Book Review for THE WESTSIDE by W.M. Akers

Harper Voyager
☕ ☕ ☕ + 1/2
My Highly Caffeinated Thought: An eloquently written dark fantasy set in 1920s New York.

THE WESTSIDE is a testament to the writing ability of Akers. Within the pages of this story, the reader will not be able to deny the expressiveness as well as the flow of the author’s words.


What struck me as so rare about this novel was the author’s ability to create a world with both historical accuracy and elements of fantasy all the while making it believable. The reader is on the journey with Gilda as she tries to figure out what exactly is going on. The push an pull between what is fact and what is fiction opens the narrative up to multiple possibilities. In the beginning, there is vail or cloud over the world our characters live in, but as you get further into the story, things become clearer until all is revealed.

I do have to say this. For as much as I loved the premise of the story and the writing style within this book, there were moments in the first half when I got a little confused. However, everything came together within the last quarter. It tied up a lot of the loose ends and addressed many of the questions I had throughout.

All in all, this is a unique tale that pushes the boundaries of what is real. If you can stick with it, I believe you will be pleasantly surprised and happy with the ending of this book. I know I am. 

Reviewer Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from the publisher and TLC Book Tours in exchange for an honest review.

New York is dying, and the one woman who can save it has smaller things on her mind.

A young detective who specializes in “tiny mysteries” finds herself at the center of a massive conspiracy in this beguiling historical fantasy set on Manhattan’s Westside—a peculiar and dangerous neighborhood home to strange magic and stranger residents—that blends the vivid atmosphere of Caleb Carr with the imaginative power of Neil Gaiman.

It’s 1921, and a thirteen-mile fence running the length of Broadway splits the island of Manhattan, separating the prosperous Eastside from the Westside—an overgrown wasteland whose hostility to modern technology gives it the flavor of old New York. Thousands have disappeared here, and the respectable have fled, leaving behind the killers, thieves, poets, painters, drunks, and those too poor or desperate to leave.

It is a hellish landscape, and Gilda Carr proudly calls it home.

Slightly built, but with a will of iron, Gilda follows in the footsteps of her late father, a police detective turned private eye. Unlike that larger-than-life man, Gilda solves tiny mysteries: the impossible puzzles that keep us awake at night; the small riddles that destroy us; the questions that spoil marriages, ruin friendships, and curdle joy. Those tiny cases distract her from her grief, and the one impossible question she knows she can’t answer: “How did my father die?”

Yet on Gilda’s Westside, tiny mysteries end in blood—even the case of a missing white leather glove. Mrs. Copeland, a well-to-do Eastside housewife, hires Gilda to find it before her irascible merchant husband learns it is gone. When Gilda witnesses Mr. Copeland’s murder at a Westside pier, she finds herself sinking into a mire of bootlegging, smuggling, corruption—and an evil too dark to face.

All she wants is to find one dainty ladies’ glove. She doesn’t want to know why this merchant was on the wrong side of town—or why he was murdered in cold blood. But as she begins to see the connection between his murder, her father’s death, and the darkness plaguing the Westside, she faces the hard truth: she must save her city or die with it.

Introducing a truly remarkable female detective, Westside is a mystery steeped in the supernatural and shot through with gunfights, rotgut whiskey, and sizzling Dixieland jazz. Full of dazzling color, delightful twists, and truly thrilling action, it announces the arrival of a wonderful new talent.

Find the book on HarperCollins, Amazon, and Barnes & Noble.

About the Author: W. M. Akers is an award-winning playwright, Narratively editor, and the creator of the bestselling game Deadball: Baseball With Dice. Westside is his debut novel. He lives in Brooklyn, New York. Learn more about his work at

Book Details:

Hardcover: 304 pages
Publisher: Harper Voyager (May 7, 2019)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0062853996
ISBN-13: 978-0062853998 

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