A LONGER FALL – Charlaine Harris

I’m going to review the second book in Charlaine Harris’s Gunnie Rose series right on the heels of the review/reaction for the first book because I devoured them back-to-back – I’d suggest reading that review first if you’re looking for more of an intro.  Just like An Easy Death, the second installment is delicious candy.  I read it in one sitting.

A Longer Fall (SAGA PRESS 2020) takes place just a few months after the close of An Easy Death.  Lizbeth “Gunnie” Rose’s wizard love interest, Eli, has returned to the Holy Russian Empire and she’s joined another crew.  The novel opens with her and her crew en route to Dixie via train.  The cargo this time is a crate that they are to deliver to the town of Sally.  It quickly becomes clear that someone doesn’t want the crate delivered; the train is blown off the tracks.  In the melee, a gun fight breaks out as Lizbeth and her crew protect the cargo.

As Lizbeth tries to catch her breath and figure out who of her crew is dead, who is seriously wounded, and how they’re going to get the crate where it needs to go, Eli shows up.  Unbeknownst to each other, they each had missions involving that crate.  When the crate is stolen, they join forces to find it. 

Lizbeth sticks out in Dixie like a sore thumb.  She’s loud, brash, and could shoot the wings off a fly.  More disturbingly, she’s unmarried and in pants.  In order to complete her job, she agrees to play the part of Eli’s wife, donning dresses and even carrying a pocketbook, which she carries her Colt in.  You can put a dress on a gunnie, but you’re not taking their guns.

Even with Lizbeth in a dress and her and Eli feigning marriage, the two draw unwanted attention; wizards are generally distrusted in Dixie, but they are treated a bit better than the darker skinned members of the community.  The discriminatory aspects of the US appear in full force in this alternate history; the first book touched on racism with Mexicans, Indigenous tribes, and African Americans.  A Longer Fall centers around discrimination and the south’s racist upbringing.  As it is set in “Dixie,” I don’t fancy that surprises anyone.

When the secret of the crate’s contents is finally exposed and the motivations of the characters become clear, we see some character growth in Gunnie.  This growth has made me excited to continue the series.

The fast-paced action combined with the sharp writing and memorable characters continues to be an excellent working formula for Harris. There’s a higher body count, more spice, and some pretty interesting magic in the second installment.  It’s good candy.

Have some fun.  Read this book.

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