Ghosts of Gotham

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 23 Apr 2019

Member Reviews

Highly entertaining urban fantasy that uses genre tropes -- including some from OTHER genres -- in a really fun way (the reporter, the bibliomystery, the rich and eccentric client...). This version of magical New York is a blast. Very creative. The characters get into all sorts of trouble and meet all sorts of supernatural beings along the way.

My only problem was with the eye-rollingly predictable romance. Just because there's a male lead being more or less introduced to the magic system by a really cool female character does not mean said female character needs to be a MPDG or that true love should ensue. 

I hope Schaefer writes more in this world. I will certainly read it!
Was this review helpful?
Thankyou to NetGalley,  47North and the author,  Craig Schaefer,  for the opportunity to read a digital copy of Ghosts Of Gotham in exchange for an honest and unbiased opinion. 
I enjoyed reading this book.  I was drawn to it firstly by the amazing cover art. It really draws the eye. 
The storyline was well thought out and written with intriguing characters.  I was hooked.  3.5 stars.
Well worth a read.
Was this review helpful?
Enjoyed this book. Kept me interested all the way through. Would recommend to a fellow reader.  Love the cover.
Was this review helpful?
"I am thinking," the voice in the chaos said to Lionel, "of writing a new tragedy. You're going to play the hero."

I received an advanced reading copy of Ghosts of Gotham in exchange for an honest review. Thank you to Craig Schaefer and 47North for the opportunity. 

Lionel Page is an investigative journalist who often goes deep undercover to uncover charlatan healers, psychics, and magicians. After exposing Reverend Wright as a fraud to his many admirers Lionel is approached by an apprentice journalist. This 'cub' is asking questions about Lionel's buried past, prying into areas that he doesn't feel comfortable discussing, and the young writer has a newspaper highlighting what happened to Lionel when he was 5-years-old. Lionel worked tirelessly to become one of the best reporters for Channel 7 news, is almost a celebrity after releasing a new book relating to his investigative escapades but thinks that his past being unearthed will ruin his career. That very day Lionel meets a mysterious lady called Regina Dunkle who has a proposition for him. Regina wants a rare first draft of an Edgar Allen Poe tale that is rumoured to be in New York. If Lionel helps her obtain this rarity then she offers to make his past disappear. He accepts and this is where the narrative really begins.   

Schaefer is a hybrid author with works such as Harmony Black, Daniel Faust, The Wisdom's Grave and Revanche Cycle. He was a #SPFBO semi-finalist in 2018 and a finalist in 2019 and he is a favourite of Mihir's from Fantasy Book Critic who is a reviewer I really trust. Previously, I had only read Winter's Reach by Schaefer but after reading Ghosts of Gotham I will probably devour his back catalogue as fast as possible. 

Ghosts of Gotham features elements of various genres such as urban fantasy reminiscent of Stephen King's The Drawing of the Three, gothic horror tales, thrillers and a tinge of mystery to boot. It also contains a plethora of details and intricacies regarding Greek myth which reminded me of Dyrk Ashton's Paternus trilogy. The first twenty percent seems like a typical thriller as Lionel goes from Chicago to New York and does a bit of sleuthing to find out more about the Poe draft. Who owns it, when it is going on sale, about a secret cult, details about an employee of the Russian mafia and information about a Wall Street broker who loves drugs and girls slightly too young for his age. Throughout the narrative, it's revealed that New York has a hidden darker side that features magic, ghosts, ghouls, grotesque murders, goddesses, machinery that harvests souls and a mysterious gentleman with blue eyes who seems familiar to Lionel yet he has no idea why.

We mainly follow Lionel's third-person perspective but a few chapters are from Maddie's viewpoint. She is an actress who keeps crossing paths with Lionel with such regularity that surely it must be planned or fate? She is an intriguing member of the ensemble who also has a past that she is trying to escape from. Other characters include the slimy Wall Street broker Wade Dawson, Lionel's ex-girlfriend and current Boss Bianca and Dergwyn who is a ghoul princess and they are all crafted expertly. 

