Second Street Station

Second Street Station (A Mary Handley Mystery)

By Lawrence H. Levy

Rating: 2/5 Stairs

Second Street StationI was excited to read this book. A female detective living in New York City in the late 19th century. What a great premise. The idea is great, but for me, the book fell flat.

It started out pretty promising. Mary is a single woman living in New York City. She ends up being hired by the police as a detective to help solve a high-profile murder. Many historical figures are woven into the narrative, such as Thomas Edison and J.P. Morgan. Along the way, Mary meets a man named Charles who appreciates her for who she is – an independent, capable woman. So far, so good.

I think my biggest problem with this book is Mr. Levy has just too many threads going on here. There’s the murder itself, a mysterious man referred to as Bowler Hat, some higher ups with NYPD who are trying to get the police chief fired (thus the hiring of Mary), the feud between Edison and Tesla, Mary struggling as a woman in a man’s world, conflicts with her family – you get the idea. A little bit here, a little bit there. In some books, all the threads come together to weave the tale, and this works. But in this case, everything just didn’t flow well together to create an overall cohesive story.

Another problem I had was believing the story. We all know fiction is made up, but it’s nice when you read a book and feel like it could be true. Especially in a book like this where the author takes the time to insert real historical figures into the narrative. When I got to the scene where Mary was dodging bullets ricocheting around an empty warehouse (shot by a drunk Tesla), it entered the realm of completely unbelievable.

I liked Mary as a character and the premise of the book. I liked his use of historical figures and it felt like Mr. Levy was trying to make the book historically accurate. But overall it just didn’t work for me.

Thanks to Blogging for Books for providing me a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

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