Sunday, May 3, 2020
Books: "Westside Saints" By W.M. Akers
By W.M. Akers
Harper Voyager; hardcover, $27.99; available Tuesday, May 5
Last year, W.M. Akers introduced a different kind of New York City in Westside. Set in 1921, the city dying and a thirteen-mile fence running the length of Broadway that splits Manhattan into the prosperous East Side and the Westside, which is an overgrown wasteland and, with an aversion to modern technology, a home to the gritty underbelly of the city.
Westside Saints is a sequel of sorts, which brings a new adventure featuring the tireless sleuth Gilda Carr. Six months prior to where the story picks up, the ruined Westside erupted into civil war, and Carr, a private detective, nearly died to save her city.
In 1922, winter has hit hard, leaving the desolate Lower West frozen solid. Like the other souls who traverse these overgrown streets, Gilda is weary, cold, and desperate for hope.
Gilda also finds a mystery, as she is hired by a family of eccentric preachers to find a lost saint's finger. She is disgusted by their promise to bring the Westside's dead back to life until her long-deceased mother, Mary Fall, walks through her parlor door.
After this transcendant moment happened, Gilda agrees to help her find out why she is here, embarking on a case that will force her to reckon with the nature of death, family, and the uncomfortable realization that her mother was not just a saint, but a human being.