Awesome Johnstone book as always. He NEVER disappoints and his book keeps you interested from the first page to the last.
This particular series of books featuring Smoke Jensen have fiercly dedicated fans. I"m only a casual reader but I buy these books as gifts for a family friend who is serving a prison sentence. I am rating these based on his reviews. He tells me these are the perfect escape books for people who are either incarcerated or perhaps disabled or elderly. The action is fast-paced and the descriptions of the Western frontier are authentically detailed. He appreciates that WWJ often refers to historic events of interest and will try and tie the story in with those happenings. Reading this series and the Preacher Series by the same author has motivated him to ask for non-fiction books about the Frontier and the Old West.
Having begun reading these books myself I can attest that they are well-wrriten and intelligent but they do not ask the reader to have a master's degree in history. True events are worked into the structure of the stories or mentioned by the characters as part of the action itself. In addition, Johnstone manages to work in real western or cowboy poet poems or quotes such as famed Yukon Poet, Robert W. Service! The stories really take you away, transporting you to that time amd way of life while remaining fast-paced and action-oriented. His politics are a bit conservative/Libertarian but not in a bad way. It's more that Johnstone's protagonists advocate being able to take care of themselves and others, which is fitting with the time periods in which he sets his fiction. He does have a futuristic, post-apocalypse series written , but I have not read that yet. I undertsand politics play a bigger part in those books. So, as you can see, these are good and fun, fast reads but not "dumbed-down" books by any stretch of the imagination. They merely attempt to make the reader feel a part of the story as opposed to an observer. I like that.
There are currently 34 books in this particular series and the first 28 or so were written totally by WWJ. The later books were collaborations with his niece Jo Johnstone. WWJ himself passed away a few years ago in 2004 or 2006 depending on your source, and Jo has taken over most of the continuing series. However, readers didn't even realize the man had died until his publisher 'fessed up so I would assume that the current writer is keeping with the same tried and true formula that fans expect when they buy one of these books. WHen I began sending the later books to my Family Friend; he never noticed any major changes in the quality of the story-telling so Jo Johnstone, niece and Assistant to the original writer must be working from an outline W.W.J. left behind. That would be my guess. In case it matters to others and some have messaged me, I started sending the books as part of a Christian Program. I've learned a lot about what books are popular "inside" as a result. I got the idea of sending these to elderly friends as a result and they loved them just as much! These are fun, entertaining books that manage yo learn 'ya a little somethin' along the way.
Mountain Man Series
Smoke Jensen had just ridden into the middle of the fiercest range war in years. Now he had to either choose sides or return home across the back of a horse. Smoke had never taken kindly to being bullied. So when Jud Vale and his cutthroat gang started pushing him around, he just pushed right back.
Husband read this book in Smoke Jensen series: Smoke is caught in middle of Idaho range war.