Each chapter takes approximately ten minutes to read, It's hi-octane, gripping fiction that had my eyes glued to my kindle until I'd finished. I raced through this amalgamation of genres in two days and totally enjoyed the ride. The build-up to the culmination is composed well and includes a decent amount of exciting reveals and plot twists. The finale is extremely satisfying and the novel is completely self-contained. That being said, how it concludes I could imagine Schaefer returning to this version of New York and these characters in the future should he see fit. An incredibly exciting urban fantasy, thriller and mystery concoction that comes highly recommended for fans of all those genres.
Was this review helpful?
What a pleasant surprise. Ghosts of Gotham comes barreling at you like a locomotive and doesn't let up with the action, adventure and twists until the very end. What starts as a simple investigation into a rare Edgar Allen Poe manuscript quickly spirals into a violent, supernatural, mystical adventure through NYC (complete with monster alligators in the sewer). It reminded me of Simon R Green's Nightside series with a hard-boiled investigator teaming up with a fierce, mysterious woman taking on all sorts of fantastical challenges in a dark and mythic sub-world. I did a little digging and am excited to see Craig Schaefer is working on a sequel. I will definitely be looking to read more from this author.
Was this review helpful?
Lionel Page is an investigative reporter, one who has dedicated his career to outing frauds, charlatans and hucksters. He’s successful enough to have made something of a name for himself, so it’s not really a surprise when someone offers him a private gig to dig up a newly discovered first draft of an Edgar Allan Poe short story. The offer does sound odd though, but when the woman promises to put the kibosh on an investigation into Lionel’s chequered past by a young journalist, he feels obliged to accept. Lionel is sent to New York, a city he’s never been to before, but his eyes are opened by a lot more than just The City that Never Sleeps.
For those of you who like urban fantasy with a mystery noir bent, this is definitely one for you. If you aren’t but thought you’d like to jump in, then you’ll be off to a good start. The story rattles along at a rapid pace, barely giving you (or Lionel) a chance to catch your breath. Lionel’s an engaging main character. He’s no warrior or hero, but he’s brave and somehow muddles through despite, by his own admission, being in way over his head. Maddie, a friend he meets along the way, often saves his bacon, and provides to be just as interesting a character as the lead. 
This is urban fantasy, so it’s packed with witches, cabals, ghouls and other beings of the occult variety. Lionel is constantly at war with himself over his own lack of belief in gods and magic, and the truth that seems to be unfolding before his eyes. While Maddie provides the magic (and a surprising amount of other skills), Lionel takes to his changing world as any other reporter would, using his own set of skills to solve various puzzles, and holding his own as they move through the plot. 
The book is very well written, and as I mentioned earlier, has an exciting pace, the plot being peeled away a little piece at a time as the big reveal comes, Of course, there are plenty of other “Wow” moments along the way, just to keep us interested. The magic seems...real isn’t the right word, maybe “doable”...and there’s often an easier answer to a problem than throwing spells at it. The bad guy is interesting. He’s a killer (as are half the characters in the story), but he’s not some roving psychopath either, and at times you almost like him as he verbally spars with Lionel. 
All told, a very fun read. Enjoyed it a lot and I’d recommend it to readers of urban and other occult fantasy. Or, well, anybody really. Definitely worth 4¼ stars.
Was this review helpful?
I was first drawn to this book based on the description alone, because I'd never heard of the author, Craig Schaefer. So imagine my surprise when I checked out the Also By page and found that he's written two pages worth of books--like 20+ books! And many of the reviews on Goodreads were rather squeally, by people who were obviously BIG FANS of his other series. 

Lionel Page is a reporter who lives to debunk mysteries. Psychics. Faith healers. Anyone who does something "supernatural" is fair game. One day he's hired by a mysterious old woman to verify the authenticity of a lost Edgar Allan Poe manuscript. So it's off to New York for Lionel. 

The novel takes off from there, and becomes a mash-up of urban fantasy, horror, mythology, secret societies, and mystery. And romance, I suppose, but seriously...it's hilariously bad here. He meets a woman who's been sent on the same mission by the same lady, and the next thing you know, he's "I'D DIE FOR YOU!!!" in love. It doesn't ring true at all, and I docked it one star for the absurdity. 

