What is this about?: Lionel is a journalist who debunks the miraculous, and loves proving that there is nothing paranormal in this world. Then of course, he discovers the paranormal.
What else is this about?: This is Jason Bourne meets Harry Potter on steroids. And decades older.
Irresistibly drawn to mysteries, if only to debunk them, reporter Lionel Page exposes supernatural frauds, swindlers, and charlatans. His latest case is an obsession—at least for an ancient and wealthy heiress: verify the authenticity of a lost Edgar Allan Poe manuscript circulating through New York City’s literary underworld. But the shrewd Regina Dunkle offers more than money. It’s a pact. Fulfill her request, and Lionel’s own notorious buried past, one he’s been running from since he was a child, will remain hidden.
As Lionel’s quest begins, so do the warnings. And where rare books go, murder follows. It’s only when Lionel meets enigmatic stranger Madison Hannah, his personal usher into the city’s secret history, that he realizes he’s being guided by a force more powerful than logic…and that he isn’t just following a story. He is the story.
Now that the true purpose of his mission is revealing itself in the most terrifying ways, it may finally be time for Lionel to believe in the unbelievable.
Ghosts of Gotham is one of those books that makes me want tell everyone they need to read this. Which: You NEED to read this.
Before I gush as to why this book is so sensational, let me give you a run down of the plot.
So Lionel works in a TV station on a show debunking … anything that seems paranormal, miraculous and and the like. He’s a firm believer in reality and not much else. One day, a print journalist comes knocking and reveals that he’s uncovered Lionel’s past: that he’s the only survivor of a cult massacre and well, he’s the boy who lived.
Lionel is afraid; he knows what will happen if his identity is revealed bc it happened to him once before and that’s how he left his original name behind and became Lionel Page. So when a woman comes to him asking him to authenticate a lost Edgar Allen Poe manuscript in exchange for making the story about his past disappear, he agrees.
He goes to New York where he meets Madison, a woman who in turn introduces him to the paranormal world, and is all sorts of badass — the kind of badass that involves magic and being a magical assassin.
Yeah, New York was nothing like he expected.
For reasons, they find themselves trying to find the manuscript, trying to stop someone opening a rift into a different world — not the good kind, the kind that kills everything on their world — and trying to stop the man that killed Lionel’s mother.
Then there’s the bit where Madison is trying to atone for past sins and hide from the goddess that’s after her… and well — it’s a brilliantly wild ride, and SO FRIGGING AWESOME.
Now why else do I like it?
Reading Ghosts of Gotham is like flinging yourself headlong over a cliff and enjoying every minute of it. The pacing is relentless, and when Lionel and Madison do slow down, even that doesn’t actually slow down the narrative.
There’s humour and snark, oh so much snark, and it’s glorious to see both Madison and Lionel let that loose with ghouls and generally people they should not be snarking with but do it anyway.
Madison’s general badassness and at the same time teaching Lionel is utterly engrossing (she is generally speaking). While Lionel’s journalist instincts are also given a time to shine.
There is so much going on here with these two characters — with their pasts and presents — but the author weaves such a gripping story, maintaining a balance with so many elements… and topping it off with some brilliant characterisation that by the end I was exhausted and elated and just wanted to run around waving this book at everyone going: reaaaaad it!
So read it.