Charlaine Harris (she of the Tru Blood series) knows how to write a breezy entertaining romp, not quite a “can’t put down” page-turner, but a book you are happy to go back into in a world that has interesting magical elements. Her characters can be a bit wooden and two-dimensional, but synonyms for that could be familiar and comforting. Her writing is straightforward and easy to read, with violence and a bit of sexy sprinkled throughout, the type of book that I would qualify as “brain candy.” If you are looking for a heroine to root for and are intrigued by a genre-bending western set in America with magic and gunslinging, then look no further than Gunnie Rose.
This is the second in the series and it gave us more Gunnie goodness. Gunnie has found a new job and a new crew and is on a train protecting a crate, contents unknown. Things get dicey quickly and she is back in the thick of it looking for answers and stuck in Dixie, the backwoods backwater of America. Dixie is a charming place where racial segregation never ended and women don’t carry guns but do wear skirts. She’s a very cranky fish out of water (or in her case, maybe shark out of water, as she is a killer in her own right), but makes the best out of it while trying to complete the mission at hand.
Overall I liked this book and found it a solid second installment of the series, but this one gets three stars from me rather than four (which is what I gave book one); this is the case of the author not sticking the landing. Things went off the rails for me in the final fourth of the book, one of those plot points that makes you shake your head and say, “wait, what?!” and my disbelief wasn’t able to be suspended as far as it needed to for the action in the book. In the end, I enjoyed following the antics of Gunnie and will continue to pick up this series, but I’m not running to grab the third one ASAP from the library.