But the rest is pretty darn good--I liked the characters, the surprises were fun, and I haven't read a good urban fantasy in a while. I feel weird "only" giving this three stars, but that's a solid rating! And I liked it enough that I'll likely continue with what appears to be a new series, and I'll check out one of those other books by this author I somehow managed to utterly miss over the years. Recommended.

I received an ARC from Netgalley and 47North in exchange for an honest review.
Was this review helpful?
For more reviews and bookish posts please visit: http://www.ManOfLaBook.com

Ghosts of Gotham by Craig Schaefer is a novel taking place in present day New York City, involving a search for a missing manuscript by Edgar Allen Poe in a hidden world of magic and magical creatures. Mr. Schaefer has wrote several books which deal with the supernatural and the occult.

Lionel Page, a journalist, is making a name for himself exposing con men, specializing in those promising miracles, through G-d or otherwise, as well as psychics. Lionel is hired by an elderly, and very wealthy, woman to track down a valuable manuscript by Edgar Allen Poe.

Finding himself in New York City, Lionel meets Maddie, another lost soul trying to get away from her past. Together Lionel and Maddie team up to an adventure which changes Lionel’s perspective on the world as he knows it, as well as his own life.

Reading the description for this book it seems to be right up my alley including books about books (who doesn’t love those?), magic, and an interesting premise. With these high hopes, I was glad that Ghosts of Gotham by Craig Schaefer actually did deliver.

While the manuscript is a small part of the story, simply meant to drive the plot forward and an excuse to join up some characters, it was still a worthy idea and well executed. New York City, written in a way which reminds me of the grim noir novels, is a perfect setting for the dark forces at work, as well as the personal trauma the protagonists of this story go through. While I read better books that deal with the magical aspect of their respective worlds, I thought that the characters were written very well and helped tremendously to drive the plot forward and tell the story.

How Lionel Page, a public figure, managed to stay hidden all these years after what has happened to him as a child, becoming a minor macabre celebrity was the biggest plot hole for me, but didn’t really take away much of the enjoyment from the book. The magical / witching aspect was a fun side, but even without it the book would have been a wonderful mystery, even if it just followed Poe’s strange manuscript.

This novel was a lot of fun to read, a tongue-in-cheek madness with fun characters and narrative. The climax is predictable, but did not detract from my enjoyment.
Was this review helpful?
First of all, I have to say I connected with the hero Lionel pretty quickly into the story. You see, it seems he has a fascination with New York that matches my own. That is, we read books and watch TV or movies that are situated in that city, but have never been there. Well, Lionel has been there now and learned that books and movies don’t tell the whole story.

There is plenty going on in the Big Apple and Lionel is quickly subjected to a very dark side of the city. A connection with a mysterious woman – Madison (Lionel thinks possible romcom) puts a highlight on his visit, at least for a while.

The reader, and soon Lionel, will quickly realize that Madison is just as involved as Lionel in the mission – finding and authenticating the Edgar Allan Poe manuscript. I’ve been a fan of the master detective writer for many years, but I was always drawn to his creepier stories. So this book is really right up my reading alley.

Lionel and Madison follow a series of linear clues for what seems a good chunk of the story. They don’t seem to connect back to other clues until much later, but they will connect. Once that started happening, I got to the can’t-put-down-this-ereader stage.

There is a secret New York society (cult), vegetarian dining, a mysterious boss, New York culture and the ultimate supernatural villain who is controlled by something he cannot understand. Oh yes, the goddess Hecate. I would say more about her, but I don’t want to spoil how she makes it into the story. I will mention that the secret identity of Hecate was somewhat obvious to me, but I tend to think in those twisted ways after reading so many twisty books.

I would classify Ghosts of Gotham as paranormal/horror/mystery/romance. Yes, all those. Such a good adventure in the streets of New York! This was my first Craig Schaefer book, but not my last.

Through Netgalley, the publisher provided a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.
Was this review helpful?
4 Stars for the book, maybe 3 stars for the audiobook.

I thought this was an entertaining read. I liked the writing style. I would recommend this to urban fantasy readers.

