ARC REVIEW: Retribution Rails by Erin Bowman


Retribution Rails (Vengeance Road)

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.In this thrilling companion to Vengeance Road, dangerous alliances are formed, old friends meet new enemies, and the West is wilder than ever.





I was absolutely thrilled when the news dropped that Erin Bowman was writing a companion novel to her stunning YA Western, VENGEANCE ROAD. I waited eagerly for the cover reveal (THAT COVER!!) and the first two chapters, and waited even more impatiently for ARCS to appear on Edelweiss. Thankfully, HMH approved me and I dug right in.


Guys, I INHALED Retribution Rails. I read the book in a little under two days. I’m generally a quick reader but I’d been struggling with a reading slump for the past few months and Retribution Rails was like the clearest, purest, sweetest water to my parched reading soul. I was transported to the wild west from page one with Erin’s vivid writing. It was glorious to return to her world of gunslingers and farmsteaders, outlaws and lawmen, proper folk and…not so proper folk!


Retribution Rails picks up approximately ten years after Vengeance Road and though it is in the same world, we are introduced to a completely new cast of characters with their own story to be told.


I adored Reece Murphy’s character. He was so entirely human and flawed. He was constantly at war with himself, weighing each sin committed in the name of the Rose Riders against his inherent goodness. He wore those sins like a yoke, but refused to let them completely stain his soul even though that would have been so much easier.


Charlotte Vaughn on the other hand was insufferable. She was strong-willed and absolutely certain of what constituted wrong and right. Erin did a fabulous job throughout the story with Charlotte’s character arc and though Charlotte was not my favorite character, her cunning, bravery, and loyalty were hard to deny. In a world where women were treated as second class citizens, Charlotte Vaughn was a force!


It was so much fun to revisit places from Vengeance Road and reconnect with familiar characters. Sorry to be vague, but that was my absolute favorite part of Retribution Rails!


Also, can we talk about the writing itself? Erin’s knowledge of cowboy vernacular and old west slang made this book. From her world building to character development, you feel like you are part of the story. There are so many amazing passages and one liners!


I loved this book and can’t encourage you to pick up both Vengeance Road and Retribution Rails enough.  And if you do, saddle up for a rollicking wild ride!

(You’ll thank me!)


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