Easy Death
by Harris, Charlaine

"In this alternate history where the US has collapsed during WWII and been split into five different countries, including the southwestern territory of Texoma, Gunnie Lizbeth Rose is hired by two Russian magicians to find Alex Karkarov, and his family, as they need to bring them back to the New Russia-held west coast states for the blood of the Karkarov line is healing to the ruling family. Little do the magicians know that Lizbeth is Karkarov's daughter, and that she killed him"-

Harris has a remarkable talent for world building. In the Sookie Stackhouse series, she turned a tiny town into a vampire colony. Then came the Midnight Crossroad trilogy, with its collection of otherworldly critters. Here, the world she's building is a phantasmagoric U.S., shattered by war and the assassination of FDR. Mexico has retaken Texas, Canada has claimed the Northwest, Russia has California. Through this brutal landscape, with its street killings and public hangings, moves 19-year-old Lizbeth Rose, who discovered early on she was good with guns and so became a "gunnie," a shootist selling her skills to people seeking protection. This time she is hired by a Russian pair searching for a descendant of Rasputin whose blood could save their czar's life. Like Stephen King, Harris can't keep out a tinge of the supernatural, so we watch a spell that causes a victim's blood to leave his body. Harris fans will recognize her matter-of-fact style and deadpan humor-a bar is called Elbows Up-but may be startled by the dark undercurrents and the flashes of violence. In all, this looks like another winning series from a sure-bet author. Copyright 2018 Booklist Reviews.

In the opening novel of Harris' new series, set in a dangerous and largely lawless alternate United States, a young gunslinger for hire hits the trail to track down a descendant of Rasputin. Life isn't easy and death is around every corner in Harris' thrilling new adventure, in which the U.S. is a shadow of its former self. Franklin Roosevelt was assassinated before he could be sworn in, and the country was subsequently fractured: Mexico has reclaimed Texas, Canada has usurped a large swath of the northern states, and the Holy Russian Empire has taken over California. American Indians have also largely reclaimed the land that was stolen from them by the government. Nineteen-year-old Lizbeth Rose is a skilled gunslinger for hire, but a disastrous run-in with bandits has left her the sole survivor of her crew. After making it home, she's approached by Paulina Coopersmith and Ilya "Eli" Savarov, two grigoris (aka wizards), who want her to help them find wizard Oleg Karkarov, who they think is a descendant of Rasputin and whose blood may be able to help their beloved czar. There's a hitch: She tells them he's dead but doesn't mention that she's the one who killed him. So, instead, they all set out in hopes of finding Oleg's brother. Narrator Lizbeth is a pragmatic young woman with an unshakeable work ethic who doesn't let her gender define her and isn't given to emotional outbursts, but there are just enough moments to remind readers that the loss of those she loves, and her desire to keep those she has left safe, is ultimately her driving force. Harris (Sleep Like a Baby, 2017, etc.), well-known for her wildly popular Sookie Stackhouse novels and TV series, populates her gritty, immersive new world with genuinely interesting characters, and chilling moments of horror—of both the human and supernatural kind—punctuate this relentlessly paced road trip. A refreshing and cinematic, weird Western starring a sharp-as-nails, can-do heroine. Ha r ris' many fans will surely follow Gunnie Rose anywhere. Copyright Kirkus 2018 Kirkus/BPI Communications. All rights reserved.

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