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A Longer Fall

Review

A Longer Fall

A LONGER FALL is the second entry in Charlaine Harris' series about a “gunnie” named Lizbeth Rose. The books are set in a dystopian world where the United States is broken up into various new countries, including Texoma --- a combination of Texas and Oklahoma --- where Lizbeth lives.

The story begins after Lizbeth, a sharpshooter who works to protect people and property, has recovered from her adventure in the opening installment, AN EASY DEATH. She is on a train with a new crew, and this time is a hired gun helping to ensure the safety of a mysterious crate that is on its way to Dixie, the country that used to be the Southern part of the US, and where things have regressed in terms of how women and minorities are treated. When they are close to their destination, there is an explosion and the train derails. Some of the crew are killed outright, while others perish during the gunfight when robbers break into the train. During the aftermath, the crew's boss, Jake, is murdered and the crate is stolen.

"Much of the story is plot-driven, with plenty of dialogue to advance the action.... A LONGER FALL is a fascinating and unique combination of action and fantasy."

Eli Savarov, Lizbeth's employer and lover from the first book, makes an appearance. He, too, is in search of the crate and hires her to help him. Because of the different mores in Dixie, Lizbeth is forced to put aside her jeans and boots and wear "womanly" outfits, which Eli purchases at a local store. He is a Russian magician, or grigori, and one of the few people who knows that Lizbeth's father was also a grigori. They pretend to be married so they can share a room at the local hotel as they try to locate the crate.

The crate was sent to Dixie in hopes that the contents would help black people in the area change their lives and their status as second-class citizens. Although they are not slaves, they are treated poorly, and their lives are forfeited for even minor transgressions. There is a lot of action as Lizbeth and Eli must be aware constantly of their surroundings and those who would kill them to prevent them from succeeding in their goal. Harris also moves the relationship between them forward, and it's apparent that Eli is not going anywhere.

Much of the story is plot-driven, with plenty of dialogue to advance the action. Harris gives Lizbeth a folksy way of talking, and she veers from speaking correctly --- especially around her mother, a school teacher --- to using colloquial language, which can be jarring at times. For example, at one point, Lizbeth says to Eli, "Me and him's going to have a talk real soon." On the next page, as she narrates an exchange with her mother about how Eli is not like her father, who raped her mother, she says, "My father. Whom I'd killed." Not many "regular" people, even college-educated individuals, use "whom" correctly. Readers may accept those kinds of language disconnects as part of the novel’s charm. Others may find them distracting.

All in all, though, A LONGER FALL is a fascinating and unique combination of action and fantasy.

Reviewed by Pamela Kramer on January 17, 2020

A Longer Fall
by Charlaine Harris

  • Publication Date: January 14, 2020
  • Genres: Fantasy, Fiction, Suspense, Thriller
  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Gallery/Saga Press
  • ISBN-10: 1481494953
  • ISBN-13: 9781481494953