cover image A Longer Fall

A Longer Fall

Charlaine Harris. Saga, $26.99 (320p) ISBN 978-1-4814-9495-3

The second installment in Harris’s Gunnie Rose series (after An Easy Death) does little to expand the alternate world it’s set in, resulting in a disappointingly flat fantastical analog of the Jim Crow South. Lizbeth Rose has joined a new crew of mercenary guards tasked with protecting a crate as it is moved from Texoma to Sally, a town in Dixie. When their train derails just short of their destination and the cargo disappears, Lizbeth suspects betrayal within the crew. As Lizbeth goes undercover to retrieve the crate, her erstwhile lover, Eli, shows up with a plan to help the black population of Sally rise up against the white family that controls the town. The cultural differences between Lizbeth, a Texoman gunslinger; Eli, a magic-using Russian prince; and the denizens of Sally are hinted at but underexplored. That revolution is stirred up by external forces instead of arising from within the oppressed black population, meanwhile, veers uncomfortably close to white savior narratives. Readers will be left unsatisfied. Agent: Joshua Bilmes, JABberwocky Literary. (Jan.)