Gilded Needles - Michael McDowell (Free Square)

Gilded Needles (Valancourt 20th Century Classics) - Christopher Fowler, Michael McDowell, Mike Mignola





The upper class Stallworths, looking to gain political favour, decide to wage war on the sqalid NY district called The Black Triangle. The Shanks family, known for all manner of criminal activity, get caught in the crosshairs of the family's investigations in the area. When matters turn deadly, Black Lena decides to seek vengeance for the loss of her kin.
Set in the late 1800s, this book is rich in historical detail and you get a complete sense of the era. The authors descriptions of life in the triangle are horrific, the poverty and depravity are all too real and whilst some of the activity there is abhorrent, you can't help but feel empathy for those who have little control over their circumstances.
The characters, whilst well enough drawn for the story, remain somewhat of a mystery overall. The Stallworths are superficial people, except for the charitable Helen, they only care about gaining power to move up in society. Their crusade is nothing to do with improving the area or the lives of those who live there, but showing up the Democrats as being ineffective in government and paving the way for a republican.
The Shanks are even more mysterious and I never felt I got to know this family very well. There was just enough detail there to connect me to the read but character development didn't really happen and in a strange way wasn't really needed for this tale of revenge.
The pacing isn't fast but there's so much detail around the areas and era that it completely hooks you from the first chapter. The first half of the book perfectly sets up the 'revenge' part as you get pulled into the lives of both families. Whilst I love revenge stories and thought the Stallworths had it coming, even I felt sorry for them as their comeuppance was vicious, shocking and total.
Highly recommended.



I'm using this for my free square as the story is set in October.






Read by candlelight or flashlight: Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets - J.K Rowling

Magical Realism:


Genre: Horror:

Black Cat:

Diverse Authors can be Spooky Fun: Poisoning Eros - Wrath James White

Ghost Stories and Haunted Houses:

Young Adult Horror:

Scary Women (Authors):

Reads with (Booklikes) Friends:

Grave or Graveyard: Graveyard Blues - Reina Salt

Genre: Mystery:

Free Square: Gilded Needles - Michael McDowell


Creepy Crawlies:

'Fall' into a good book: Falling Angel - William Hjortsberg

Locked Room Mystery:

It was a dark and stormy night: The Rain Dancers - Greg F. Gifune

Set in New England:

Full Moon:

Vampires vs. Werewolves: Written in Red - Anne Bishop


Classic Horror: The Monkey's Paw - W.W. Jacobs


Set on Halloween: