by Lyndsay Faye
Great historical novel and mystery rolled up in one. The setting is 1840s New York City, a place with lots of poor immigrants and suffering. Firefighters were volunteers and the police force was just getting established. The main character is one of the first "copper stars" on the new force. He literally runs into a blood-covered young runaway and finds a dead Irish orphan who has lost some internal organs. Are they connected? Is there a madman at work? The story is full of memorable characters and lots of interesting details about the era.