as by William W. Johnstone
with J.A. Johnstone
Pinnacle, September 2007
Matt Cavanaugh was nine years old when a band of outlaws slaughtered his family…Now Matt is 18, honed by hardship, steeped in survival and carrying the last name of the man who raised him: Smoke Jensen. With Smoke’s wisdom and his own courage, Matt Jensen begins a relentless hunt for the outlaws who murdered his family in cold blood. Soon Matt discovers there’s a lot more to vengeance than hunting down a man – and that in the clash of guns and guile, true justice is waiting just beyond a town called Perdition…
This is an extremely readable, and entertaining, book that moves at a brisk pace, full of exciting action, great characters – both good and bad – and a number of humorous moments, such as the incident involving a ham.
The author begins with the killing of Matt’s family and then covers Matt’s life as he struggles to survive on his own in an orphanage and then the wilderness. It’s in the latter part that he is taken under the wing of Smoke Jensen and a good portion of the book covers this time of Matt’s life. Another of Johnstone’s series characters makes an appearance here too, that of the first mountain man: Preacher.
The final part of the book see Matt Jensen out on his own putting everything he’s learnt into practice as he tracks his family’s killers.
I don’t know who wrote the back blurb but there’s an almighty clanger there, the leader of the gang of outlaws is named as Winston Pugh, yet in the book he’s called Clyde Payson.
Does Matt succeed in his quest for vengeance? I guess that’s something you’ll have to find out for yourself.