On Sale: January 13, 2015
Published by : Alibi
A crime that rocked a city. A case that stunned a nation. Based on the United States’ first recorded murder trial, Eve Karlin’s spellbinding debut novel re-creates early nineteenth-century New York City, where a love affair ends in a brutal murder and a conspiracy involving Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr erupts in shattering violence.
It is high time to tell the truth. Time for justice. . . . How she was murdered and why she haunts me. It is not only Elma’s story, it’s mine.
On the bustling docks of the Hudson River, Catherine Ring waits with her husband and children for the ship carrying her cousin, Elma Sands. Their Greenwich Street boardinghouse becomes a haven for Elma, who has at last escaped the stifling confines of her small hometown and the shameful circumstances of her birth. But in the summer of 1799, Manhattan remains a teeming cesspool of stagnant swamps and polluted rivers. The city is desperate for clean water as fires wreak devastation and the death toll from yellow fever surges.
Political tensions are rising, too. It’s an election year, and Alexander Hamilton is hungry for power. So is his rival, Aaron Burr, who has announced the formation of the Manhattan Water Company. But their private struggle becomes very public when the body of Elma Sands is found at the bottom of a city well built by Burr’s company.
Resolved to see justice done, Catherine becomes both witness and avenger. She soon finds, however, that the shocking truth behind this trial has nothing to do with guilt or innocence.
Catherine Ring and her husband Elias move their family to New York City in 1799 to open a store and boarding house. Something is missing from Caty's life though, and she soon asks for her cousin Elma to join her and help with the boarding house. Caty and Elma grew up together, almost as sisters. Elma's childhood was not easy as the daughter of an unwed mother and Caty wants to give her a second chance in a new place. One of the boarders that finds their way to the Ring's boarding house is Levi Weeks, brother to Ezra Weeks. Ezra Weeks is working on Manhattan's water problem with Aaron Burr who created to Manhattan Water Company. Levi and Elma begin to spend time together and confide in one another and on the day Elma believes that she is going to be married to Levi, she disappears. Caty will stop at nothing to find out what happened to her cousin. As she digs deeper, Caty learns that Elma's disappearance has less to do with her relationship and more to do with politics.
An interesting story of a real trial that took place at the end of the 18th century in New York City. Using the real transcript from the trial, Eve Karlin re-created the events leading up to and surrounding the death of Guilelma Sands. The story starts a little slow building the setting and the relationships of everyone involved. However, in the details of everyday life for Caty, Elma and their borders, the scene is set for a buildup of tension. The story began to move faster after Elma's disappearance and during the start of the trial. From Caty's point of view, the facts are unraveled as she learns about them. Secrets, lies and dirty politics soon become apparent as Caty relentlessly searches for the truth. The most intriguing aspect for me was the truth to this story and I love that many of the facts from the trial were present in the book.
This book was received for free in return for an honest review.
Eve Karlin was born and raised in New York City. She is a graduate of Colgate University, where she studied literature and creative writing with Frederick Busch. Karlin worked in publishing for more than a decade in marketing, at Random House, Newsweek, and, later, as a foreign book scout with clients in the United Kingdom, Italy, Holland, Brazil, and Japan. She has had several short stories published in The East Hampton Star and has been a contributing writer for Patch.com. She lives in East Hampton, New York, with her husband and their sixteen-year-old triplets. City of Liars and Thieves is her first book.
Author's website: http://www.evekarlin.com