I wasn't sure of my rating because even though I enjoyed the parts that I read, the parts that I listened to were not good. I didn't like this narrator at all. The voice she used for Maddie made me dislike her character. I finally stopped listening to it and read the rest. Much better.

This was the first book that I have read by this author. I will definitely check out more of his work.
Was this review helpful?
You can find this review and all of my others over at www.readbookrepeat.wordpress.com 

I received a copy of this book from the publisher, 47North, and the author via netgalley in exchange for an honest review. 

Lionel Page is a journalist, and he is extremely good at his job. He chases a story, and he always gets his man (or woman). His speciality is debunking those who claim to be more than what they are, charlatans, people who are tricking others out of their hard earned money. He's debunked psychics, quacks, faith healers, you name it, he's gotten to the bottom of it. So when he receives a phone call from one Ms. Regina Dunkle, about a private job he is of course a bit sceptical. She's had word that there is a first draft edition of an Edgar Allan Poe manuscript, and she wants it, as long as it's real of course. So Lionel sets of to the city of New York for a meeting. After accepting the job, Lionel can't help but wonder if he's bitten off more than even he can chew. Between Russian mobsters, a strange connection to his past, an intriguing beautiful woman named Maddie and the weird stuff that is beginning to happen, can Lionel hold up his end of the bargain? Will he even get out alive? 

So I was pleasantly surprised by this book. I originally requested it because I just LOVE a good mystery, and one that follows a debunking journalist on the tail of a never before seen Poe manuscript. Ugh. Sign. Me. Up. It just SOUNDS amazing. And it really did not disappoint. At first, I found it a little bit slow to get going, I would definitely put this in the category of a slow burn story. Trust me though, if you feel like adding it to your DNF pile, please don't, the story does pick up, it does get faster paced, and it is TOTALLY worth it. 

The character of Lionel was incredibly well written, I really enjoyed his character and not once did I feel like punching him in the throat, so that is a huge bonus. He's a sceptic by nature and I love that we find out WHY he is like this. We are told why he made debunking charlatans his life's work, and by god is it a doozy. For me anyway. I found that the story of Lionel Page was written so flawlessly into the overall story, I could not fault it. Every single strand is tied up in a nice little bow by the end and I absolutely love it. Maddie's character was also well written, her flaws, her reasons, her overall driving force was done brilliantly. I absolutely loved that both of our main characters had flaws, I love a good protagonist with flaws, because let's face it, none of us are perfect, hey? All of the supporting characters had purpose, which I loved, no character was thrown in just for the hell of it, there is a reason behind EVERYONE in this book and Schaefer wrote his characters so well.

The story surprised me so much. I was prepared for a mystery, a dark mystery if I'm totally honest, but what I received in this book was SO much more. Not only do we have a dark mystery in regards to following the trail of the Poe manuscript, it takes a surprising turn into the paranormal/supernatural/fantasy whatever you want to call it. And this isn't just a dabble, ohhhhh no, this is a full on thing. So I was so pleasantly surprised in the way this story unfolded. And once again, everything had a purpose, stuff hasn't just been thrown into this story to fluff it up, EVERYTHING. HAS. A. PURPOSE. Everything is connected some how, and let me tell you, when those connections are actually revealed? Ooooooh boy, it was amazing. I seriously did not pick a single thing up before any of the reveals. It was absolutely amazing. 

The world building was fantastic, yes it's largely based on present day New York, but the actual supernatural elements of the story, the way they were woven into the real life locations and the way they were all connected into their own little sub world was done flawlessly. Not once did I find myself thinking "Pfft, yeah right" everything was believable. Schaefer did a wonderful job of making this story and all of it's characters REAL. 

There's not too much more I can say without beginning to give stuff away, so I'm going to leave it at that. As I said earlier, this is a slow burn story, which I wasn't so prepared for, hence the mark down in stars. It did give me a slight post-book buzz, but it's not that feel good tingle you get when you've just finished a book that sure as hell is now in your top favourites. Overall this was a pleasantly surprising story that has so many twists and turns but keeps it easy to follow. Go on, follow Lionel down the rabbit hole, you know you want to ;)
Was this review helpful?
Ghosts of Gotham was described to me as a “mystery-thriller with supernatural elements”, something like the early Preston & Child books before they got all… well, bad. So I was completely unprepared when the story went sideways, entering a realm of witchcraft, demigods and immortals. What it really should’ve been described as was a novel of conflicting genres. The first third doesn’t mention any kind of supernatural forces, beyond saying that they’re a hoax. When the “supernatural” element of the supernatural-thriller shows up—it’s all at once. No build. Then we have to deal with it as any first sequence magic book introduces us to its magic system. I thought this slowed both the story and lost the mystery while things were explained. Wasn’t particularly smooth, though also not the reason I stopped.

Actually, there were two elements that really killed my interest in this book. 

First, the relationship of Maddie and Lionel. Honestly, I thought the story picked up when Maddie was introduced as a POV. We got to see things from a different perspective, travel the paths to an objective a different route, not to mention the limited interaction between the two was quite entertaining. I felt the story slowed when Maddie and Lionel hooked up, the disconnect between the two shrank, the paths they walked independent of one another withered away, and the book fell completely to the mystery. And it was quite the mystery, with unexpected twists and turns. It was not, however, enough to keep me invested in the plot.

The second was the supernatural itself—or, really, Lionel’s reaction to it. At some point he’s quoted as saying that the realm of magic is “something he’s been searching for his whole life”, which is why he’s made a living defrauding charlatans and fakes. The ease at which he takes to the supernatural world in Ghosts, however, is… out of character. At other points, he says things like that “he knew this time was different” because of all kinds of ridiculous things. The timbre of someone’s voice. The goosebumps he got from thinking about someone. The look in someone’s eyes. The… please don’t get me started on the love scene.

I made it to a little past that, but it really was the last straw. I wanted  to like this, I saw so many good reviews of it, but I just couldn’t. And I don’t waste my time with books I can’t stand, just like how I don’t throw my kindle off the wall. Anymore. It’s old and fragile enough as it is.

Since this was a DNF (I made it to the 70% mark, but hey) I can’t rate it. I’d even hazard to recommend it. As far as I can tell, I’m one of the few people that didn’t enjoy Ghosts of Gotham. 

Reviewed on https://arefugefromlife.wordpress.com/
Was this review helpful?
Ghosts of Gotham is a mystery that’s impossible to put down from the first sentence. I was immediately entranced by this book, from the characters with extremely dark backgrounds to the story that is so multilayered you’ll never see the next big reveal coming. It’s a cross-genre gem, to be sure, living up to the magic of a fantasy novel while executing the requirements of a mystery novel expertly. I love a book that I can’t stop thinking about, and this was it.

The main character, Lionel Page, is deeply fascinating. His life’s mission is to debunk frauds who claim to be influenced by the supernatural. He’s good at his job as we see in the first few pages, and it has led him to be skeptical of anything that seems too good to be true. To add to his intrigue, Page has a dark past filled with haunting secrets that are revealed slowly. We get to see this mystery unfold from his doubting eyes, adding even more wonder when the fantasy turns into reality.

I was so impressed with the level of intrigue. It was written in a way that swept me up into the narrative, setting me on edge as I advanced further into the story. I felt the trepidation of the main character as he started looking over his shoulder. I couldn’t stop trying to figure out what was actually going on behind the scenes with his shady benefactor and the mysterious club that’s truly bonkers. You won’t see any of the plot advances coming, and that’s the best part. 

Overall, Ghosts of Gotham is a brilliantly written novel featuring a protagonist you want to follow. His skepticism lends an air of belief to this fantasy-driven mystery, leading you to imagine the possibilities of walking in on a reality that should be impossible.
Was this review helpful?
I’m probably going to write a long and gushing review and bore you to death, so here is the bottom line: GO AND BUY THIS BOOK! I practically read it in one sitting – well, 80% of it anyway. I stayed up until 1 am even though I knew I was going to hate myself for it, but I HAD to know what happens.

