... just as gritty as its predecessor. Harris’ prose is blunt and uncomplicated, matching Lizbeth’s general sensibility, and lending the novel a welcome readability. This straightforward style meshes well with the first-person narration, implying that the protagonist is relating events in her own words as she remembers them. Each character is filtered through Lizbeth’s biases, resulting in a refreshingly direct story, albeit one in which everyone uses roughly the same cadence and vocabulary and some of the plot twists are foreshadowed into predictability ... The most remarkable aspect of A Longer Fall, though, is the fluency of Harris’ alternate history. Her fractured United States features references to Alexei Romanov’s hemophilia, Russian and Coptic Orthodox theology and the racial dynamics of the Reconstruction-era American South, to name a few.
Harris fans looking for a new Sookie Stackhouse series won’t find it here. Lizbeth is far different—and more capable—than Sookie, and the tone is more bleak. However, fans of thrillers and alternate history will like this heart-pounding western.
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...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.
... requires readers to embrace suspension of disbelief. But the payoff is well worth it as Harris creates new countries and different timelines and challenges. Harris’ imagination is in overdrive as she takes chances with A Longer Fall and her characters ... Harris’ aim is true.
Lizbeth and Eli spend quite a bit of time on old-fashioned sleuthing (and, delightfully, between the sheets), but the action ratchets up exponentially in the surprising last half. Lizbeth is a no-nonsense, dryly funny narrator, and while this installment lacks a bit of the spark of the first book, it’s still a shoot’em-up, rollicking ride ... The indomitable, quick-on-the-draw Lizbeth remains an irresistible heroine, and Harris proves she still has the magic touch.
The second installment in Harris’s Gunnie Rose series does little to expand the alternate world it’s set in, resulting in a disappointingly flat fantastical analog of the Jim Crow South ... 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.