Wednesday, June 5, 2019

Review: Westside by W.M. Akers

Kerry Hammond is here today to review a debut author's first novel.

Westside by W. M. Akers was released on May 7, in Hardcover, by Harper Voyager. It is the author’s first novel and I was intrigued by the description of how it mixed fantasy with mystery. I don’t normally read fantasy or sci-fi, but occasionally like to step out of my comfort zone and try something new. This was definitely different and I really found myself enjoying the story.

The book is set in Manhattan in the year 1921, but it’s not the 1921 of history books. It’s a dystopian version of the past, where Manhattan is split between the Westside and the Eastside; between affluence and corruption; and maybe even good versus evil. The Westside is full of corruption, bootleg liquor and turf wars. It’s a dangerous place where people and things go missing. It’s where Gilda Carr lives.

The Westside is all Gilda has ever known. She lost both her parents, but it’s her father’s disappearance that has most recently haunted her. A policeman turned private investigator, he was obsessed with figuring out what evil was responsible for the vanishing population, totaling in the hundreds each year. Gilda solves mysteries, but unlike her father, she focuses on tiny mysteries. Her most recent case is finding a missing glove for Mrs. Copeland, but her simple search for the glove leads Gilda to something far bigger than she imagined.

Akers has quite an imagination and a wry sense of storytelling. I fell for Gilda immediately and got completely wrapped up in the narrative. It really is a mystery of sorts, but with a twist ending you won’t expect. I thoroughly enjoyed the book and I can see Gilda appearing in another installment. I’m glad I stepped out of my comfort zone to try it.

This book was provided to Mystery Playground by the publisher. The review was fair and completely independent.

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