The Wicked City was the latest novel by one of my favorite authors, Beatriz Williams. In this book, there was again a duel narrative. In the present, Ella moved into an apartment building after learning that her husband had been unfaithful. In the roaring twenties, Gin Kelly frequented a speakeasy in the basement of the same building. Aside from the apartment building, I couldn’t figure out why the author felt the need to even have two narratives in this novel. The story would have been more succinct if the focus was solely on Gin and her struggle to live as a single girl in the big and bold city of New York. To be honest, I hated reading Ella’s story because her trying to overcome her husband’s infidelity was depressing and boring. Ella never gained my sympathy and her interactions with her attractive neighbor felt forced and immature.
On the other hand, Gin’s story started off full of excitement. A raid at a speakeasy landed her in jail and then in front of a government agent who wanted her help gathering information on her step-father’s booze operations. I loved the clothing, the manner of speaking, and the overall time frame of Gin’s story. I was disappointed that after the initial speakeasy event, there was no jazz, illegal booze, flappers, or dancing to be seen in this novel! Instead, this turned into a rather dark family drama. Gin’s relationships with her family members and love interests didn’t have enough substance behind them to make them realistic for me and many of the events happened without sufficient reasoning.
Of all the novels by this author, this one felt the most disjointed and rushed. This just didn’t have the same impact on me that some of her other works did.