Lionel is a famous reporter in Chicago whose career was built on debunking fake healers, magic users and generally anyone who cheated people out of their money. He always looked for proof of magic existing but all he found were liars and disappointment. As good as he was digging up secrets he was just as good at keeping them. But of course no one can hide from their past and his is about catching up with him. To run it off for a few more days he makes a deal with the mysterious Regina Dunkel who sends him to New York in chase of a very rare first manuscript of one of Poe’s short stories. Which starts as a simple investigation and an easy case turns into a complicated maze of lies and mystery. Lionel’s world turns upside down and it’s time for him to unlearn everything he knew and believed in.

“Ugh.” She rolled her eyes. “Ever wonder why that’s the conversational default? People always want to know your job. Not what you love, what you hate, but what you do to earn money. What does that say about us as a society?” – Maddie

Schaefer has a talent for writing a bit cynical, sarcastic but at the same time charming and relatable male protagonists. I really enjoyed reading about Lionel and the way he dealt with hard pressing situations. His no-nonsense attitude and his stubbornness. I seriously didn’t envy Brianna, his boss at the Chicago News for having to deal with him. Not that you could get mad at him, but the way he jumps into dangerous situations not caring about anything but the story can be such a pain in the ass. And a nightmare to sort insurance out afterwards. All that said, I would love seeing Daniel Faust and Lionel get together at one point. The way we slowly learn about Lionel’s past is really well done and I liked how it was worked into the plot to give the story more layers.

Lionel crosses two women’s path and they set his world upside down. There is cold, ruthless Regina Dunkle, whose role in the grand scheme of things isn’t revealed until the endgame and whoa, I didn’t see that coming. Then there is Maddie. At first I liked her, she was mysterious and obviously had a past and some (in)visible scars, and some interesting tricks. She cries blood for one thing. I was intrigued by her and how she’ll fit into the picture. She was a bad-ass and liked her view on things.

“We are all a story,” she told him. “I’m a character in your story; you’re a character in mine. And we’re both part of the story of New York, along with eight million other people. It’s all fiction, it’s all true, and just like you were taught as a child, there’s a world of possibility on every new page.” – Maddie

Then she started to annoy me because I couldn’t wrap my mind around why she did let Regina treat her the way she did. What could be so bad that she punishes herself this way? Of course we get an answer and if I didn’t see Regina’s true identity coming then I’m sure as hell didn’t expect to learn THAT about Maddie’s past. And Lionel, like a champion took everything in stride. Maaaybe a bit too easily at that, but then he hardly had time to sort things out as everything kept happening. It’s a small miracle he didn’t freak out right there and then.

“His thoughts raced too fast to put the words together, because the words he wanted to say – the truth, mostly – wouldn’t come out. When he’d crashed to a dead stop, they’d crashed along with him, lying in a broken pile at his feet.”

As for the plot, I liked how Schaefer blended Greek mythology with Poe, and witchcraft and ghouls. The concept is a bit of a cliché with a sceptic protagonist with a secret to hide which comes back to bite him in the ass while he discovers the world is not exactly as he imagined, while of course meeting and falling for a gorgeous woman. And honestly, that’s fine. Schaefer’s characters are coming into life and feel very real and complex. You feel like you’re walking right beside Lionel as he discovers New York for the first time. And, as I said, Schaefer mixes things very well. I have to give him extra points for using lesser known figures from Greek mythology!

I had a few issues though, mostly minor things that didn’t make much sense or weren’t really explained: for example, at one point, Lionel asked for help from Brianna, digging up some info about a secret society, and she agreed to set some interns on the matter. But then this gets dropped as Lionel find his own way to them. In the end we didn’t learn much about the society itself apart from their role in the plot. Another thing I didn’t quite puzzled out is how Maddie found Lionel when he got into trouble. She popped up conveniently at the right time to save the day, but how did she know where to find him? Well, okay, this is really just me nitpicking, as probably she did it the same way as Lionel found the place in the first place. Still.

The ending. While some of the revelations caught me off guard, there was one I suspected toward the end. But overall it left me a bit underwhelmed for some reason. Don’t get me wrong, this book is really great and a total page turner, but the last big confrontation left me, well, underwhelmed as I said. The story built up nicely until the scene in the train tunnel, but from then on, it was a bit rushed maybe. Even though the big revelations come right after each other, and you basically have no time to blink. The confrontation scene I mentioned was used more like to show off who is who than a satisfying cathartic end.

