Retribution Rails by Erin Bowman
Release date: November 7, 2017
An e-galley was provided by HMH BFYR via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Summary: When Reece Murphy is forcibly dragged into the Rose Riders gang because of a mysterious gold coin in his possession, he vows to find the man who gave him the piece and turn him over to the gang in exchange for freedom. Never does he expect a lead to come from an aspiring female journalist. But when Reece's path crosses with Charlotte Vaughn after a botched train robbery and she mentions a promising rumor about a gunslinger from Prescott, it becomes apparent that she will be his ticket to freedom—or a noose. As the two manipulate each other for their own ends, past secrets are unearthed, reviving a decade-old quest for revenge that may be impossible to settle.
The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly: I never expected Vengeance Road to get a companion novel, but when Retribution Rails was announced, I was excited. RR is set about ten years after the events of VR, and although I remembered little of VR, bits and pieces came back to me throughout RR, by nature of the plot and background details of the story.
Charlotte Vaughn is much different from Kate Thompson; she's a little less rough-and-tumble, although she has gumption and strength all the same. She admires Nellie Bly and considers her pen to be mightier than the sword (or perhaps gun) on several occasions. I really appreciated that she and her mother got along and cared for each other, even though her mom didn't quite support Charlotte's journalist dreams.
Reece had a good voice, but he wasn't very interesting. His narrative didn't feel unique to me, and I think it needed something special to really stand out.
I really looked forward to how Charlotte and Reece would work together, but I was frustrated by how much Kate and Jesse dominated the book. Yes, RR is a companion, but usually the new point-of-view characters, not the old ones, hold center stage. Although Charlotte and Reece narrated, too often they seemed to focus on Kate and Jesse instead of each other or other plot points. I actually kind of liked the ending, though? Erin Bowman nailed that.
Mild swearing. Some violence (including a suicide).
The Verdict: Good, but it could've gone so much further and been so much better.
Will I be adding this book to my library?: It's likely.