Sunday, August 30, 2015

Book Review: Ghost Train to New Orleans by Mur Lafferty


Zoe Norris managed to survive her first job as editor for The Shambling Guide to New York City, a travel guide for Coterie-- vampires, zombies, sprites, gods, and all other manner of supernatural creatures. Despite being a human, she's good at her job and does manage to hold her own with creatures that see her mostly as food. Now, she and her team are heading out of town to start researching their next project: a travel guide for New Orleans.

But things aren't great. Zoe's adventures in New York have revealed her to be a City Talker, a rare sort of human Coterie. Now, she has a secret, and people are out for City Talkers' blood. Her blood.

There's a reason City Talkers are rare. Is Zoe about to become food? All she wants is to write a book!

That's my summary. Here's the one I pulled from

Zoe Norris writes travel guides for the undead. And she’s good at it too — her new-found ability to talk to cities seems to help. After the success of The Shambling Guide to New York City, Zoe and her team are sent to New Orleans to write the sequel.
Work isn’t all that brings Zoe to the Big Easy. The only person who can save her boyfriend from zombism is rumored to live in the city’s swamps, but Zoe’s out of her element in the wilderness. With her supernatural colleagues waiting to see her fail, and rumors of a new threat hunting city talkers, can Zoe stay alive long enough to finish her next book?

For this author's Context and Style sections, see my reviews for The Shambling Guide for New York City and The Afterlife Series)

My Thoughts

I listened to the podcast version of this book, just to put that out there. I liked this book, but it felt... underfinished. I never got a real serious sense of urgency at any point during it, even when things were at their worst for Zoe. I'm wondering if that may be in part because even though Lafferty narrated, and I do like her voice and her writing podcast, I don't really get much emotion out of her when she narrates. I don't recall having this issue when I listened to The Shambling Guide to New York City, but then it has been some time since I listened to it. I do, though, know that this lack of real risk has been an issue with other stories of hers I've read.

Even so, there's a lot of good stuff going on here. I love her interpretation of Coterie and how things work for the undead and supernatural. The locales promised in this series may not be exotic, but it's seeing the world through very different eyes, and I love that.

Would I Recommend This Book? Yeah, give it a go! Personally, I think the reader may be served better actually reading it over listening to the podcast, but that's my opinion only. I give Ghost Train to New Orleans a useless-after-midnight 3 of 5 stars.

For more information on the author, visit

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