Author: L.A. Chandlar
Publication Year: 2017
My Rating: 3.75/5
The Silver Gun in the first in the Art Deco Mystery series, a historical mystery series set in 1930's New York City. The story follows Lane Sanders, the 23 year old personal assistant to one of the city's most iconic mayors: Fiorello LaGuardia as she suddenly becomes the target of one of the city's most terrifying gangsters, uncovers a devastating revenge plot orchestrated by the city's crime syndicate and discovers a startling secret in her family's past.
This book has been on my TBR since I got it at the Brooklyn Book Fair last year and I don't know what took me so long to pick it because it's so much fun! This book is fast-paced, fun and immersive. The story vividly paints 1930's New York with tons of little details that brings Lane's world to life, like great descriptions of everything from the character's dress to food and pop culture references of the time and place and the inclusion of historical real people and events, like Fiorello LaGuardia, prohibition, and the 1939 World Fair, all of which help ground the story in Depression-era New York. Personally, I'm a bit of a sucker for historical fiction set in this time period so getting to spend some time in Lane's world was an absolute treat.
The story is also a a bit of a love letter to the city with vivid descriptions of the city and city life that will also ring true to the modern day New Yorker even as you are getting a blast to the past (smoking in the subway (!!). I found myself wanting to stroll along the brownstones on the Upper East Side or picnic in Central Park while reading the book and will definitely keep my eyes peeled for all the local establishments and urban details that Chandlar so deftly weaves into the narrative.
The plot itself feels a little tongue-in-cheek in the best of ways. It offers several winks to classic mystery and noir tropes that fans of the genre will recognize and enjoy. It self-consciously plays with these tropes, especially in the side characters: the mysterious rich aunt, the surprisingly capable Mr. Butler, the intrepid reporter, the honorable gangster and the femme fatale all make an appearance. Lane herself is a strong and fearless character who follows in the steps of Nancy Drew and Phryne Fisher. She is just as comfortable outmaneuvering gangsters in the meat packing district as she is dancing the night away in Little Italy in killer heels. If you are looking for a fun, detailed and hold-on-to-your-seat ending make sure to pick this one up!
Check out the book trailer below for a great feel for the book!