Yes, that Charlaine Harris. I’ve only read the first of her famous Sookie Stackhouse series, a contemporary urban fantasy. I much prefer a historical theme, and this one looked like a doozie, so I bit… (no pun intended). This is also the first of a new series, although this one ends as a complete story, and I look forward to continuing.
I would describe this book as an alternate-history western fantasy. The setting is what is now the southwestern U.S. and northern Mexico. Magic is a real thing, the Russian empire has taken over the west coast, and gunslingers like Lizbeth, known as Gunnie Rose, are hired by travelers for protection. The time period is roughly the late 1930s.
The heroine’s tough demeanor gets in the way of liking her sometimes, but most of the characters are interesting and unique. The Russian wizards are fascinating, and the (short-lived) members of Gunnie’s original team had some great back stories.
Eva Kaminsky does a great job with the narration, although her cynical take on Gunnie Rose gets old. As I said, Gunnie isn’t the most likable person, but that won’t keep you from rooting for her.
There’s plenty of violence, a little foul language, and references to sex but nothing graphic.