirectly or directly. I am grateful that slavery was only a catalyst for this story and not the focus.
The time period came alive for me with Seven for a Secret. It also gave a pretty good picture of what the beginning of a police force would look like, the political ties and the corruption that comes with it. The characters were a mixture of both three dimensional and fleshed out and flat and only there in name. Timothy and Val’s relationship is both endearing and tumultuous. Val is the outgoing brother that everyone loves and has quite a few risky behaviors. Timothy is the tamer of the two, who blindly pursues justice regardless of the dark alleys it may take him. Madam Marsh is, well, a breed all her own. I want to figure out her inner workings just as Timothy does, but realize that it’s much darker than I would expect. In a word, she’s twisted.
In the end, this was an engaging story. It gave a great image of the time frame, one that is crisper than any that would come from history books. I enjoyed it and glad for the opportunity to review this title. This is one that I will recommend, and Faye is an author that I will read again.
4 stars ****