I picked this book up a while ago and read it last year as I love supporting indie authors. So, yeah, I’m way behind on this review.
No Rest for the Wicked by Phoebe Darqueling is part western, part ghost story, and a few shades of steampunk added in. Viola Thorne is a saloon owner with a secret. She is clairvoyant and the dead just won’t leave her alone. And when one particular ghost comes around, it triggers a series of events that turn Vi’s life upside down.
I appreciated how Darqueling set this story as a western without it being a super In-Your-Face type western. It simply was there, no different from a city is for an urban fantasy. The details felt realistic and well researched, which added to that ambiance without overwhelming it.
I also loved the way Darqueling developed the ghosts. The way they evolved, what they could and could not do, their personalities, and more, felt fresh and different. Darqueling didn’t rely on standard ghost tropes to drive these characters.
As mentioned above, I love the details. Not only were the details that made the western setting feel well done, but things like the various character quirks, the weaving in of Vi’s clairvoyance, and the stuff around what happened to Vi’s former partner. It all felt thought out and purposeful, adding a richness to each of the layers.
One thing I struggled with in this book is that the part where Vi is working with her aunt to learn more about her clairvoyant talent felt rushed and glossed over. I would love to have learned more about this ability, and that part of the story provided the perfect opportunity to do so.
The other thing that stuck out to me in this book is also about Vi’s clairvoyance. She seemed to know an awful lot about her abilities for someone who pretty much ran away from them for years and had no training. A major plot point in the book was going back to the aunt to learn, yet it also left me questioning what it was she needed to still learn.
I think this was a fun read that provided a great twist on ghosts and showcased what a story with a western setting could do without being blatantly w-e-s-t-e-r-n. The shadows of steampunk woven throughout felt like the final touches that added a richness to the story I appreciated. For me, this is a solid 3-star book.