Book Review: By Gaslight by Steven Price

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Reviewed by: Aimee
Genre: Fiction
Format: Hardcover
Page Count: 752 pages
Rating: 4/5 stars
In stock: Yes

After entering a giveaway on Goodreads, I won a copy of “By Gaslight” by Steven Price. I had little to no idea what it was about; but YAY for free books being shipped right to your house! When it arrived I was slightly stunned at how massive it was, and excitedly dove right into the first chapter.

The book’s main setting is in 1885 London, with the legendary and brutal detective, William Pinkerton. After his father’s death, William is passed down his father’s detective agency as well as his hell-bent desire to find the notorious ghost of a thief, Edward Shade. William is drawn through a series of events to Adam Foole, a mysterious gentleman and criminal who is haunted by a love affair from ten years earlier, and who seems to be the only link to his obsession with finding Edward Shade. Through an unlikely bond, William Pinkerton and Adam Foole aid each other in their search for Adam’s lost love and William’s fabled con in the underground of Victorian London.

Steven Price was quickly able to draw me into his novel through his descriptive details and suspenseful story telling. He provides us with the view of both William Pinkerton and Adam Foole – jumping to the past and future to give us more detail into their lives. While I found the subplots in this to be at times too detailed, overall it gave me a better understanding of the main characters and where they are coming from.

One of the best parts of “By Gaslight” is the characters themselves. I quickly became attached to the fierce and determined William Pinkerton, as well as to the cunning and softhearted Adam Foole. Although we never actually meet William’s wife, Margaret, she is definitely a strong character. Her wise words of wisdom are always playing in the back of William’s mind, leading him during his search for answers. Adam also has two companions: a giant, strong, and faithful friend, as well as a young, strong-willed, feisty girl – both who have become like family.

At the end of the day, I would definitely recommend this book to anyone who loves strong characters, needs a good arm work out (it’s a big book!), and enjoys a mystery with history. Plus it’s on the Scotiabank Giller Long List for this year so that’s something too.

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