August 2, 2023

REVIEW An Easy Death (Gunnie Rose #1) by Charlaine Harris

An Easy Death (Gunnie Rose #1) by Charlaine Harris
Rating: 4 Stars
Release Date: October 2, 2018
Format: Audiobook (Borrowed from Library) + eBook (Kindle Unlimited)
Publisher: Gallery/Saga Press 

My first exposure to Charlaine Harris’ books was her Sookie Stackhouse series, and I’ve since checked out her Midnight Texas and Aurora Teagarden books as well. It was exciting to read the first book in her newest series, Gunnie Rose. An Easy Death did not disappoint. 

The story takes place in a world that’s an alternate history Western movie meets thriller and dystopian novel, with the former United States of America fractured into pieces. The map included in the book was helpful in keeping track of where certain parts of the action were taking place, and which other countries took over the ruins of the United States. For example, the Holy Russian Empire rules over the continent's West Coast (where California and Oregon used to be). Britain has taken over the Northeast, Mexico has territory in the South, and the former Southern states have fractured into their own separate groups of territories. Readers also get a mixed sense of what time period the book is set in - in some ways, they are stuck in the past with Winchesters and Colts being the weapons of choice for those without magic. However, there are also more present and futuristic touches like refrigerators, cars, and other tools utilizing electricity. Despite the setting being a bit haphazard and hard to keep track of at times, I found myself remaining invested in the story. 

In addition to the physical worldbuilding, the characters were another highlight of the book. It was interesting to see various character groups, like the Grigoris from the Holy Russian Empire and the Gunnies who are so common in the South (but relatively unheard of in other places). I enjoyed getting to learn more about the magic system that occupies this world, and I hope to get to learn more about it in future books of the series. Eva Kaminsky did an excellent job bringing the action to life and voicing Gunnie Rose’s perspective throughout the book. Like many of Charlaine Harris’ other heroines, Gunnie is a strong Southern girl at heart, and I think this is one of those cases where the narrator’s performance took the book from good to great. 

Overall, An Easy Death was another excellent book, and Charlaine Harris continues to knock it out of the park with every book she writes. I highly recommend it to readers who enjoy adult novels that mix genres. While the majority of the content would be suitable for young readers, some of the events in the book (see the trigger warnings below), I’m hesitant to recommend it to a wider/younger audience. All in all, I’m excited to continue reading about Gunnie Rose’s adventures in the next book in the series, A Longer Fall, as soon as possible. 

TRIGGER WARNINGS: Rape and attempted rape, gun violence, kidnapping, loss of autonomy (mind control)

About the Book
In the southwestern country now known as Texoma, this is a world where magic is acknowledged but mistrusted. Battered by a run across the border to Mexico, gunslinger Lizbeth Rose takes a job offer from a pair of Russian wizards.

She may be young, but Gunnie Rose has acquired a fearsome reputation and the wizards are at a desperate crossroads, even if they won't admit it. They're searching frantically to locate the only man whose blood they believe can save their tsar's life.

A powerful enemy sends enemies who want their mission to faillThe trio are set upon by a powerful force does not want them to succeed in their mission. Lizbeth Rose is a gunnie who has never failed a client, but her oath will test all of her skills and resolve to get them all out alive.

About the Author

Charlaine Harris has been a published novelist for over thirty-five years. A native of the Mississippi Delta, she grew up in the middle of a cotton field. Charlaine lives in Texas now, and all of her children and grandchildren are within easy driving distance.

Though her early output consisted largely of ghost stories, by the time she hit college (Rhodes, in Memphis) Charlaine was writing poetry and plays. After holding down some low-level jobs, her husband Hal gave her the opportunity to stay home and write. The resulting two stand-alones were published by Houghton Mifflin. After a child-producing sabbatical, Charlaine latched on to the trend of series, and soon had her own traditional mystery books about a Georgia librarian, Aurora Teagarden. Her first Teagarden, Real Murders, garnered an Agatha nomination.

Soon Charlaine was looking for another challenge, and the result was the much darker Lily Bard series. The books, set in Shakespeare, Arkansas, feature a heroine who has survived a terrible attack and is learning to live with its consequences.

When Charlaine began to realize that neither of those series was ever going to set the literary world on fire, she regrouped and decided to write the book she’d always wanted to write. Not a traditional mystery, nor yet pure science fiction or romance, Dead Until Dark broke genre boundaries to appeal to a wide audience of people who simply enjoy a good adventure. Each subsequent book about Sookie Stackhouse, telepathic Louisiana barmaid and friend to vampires, werewolves, and various other odd creatures, was very successful in many languages.

The Harper Connelly books were written concurrently with the Sookie novels.

Following the end of Sookie's recorded adventures, Charlaine wrote the "Midnight, Texas" books, which have become a television series, also. The Aurora Teagarden books have been adapted by Hallmark Movie & Mystery.

Charlaine is a member of many professional organizations, an Episcopalian, and currently the lucky houseparent to two rescue dogs. She lives on a cliff overlooking the Brazos River.

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