The Gangster (Magic & Steam #2)

The Gangster (Magic & Steam #2) 
Author: C.S. Poe 
Publisher: Emporium Press 
Release Date: January 12, 2021 
Genre(s): Alternate Universe, Magic, Steampunk
Page Count: 242
Rating: 5 stars out of 5 

Wow.  I loved this book. Steampunk / alternate universe?  Yup. Another case involving magic and destruction and death, plus elemental ammunition and aether bullets?  Of course. 

The plot is top-notch, with a mysterious super villain and the introduction of mechanical men equipped with Gatling guns for hands, and bodies reinforced with pressure tubes, iron and bronze.  The action is densely constructed and unbearably suspenseful. But ... the pulse of the story is the continuance of this undefinable attraction between Special Agent Gillian Hamilton and Gunner the Deadly.

After their adventures in Shallow Grave, Arizona, Gunner has promised to ring in the New Year of 1882 with Gillian in New York. And despite everything going on around them, Gillian and Gunner connect on a deeper level:

"I enjoying making eye contact with a man across a tavern. Getting that swell in your gut, like the ground has fallen out from under you."
I tried to swallow, but my throat was parched - dry like animal bones bleaching in the desert sun. "Like you've been pinned to the wall."
Gunner took one step closer to me. "And you realize you share a tendency."
"Now you've got to put it into words."
Another step. "When it's right, you don't need words."

Gunner sees something in Gillian no one else has - that his power is much greater than he lets on, and that his past is more painful and devastating. "Whatever you've lived through - survived - Gillian Hamilton, I am sorry. [...] But you said you remembered everything I told you in Arizona? Remember this : we aren't so different." Gillian struggles to accept Gunner's love and acceptance while battling shadows of horrific memories and the ending of the book is definitely a "Wait. What???" cliffhanger that will make you count the days until the next book in the Magic & Steam series is available.  5 stars!

I received an ARC from the author, in exchange for an honest review.

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