One of steampunk’s more popular storyline settings is the Western (often falling/crossing over into “weird west”). Phoebe Darqueling’s latest, No Rest for the Wicked, is a fresh interpretation of the classic Western.
In No Rest, the reader meets Viola, a tough as nails saloon owner who has acquired a knack for communicating with the undead, whether she likes it or not. While trying to help a bumbling accountant spirit make amends to his wife so he can crossover, Viola inadvertently tangles with other ghosts wanting her help, and a not so honest past that is quickly catching up with her. As Viola tries to deal with new threats, her old ways of surviving through the grifting trade won’t suffice, and she must learn to hone her spiritual gifts in order to stay alive.
There are plenty of classic Western moments: bar brawls, train rides, and poker games mixed with some great gothic turns. Darqueling’s scenes are well textured and rich with descriptions. Characters’ conversations are crisp with snappy chatter and filled with emotion.
Rarely do I give a book a ten rating, but No Rest for the Wicked kept me interested to the point where I had to finish it. So a ten it is. I highly recommend it to the reader who likes a classic western with a little dark twisted side to it.