A Thriller and a Mystery: The Distance and The Gods of Gotham

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20262597 The Distance  is about a London socialite named Charlotte Alton, or more appropriately, it’s about her alter ego named, Karla. Karla is a specialist in making people disappear. She can wipe your identity and erase you from existence. One of her clients is a man named Simon Johanssen. He wants to gain access to this ultra-secure, highly experimental prison system so that he can assassinate an inmate. There is already trouble with this scheme given the identity and personal history of Simon, and with his former employer and the people that run this prison facility called the Program. Exactly who really is behind this request to assassinate one of the prisoners in the Program? Is Karla safe? Is Simon?

The Distance had a very strong start. It was giving me that much needed jolt in my reading that I was looking for. It was an entirely different read from what I was habitually picking up lately, so I welcomed this change and I was looking very forward to settling into this one. It was obvious this was going to be a complex cat-and-mouse game with all kinds of promised or presumed twists and turns. However, I found that the further along it went, it became too convoluted, it introduced too many characters and it tried to weave this overly complex story. This increasingly and un-necessarily  overly-complex story also came with a lot of graphic torture. It didn’t need to be that convoluted or try that hard to confuse the reader – I was enjoying it well enough and it did come with quite a few edge-of-your-seat moments. Unfortunately though, it continued to circle around and around in this never-ending circular motion and just couldn’t propel itself forward with any new or exciting information. By this point it just became too long to remain enthusiastic to want to continue with the game.

Thank you very much to Anchor Books (a division of Penguin Random House) for sending The Distance for our reading enjoyment.



The Gods of Gotham is the first in this “Timothy Wilde” series (the next two are, Seven for a Secret and The Fatal Flame). This one and Seven for a Secret are both narrated by Steven Boyer and I’ll get to his narration a little bit later here.

For right now, I’ll say that The Gods of Gotham had some really great storytelling! Wonderfully descriptive and a nicely paced mystery are included along with Fayes’ excellent character descriptions and storytelling. All of this ensures I will eagerly be moving on to the next in the series. 

Timothy Wilde is a newly minted member of the “Copper Stars” – the first formation of a police force in New York City in 1845. New York City in 1845 is gritty, grimy and rife with angst and anger about the unwelcomed Irish, pouring in to the city due to the potato famine occurring back in Ireland. Timothy has become a reluctant Copper Star, and has been badly burned and permanently scarred from a great fire that occurred in one part of the city.

The very first day on the job, Timothy witnesses a terrible death of an infant and then is struck head-on by a little girl running and is covered in gore and blood. From this moment on, Timothy must set aside his discontent with the job and get to the bottom of this particularly harrowing case: Someone has been killing children, mainly Irish children and all with the unfortunate situation of being very young prostitutes.

 The Gods of Gotham reminded me just a little bit like The House of Silk: A Sherlock Holmes Novel and both were wonderful examples of great storytelling combined with a fine historical mystery. As well, Steven Boyer’s narration for The Gods of Gotham was quite fine. It wasn’t as exciting or dramatic as Sir Derek Jacobi’s in The House of Silk, but it was capable and endeared itself well to the character of Timothy. I just may reach for the audio again for Seven for a Secret since I became quite accustomed to Boyer’s voice for Timothy. (I do own the hardcopy of this book though, but the audio is decent enough to stay with it when I read the next in the series.)

 Literary Hoarders Penny rev