My rating: 4 of 5 stars
This is one of those I wish I could give half stars to. 3.5 would be about right. Viola "Vi" Thorne can see spirits even if she doesn't want to. One finds her and begs her to help him and his young bridge. Tobias had come west to California (just a few years after the Civil war) to strike it rich. While he did get some gold, he also got dead. He wanted Vi to help retrieve the gold and give it to his wife, Bonnie.
Against her better judgement, Vi does and ends up meshed up with outlaws, loan sharks and something far worse: her own past. Her good friend and partner (they were con men), Peter's ghost has showed up along with news of her husband's death. Peter has given his life to save hers and Vi heads back toward New Orleans to find his killer even as her unwanted supernatural abilities begin to ramp up. She takes Bonnie, now her fast friend, and a young African American boy, George, who she feels responsible for with her on the train back east.
I liked Vi and her friends. I did have some problems with the plot, nothing major, like the poker game against the bad guys in the beginning because it went on a bit long. I really wanted a bigger reaction from Vi to Peter's death. It seems stronger in the blurb than we actually see on page. This was a friend she done dirty (and I was never really sure why) who died protecting her but it doesn't seem to have that big of an affect on her other than for her to go back east to figure out why he was killed. I just wanted something more I guess. Vi coming into her powers was good though.
I knew when I bought this it was a series but I'm the type who wants book one to be mostly wrapped up before we get to book two. This just ends. We don't even get to New Orleans. Oh she runs into Peter's killer but not there. So the second half of the book is the train ride east but we don't even make it to our destination. We take a side trip to Chicago where Vi is originally from and her family, whose help she needs, still lives. I was fine with that but I really wanted more closer. That's a big thing for me.
Being just a few years post Civil War, you can imagine there is going to be some racism directed at Vi's companions, well George. Peter is also African American but he's a ghost... Also if you don't like epithets, you might be annoyed. You're going to see 'the reluctant medium' 'the relapsed grifter' multiple times. I do want to see what happens next however.
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