Seven for a Secret by Lyndsay Faye
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Historical mystery set in 1840's New York. We open with straight-as-a-dye Timothy Wilde, newly minted "copper star" (detective) - newly minted because the police force is newly minted - doing what he does best, investigating. There are a few flashbacks to the previous book (Gods of Gotham) as well as to the events of a few days earlier, but essentially we're dealing with the kidnapping of free blacks by slave traders. At this point in our history, if you were a runaway slave it was illegal not to return you to your owner; many free blacks feared (and rightly so) being kidnapped and brought to the South even though they were, in fact, free. Det. Wilde helps rescue two such free black from "blackbirders", but the next day discovers that they're again gone and the woman who alerted him to their disappearance has been murdered.
This should have been a slam dunk for me! I think that the language was a problem - not that there was a lot of "flash" (slang) language, but that it felt forced, almost as though the author had to put it in to prove that she'd done the research, that this was an authentic recreation of the times. It didn't help that all too often the slang was translated (the digression on "o.k.", for example). The mystery itself was pretty good, with one twist that I pretty much guessed earlier on.
ARC provided by publisher.