Review: The Fatal Flame (Timothy Wilde Mysteries #3) by Lyndsay Faye

Wow, completely different than what I was expecting! This book is a very uniquely written mystery and I loved it.

I have never read anything by Faye before, but what a treat it was! Her writing style is so different and raw.

It’s almost had a film noir feel to it….gritty, dark, and real but at the same time oddly addicting.

In New York City, an arsonist threatens Alderman Robert Symmes, a corrupt and powerful leader high in the Tammany Hall gang ranks.

Copper Star detective, Timothy Wilde is investigating the arson situation when the love of his life, Mercy Underhill, suddenly shows up on his door step and takes in an orphan girl who is starving on the streets. But the orphan girl doesn’t quite have a grasp of reality.

It soon becomes clear that this girl holds the key to unraveling the mysterious arson attacks but her cryptic descriptions are anything but helpful.

While this is part of a series, I don’t think it’s necessary to read the others first. It actually reads very well and could be read as a stand alone in my opinion, the only thing I would say is some of the language and terminology was unusual for me (example moll=woman) and at times it was hard to track, which I think would have been ironed out for readers with the first book in the series The Gods of Gotham.

Faye constructed characters that were easy to fall in love with. Wilde was obviously a favorite of mine and I was eager to read what happened next and how he was going to sort things out. But where Faye excels is in the plot.

The plot was fast pace and I was constantly thinking….wait what? did that just happen? OMG!… moved quickly and left me wanting more and more.

Not to mention the way that she describes the historic period is unbelievable. I really felt like I was there in the city during this time period. The reader will be treated to rich historic details in this novel. She really incorporates larger historic issues such as race and culture in this book which was surprising and completely unexpected. It’s a wonderful blend that I hadn’t anticipated enjoying.

The ending was perfect and the plot twists were enough to keep me interested until the final review.

So why a 4 star rating and not a 5 you ask? Well I was a little lost at first. It took me a bit to adjust to the language and get a feel for the writing style. I didn’t feel lost in the series or story as a whole as I mentioned before it could be a stand alone, but it admittedly took me a couple of chapters to sort out the language.

The slang made reading slower for me that I would have liked. Faye did provide a reference index at the beginning of the book but it was difficult for me to flip back because I was reading on my iPad. So I don’t feel like I got the full impact of this ‘flash talk’ slang. I do believe the concept added to the novel’s authenticity but at the same time was limiting for readers that aren’t familiar with it or are able to quickly flip to the reference index.

Overall, this is a very different kind of historic thriller and mystery. It’s a very smart, well constructed novel and I really really enjoyed it. I would definitely continue the series, or better yet go back and start with the first book so I could have the full experience of Faye’s world.

Challenge/Book Summary:

Book: The Fatal Flame (Timothy Wilde Mysteries #3) by Lyndsay Faye

  • Kindle Edition, 480 pages
    Published May 12th 2015 by Putnam Adult
  • Review copy provided by: Publisher in exchange for an honest review

This book counts toward: NA

  • Hosted by: NA
  • Books for Challenge Completed: NA

Recommendation: 4 out of 5

Genre: Historic thriller, historic fiction, detective novel, mystery

Memorable lines/quotes: 

2 thoughts on “Review: The Fatal Flame (Timothy Wilde Mysteries #3) by Lyndsay Faye

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