Cover Image: Westside Lights

Westside Lights

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Member Reviews

I'm sorry to say that I just really didn't enjoy this book. It was well-written. It just wasn't any fun. To be posted immediately, the text of my review follows: 

So I didn’t realize, when I picked it up, that this book is the 3rd in a series. I haven’t read the first two. Maybe I wouldn’t have felt quite as lost if I had read those, but I didn’t, and here we are.

Much like Gilda with her lover, Cherub, I went through this book not knowing if I loved it or was indifferent to it. It’s been a few weeks since I finished it, and I’m still not sure. The world-building is sparse, the characters are intriguing but jerks, and everyone involved is fueled by self-interest, greed, or spite.

I read this, and I finished it — which is saying something, as I have no tolerance anymore for forcing myself to read things which I don’t want to — but I didn’t enjoy the process. Honestly, I think I only finished it because the main couple is interracial, because those kinds of stories are still rarer than I would like.

I do love the idea of Gilda being a detective of ‘tiny mysteries’. If she hadn’t been accused of doing it, she would never have taken on a case of mass slaughter. She’s much more desirous of investigating the mysterious disappearance of personalized pencils, something that actually happens in the book. I would have loved to have read THAT book, instead of this one with all the terrible, terrible people.

Bottom line? This book is well-written and populated by captivating characters, but I just didn’t have any fun with it.
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This is the first book I’ve read in this intriguing, alternative-Earth, fantastical mystery series set in the Westside of Manhattan during the Jazz Age. That being said, I really didn’t have any issues reading it as a standalone. 

The setting and premise are absolutely great: intriguing, mystical, vibrant, and obviously well-researched and then redeveloped into something wholly different than what Jazz Age New York was really like. The place where fantasy meets reality closest regarding this time and age in Westside Manhattan is socioeconomics, and I think that’s a very salient point, given the author’s overall plot arc and cast of characters. 

Our protagonist, solver-of-tiny-mysteries, Gilda Carr, is fierce and irreverent. She may be our main character, but the whole cast of characters is nothing to frown upon (although, there are a lot of them). The dialogue is sharp, witty, and bright. 

The pacing of this book is a little slower than I like (unless I’m in the mood for something a tad more cozy than a thriller or even suspense mystery), but it can definitely read close to a noir mystery, which isn’t a bad thing at all. 

Where Akers’ writing shines best is when he’s writing about New York itself, whether it be the elements closer to reality or the distinct elements that transform this New York into something from an alternative Earth. 

The book is entirely worth checking out, as are the other two books before it. I love this influx of alternative Earth mysteries and fantasies focused on eras like the Jazz Age. 

Thanks to NetGalley and Harper Voyager for early access to this title and a physical ARC in exchange for a fair and honest review.
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I really genuinely wish that more people would get on board with this great series.

Is it a cozy mystery? I don’t think it is. Is it a cozy fantasy? I don’t think it is that either. Why do I keep calling this cozy in my weird little mind? Maybe it’s because the main character is truly trying to keep herself focused on “tiny mysteries” and yet consistently gets dragged into the largest scale troubles in return. It starts out cozy but ends up madcap and terrifyingly dangerous. This book in particular really feels like it ups the stakes early on and doesn’t really let go until the end. It is a doozy and completely enjoyable. I have to say, actually I’ve probably even said it before, but I am always happy to get an ARC for this series because they are just so consistently enjoyable. Come for the gilded age, jazz hot, crazy magical scene, stay for the (kinda) cozy mystery that might just be the death of our beloved heroine.

Don’t think I don’t know she would hate me for this, but I love Gilda’s spunky takes-no-nonsense attitude. While book one explored her relationship with her father, and the second book delved into the relationship with her mother, this third book forces her to really look more closely at herself and how she puts herself out there in the world. I love the progressive growth she has made across these novels. I have no idea if there are any plans for more books in this series, but I certainly hope so. I really want to keep reading about her.
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This book was such a train wreck, i was so confused, the plot was boring,  i fell asleep several times and have no idea what was going on,  dead birds,  dead people,  a girl searching for her best friend who was a seagull... this was definitely not the book for me
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In this third journey to the Westside, Gilda Carr pursues more tiny mysteries, and a huge mystery of what is in her heart. Jazz Age alternate history comes alive with Akers' corrupt police, gangs, illegal liquor, and darkness, but the series is not bleak - it's one of the most delightfully pro-feminist takes on power, decieit, lies, and strength I've ever read. 

Highly recommend if you like
Private Investigators
Reluctant romance
Class struggles
Jazz Age
Alternate realities
Determined ladies 

I need more in this series!
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Thank you to NetGalley for providing me with an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Despite how she bills herself, there is never anything tiny about Gilda Carr and her abilities. I love these Westside stories. Everything from the world that Akers has created, to the characters, to the plots... it's all a delight. 

Gilda starts this third installment in the series trying to take a break from tiny mysteries and enjoying a respite aboard a stolen yacht with her beau Cherub Stevens. With the waterfront lit up by a new invention, a hard partying crowd has surged from the Eastside to the West and Gilda and Cherub enjoy the new debauchery along with them.
Until Cherub and several others are murdered on the yacht and Gilda is driven not only to clear her name, but get revenge on whoever has stolen Cherub from her. Traveling across the Westside from club to club, following the clues Gilda finds a lot more than revenge for her fallen love....

Another excellent novel in the series!
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I am a fan of this series and found this book to be the most captivating.  The author has a knack for creating absorbing characters.  

We are given a more complex view of the relationship between Gilda and Cherub and the difficulties of being an interracial couple.

The plot was entertaining but fell flat at the end.  The resolution of the main mystery was a let down.

I received a free ARC.  I am leaving my honest review.
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