That said, I still like Craig Schaefer’s style of writing and the worlds and characters he creates. I had quite a few lines marked as I read and let me tell you, it was damn hard to choose just a few for this review! He really does have a way painting a scene, an emotion to make us feel what he wants us to.

“Strobes washed his vision in flashing white and scarlet, ambulance lights, turning the crowded club into the scene of an accident. Bodies writhed in the glow – dancing, fighting, bounding against each other like pinballs of flesh and bone.”

Considering everything, I think Ghosts of Gotham is my favorite novel from Craig Scheafer so far, and definitely not the last I’ve read. Ghosts of Gotham is fast paced, magical and one that is hard to put down. I don’t think I’m far from the truth if I say that this was only the beginning of a series that would rival his Daniel Faust one. I urge you to give it a chance if you like: Greek mythological figures in a modern setting, protagonists with mysterious and dark past, magic, characters you can enjoy hating and wondering about (Regina), and a mystery which means leaving bodies all over the place. In short: it has everything you might wish for!
Was this review helpful?
Unfortunately due to a family.emergency I didnt manage to read this book in its entirety in time for the review date! However, the first chunk I did manage to get through was a thoroughly enjoyable, engaging read. Lionel is immediately a likeable protagonist with a strong moral compass which brings up an interesting debacle when it turns out he has a secret past. Regina is an intriguing enigma of a woman and I'm sure readers will he instantly curious about her. The mixture of subtle magic and a 'debunker' is always an interesting trope and the addition of an old manuscript adds a nice bookish layer that will surely engage book loving readers.
Was this review helpful?
I loved everything about this! Lionel is the sole survivor of a brutal massacre, but he tries to keep his past hidden. When his past was about to be exposed, an unexpected source offers to help as long as he tracks down something in return. Then lots of murder, mystery, magic, and mayhem ensues. 

Lionel's career revolves around debunking magic. Little did he know magic did exist. While tracking down a manuscript that people are being killed for, Lionel discovers that witches are real. There is more going on than it originally appeared. 

The characters were great! I liked the romance but was happy that it wasn't the focal point of the story. A world with Greek gods having witches at their disposal was fascinating. I'd love to read another story set in this world even if Lionel and Maddie weren't the main characters, but I'd also be thrilled to learn about their next adventure.
Was this review helpful?
I was very curious when I discovered the theme of this novel. An impossible manuscript of Edgar Allan Poe or even the somewhat paranormal side that the author has added? All this could only intrigue me! That’s also why I plunged into the story with pleasure.

Lionel is a journalist whose mission is to find and expose charlatans. But now, his past catches him up, a past he does not want to hear about, or even to remember. To prevent this, he spends a deal with a strange woman who wants him to find and authenticate a manuscript of Edgar Allan Poe. However, this investigation will take him on unsuspected paths that will change his life and that will allow him to meet Maddie.

I thought the ideas and the mix were very interesting and original, and if I was interested in events from a distance, I admit that I had a hard time getting into the story. I also admit that I have trouble explaining why, but perhaps it is due to the somewhat complex style of the author. I do not know.

An interesting novel in many ways, but with which I had a little trouble.
Was this review helpful?
'Ghosts of Gotham' was the first I had read of Craig Schaefer's work and I was deeply intrigued by the synopsis at first, thinking all right this is a lot of different fantasy and gothic themes, how is it going to all fit together. But let me tell you it was a whirlwind of twists and turns and one couldn't help being pulled in to. 

Though at first I was a little cautious at first, the use of so many different themes and symbols creates such a vivid and interactive world, that really does utilise the best of all fantasy-based genres, whilst also utilising the best of a thriller and mystery genre. I really did admire how Schaefer was able to take a world steeped in mystery and place in characters who themselves are steeped in mystery in one way or another. 

The one let down for me though was the slow start as it seemed to take a while before anything really hit a climax.
Was this review helpful?
Gates of Gotham is what I call an adult urban fantasy thriller--a killer (pun intended) combo that author Craig Schaefer blends together in an eye-catching and nonstop story.

