Title: In the Shadow of Gotham
Author: Stefanie Pintoff
Release Date: April 29, 2009
Publisher: Minotaur Books
Genre: Mystery, Historical Fiction
Rating: 4.5 out of 5
It’s 1904 in New York, and Detective Simon Ziele has left the big city in order to join a small town police department. However, his first case takes him right back to his New York City roots, as the gruesome murder of a brilliant but mysterious woman brings up many more questions than answers. Ziele follows the trail, from eccentric professors to psychotic madmen, trying to discover who would murder an innocent girl.
In the Shadow of Gotham is Stefanie Pintoff’s brilliant debut novel, though it’s hard to believe she isn’t a seasoned mystery novel writer from the quality of this book. Detective Ziele is an intricate, wonderfully developed character. He has issues of his own from his past, which affect the way he handles things in the present. Pintoff created a sympathetic character in Ziele and I was sad to say goodbye to him when the novel ended.
The mystery in In the Shadow of Gotham is complicated in the best way. Pintoff doesn’t make the answers easy – it’s impossible to guess which twists and turns the author will take the reader on next. The reader feels Ziele’s doubt and uncertainty as he tries to understand what’s going on around him. He follows leads, even as they seem to be taking him farther and farther from the case at hand, but he has a great sense for what matters and what doesn’t.
The historical details in this novel are impressive and really create a wonderful atmosphere for the reader. The small town setting at the beginning of the book is nice, but the depiction of New York City in the early 1900’s really is worth reading. Pintoff doesn’t take any shortcuts in this book – it’s clear she did her research and tried to make it historically accurate.
I can’t say enough good things about In the Shadow of Gotham, so I will just say to go and read it! It’s a well-written, completely enjoyable work of crime fiction that will have you reading late into the night. I can only hope that Pintoff will choose to make this book the first in a series because I already can’t wait for her next novel!