Summary from Amazon:
Joseph Wylde isn’t afraid of the past, but he knows some truths are better left unspoken. When his father-in-law’s grave digging awakens more than just ghosts, Joseph invites him into their home hoping a booming metropolis and two curious grand twins will be enough to keep the former marshal out of trouble. Unfortunately, the old man’s past soon follows, unleashing a terrible storm on a city already knee deep in floodwaters. As the dead mysteriously begin to rise the Wyldes must find the truth before an unspeakable evil can spread across the West and beyond.
I received this Advanced Reading Copy through the LibraryThing Early Reviewers program.
Portlandtown in many ways feels like a dark urban fantasy novel dropped in pioneer Oregon. The Wylde family possesses some particular magic abilities, and has become known as a local resource for handling paranormal matters. The vibe here is quite dark, and it works very well with the subject matter: the rising dead, evil magic, and a mysterious bad guy known as the Hanged Man.
I was a bit thrown off by the floating viewpoints of the novel, and at first the infrequent flashbacks in italics threw me off. However, after a few chapters I was able to keep track of who was who. I really enjoyed the Wylde family: Joseph, physically blind but with keen senses; Kate, his smart wife with an ability to walk in shadows; and their twins, who I was worried at first would be devices to cause stupid trouble, but instead were intelligent and powerful in their own ways.
However, there were other characters I wanted to know more. Andre and Naira, in particular, were quite fascinating. Whole books could be written on their adventures. In a way, perhaps, they were too powerful, and too convenient when they meet the Wyldes right at the end. The Hanged Man is an excellent bad guy but in a way seemed too awful--there's no nuance to him; I suspect sequels will explore his mysterious past and how he became such a powerful undead figure with a cursed gun. The gun did feel a bit like Tolkein's ring--compelling users to keep it and shoot it--but it works well in a western setting.
Portland itself is a great setting. I'm not a local, but I'm familiar enough with the city to recognize a lot of genuine history was utilized for the novel. It made the place feel like a character as well, which is something I really enjoyed.
In all, it's a good book. Not extraordinary, but a solid read. I might read onward in the series, depending on where they go and what characters are involved.