For my first book spotlight, I selected There’s No Rest for the Wicked by Phoebe Darqueling. In fact, I joined her blog tour and very much enjoyed her guest post on writing historical fiction. That post gave me a greater appreciation for the book too.
Here’s the official blurb:
Other people just think they’re “haunted by the past.” In Vi’s case, it’s true.
Clairvoyant Viola Thorne wants to forget about her days of grifting and running errands for ghosts. The problem? Playing it safe is dull. So when a dead stranger begs for her help, Vi jumps at the chance to dust off her hustling skills. The unlikely companions are soon tangling with bandits, cheating at cards, and loving every minute.
Then she finds out who referred him, and Vi has to face both a past and ex-partner that refuse to stay buried. Though she betrayed Peter, his spirit warns her of the plot that cost him his life. Vi’s guilty conscience won’t let her rest until she solves his murder. Though she’s spent her whole life fighting the pull of the paranormal, it holds the key to atoning for the only deception she’s ever regretted—breaking Peter’s heart.
I’ve read historical romances with a paranormal edge (aka Amanda Quick) so this book piqued my interest. To be clear, this is NOT a romance! However, it does deliver fun historical fiction with a ghostly edge.
Genre aside, it is always the characters who pull me into a story. There’s no shortage of memorable characters in this book. Vi is our main character, and she certainly suits the devil-may-care image I have of a saloon owner in the wild, wild West. She also has a soft heart and quick mind that I appreciated too. Again though, reading Phoebe’s post gave me a greater insight into the historical spirit of Vi. The book is written in 3rd person but is dominated by the flair of Vi’s personality (with its ups and downs).
Vi isn’t the only bright and memorable character though. I do enjoy a cast of fun characters and we get them here. Even better, the cast includes some colorful outlaws and ghosts! There were a few character choices that surprised me…and I’m still not sure if it’s foreshadowing future events or simply very human inconsistencies. The book does tackle some historical issues for these characters periodically, but it’s not a heavy read. It actually flows well between action and character growth.
So, what about that action then? There are card games, horse races, and yes, ghostly confrontations of the friendly and not so friendly variety. The initial plots are resolved even as they keep the action going. There’s much more to the larger plot though. This is the start of a series so expect some unanswered questions. I don’t consider a truly cliffhanger, but it is more of a pause than an end.
The book introduced some new spins (at least for me) on ghosts and I very much enjoyed learning along with Vi. The door is also wide open to share more on this take on the paranormal in future books.
A few editing nitpicks do follow. These are just my personal issues, and I don’t think they are big deal breakers for anyone else – the choices just aren’t my preferences. I favor third person, but I still need to associate the point of view with a character. Vi is the dominant one so I imagine the POV camera moving with her. That only time that isn’t true is a short scene with an angry ghost (no spoilers so you’ll have to read it). However, Vi is referred to as the reluctant medium and grifter. Those words don’t feel like her phrases but someone else’s. I’d prefer her name be used and such tags be used only for the other characters. Again though, that’s just my thing!
There are times the words feel more modern than the setting. It wasn’t anything specific or blunt, just the flow of the dialogue. When there were reminders of the historical setting, I was sometimes jarred back into the setting.
Overall, I enjoyed this story! I think the author has a great start to her series and expect the remaining books will be fun too.
If historical fiction or the paranormal are your thing, I’d suggest you give this one a try!
You can find shorter versions of this 3.5 star review on Amazon and Goodreads.
If you are interested in having your book in the spotlight, just use the Contact page on this site to send me a message. I make no promises, but as an indie author in the writing community, I want to do my part for my fellow writers. Romances with a supernatural/ paranormal edge (no erotica please), contemporary fantasy, and action/ adventure will be picked first. You can check out my blog here on Eve of Eridu for another example of the type of blog reviews I do. If you have graphics as above, I’m happy to use them in my Spotlight.
Thanks and happy reading!