The first thing that grabbed my attention was the title. I'm a huge comic book fan, and I honestly thought this would be somehow relating to DC Comics in some way. (Spoiler alert: it's not.) But do not fear; this book is incredible; and when I read that this book also focuses on the supernatural and mythology, I was sold. I jumped into it blind and started by thinking I was reading a thriller focused on a reporter being sent on a strange literary-based assignment to encounter the person who killed his mother almost twenty years ago. By the time supernatural elements were weaved in, and I hit the point where the magical plotline started to harden out, I was sold and absolutely ready to take on anything the author threw my way.

The main premise of the story follows two characters: Lionel Page, stellar investigative reporter of Chicago news sent on a freelance project to find a rare first draft of an Edgar Allan Poe story with special elements never found anywhere else. He's a great protagonist, full of charisma and willfulness--there's virtually nothing that would stop him from discovering a story. Our other main character, Maddie, is elusive and mysterious. She works for the sophisticated Regina Dunkle, doing any jobs she's sent on and taking the hardships with it to run away from her past. Both are fun characters to read on the page, where they feel real and complex and fully developed; it feels like it's been a while since I read a protagonist like Lionel, if I ever have, and it was such a fun time getting to read this from his (third-person) perspective.

Something to know about this book is that it is adult, in every sense of the word. Gore and violence are seen throughout the novel, though not in a tasteless way. There is a romance within the story, and there is an erotic scene about halfway through. I feel that the romance wasn't really forced, and while I don't think it fits the "instalove" trope, it went a bit fast for my taste--though you could argue that's simply how the characters' personalities work. The language is also very colorful, where there's cursing of all sorts, but I personally feel that isn't an indicator of how "adult" it is; just know that if that's a factor for you, it is present!

The only thing I personally didn't enjoy was the ending of this book. I felt that the way the ending was presented, it seemed like a "cheat" in writing. However, the ending completely makes sense within the context of this entire novel, and I love how it was worked into the plotline and world that Schaefer set up. And even so, the ending wasn't as much of a "fake-out" as it could be, and still ended in a really satisfying way--just not as satisfying as it potentially could've been. I just learned that this is not the type of ending for me as a reader, and in any other circumstance I would absolutely drop the rating of a book using this method at least one star. Just something to keep in mind!

Overall, I did not expect to love this book nearly as much as I did. It went by a bit slowly, but that could simply be the fact that I never got to see what page number I was on or how many pages of the book there were. It flowed very naturally, the characters were excellent and well-developed, and the plot led in circles and twisting paths that I had no clue what to expect the entire time. The humor used was also excellent, calling back to the history of a heroic tale and teasing at the common and overdone tropes often used to add tension and drama. I was so enveloped by this world and story that the pages just flew by; once I really settled in, I was settled in for the long haul. My final rating is 4.75 stars out of 5--I personally can't handle as much gore as there was in this story and feel that trigger warnings should be added for discussions of self-harm and all the gore. However, to make matters easier and to truly show just how much I loved this, I rate it here, on NetGalley, and everywhere else I can with a full 5 stars!
Was this review helpful?
I received a copy of this from Netgalley and the publisher in exchange for my open and honest review. 

Would you like a story that has ghosts, witches ghouls - and an almost crim noir plot with an intrepid reporter. Have I got the story for you.  

Ghosts of Gotham is about Lionel Page, referred to as little lion occasionally, a thirty-something investigative journalist. Lionel is given an investigation by a mysterious woman, Regina Dunkle. Is she just a wealthy reclusive heiress with a fascination for all things old or is she more? What follows is a well-written adventure into the world of antiques and the Poe Manuscript. Instead of going the way of some crime books, with a "who done it?" Schaffer has involved all sorts of creatures of myth and lore that are dealt out to you slowly like receiving cards while playing poker. He expertly and slowing brings the "things that go bump in the night" into the narrative that by the end of it you realize had you followed the clues you would have realized they were there all along. 

I haven't read any of Schaffer's books, something I plan on rectifying, but I found this book to be a very well formed story. It could go on to more in a series or be an excellent stand-alone story and a great place to start reading his work. This story was a great introduction to me of Schaffers works, and I am looking forward to diving into his other series. Check it out.
Was this review helpful?