Saturday, 9 August 2008

The Vigilante #3

by Jory Sherman
Berkley, December 2007

Lew Zane gunned down the men who murdered his parents, and their families won’t rest until he’s swinging from the end of a rope. But Lew is ready to stop running and become a husband to Carol Smith and a father to her children. Wayne Smith took out a price on his wife’s head in the form of an insurance policy. When he murders Carol and his own children in cold blood, he destroys Lew’s last chance at finding peace in the world. Now, Lew must once again take up the role of vigilante as he heads to Santa Fe to deliver the only brand of justice a man like Wayne Smith will understand…

This is the third book in the Vigilante series and it begins moments after book two ended.

As Lew once more hits the justice trail he finds that Marshal Blackheart is also hunting Wayne Smith and himself. This allows author Jory Sherman to add complications to what could have been a straight forward plot.

Sherman spends a bit of time “fleshing out” his characters by telling their background – which having read the previous two books I found took up too much of the story as much of it was already known to me. Sherman’s writing is easy to read, poetic at times – particularly when describing landscapes or creating atmosphere.

Again Lew finds himself riding alongside an attractive young lady who starts to get interested in him, something Lew tries to discourage. And as Smith draws together a gang for a robbery you just know Blackhawk and Lew will end up fighting alongside each other.

The story has a satisfactory ending, and leaves a plot-line open for another book, one I’m hoping will come soon.

Definitely worth a read.


Chap O'Keefe said...


I haven't read this one so it would be wrong to challenge the appropriateness of the comment about the characters' back stories. What I can say is that the western author finds himself in a dilemma in these days of haphazard, seemingly hit-and-miss book distribution.

How many readers will have access to the previous books? Are the older ones still in print? Do the library buyers scatter titles in continuing series across the far-flung branches they choose for?

What happens is that the writer finds himself repeating the back stories so the newcomer won't be baffled. And yes, I can see that this might irritate the loyal follower who isn't.

I encounter the problem regularly with the Misfit Lil stories (now up to #6)and to a lesser extent with Joshua Dillard, because he is perhaps less complex, falling into a familiar mould as an ex-Pinkerton frontier detective.

I can see no obvious answer. A separate recap at the front of the book, that can be skipped, would be seen as a put-off by marketing people.

Best, Keith

Steve M said...

Most series books do go back over their characters past - and without re-reading the book I felt this one perhaps did in a bit too much - but that is just a personal opinion to my tastes and shouldn't put people off reading the book.

Quite a few of Jory Sherman's books, at the moment, seem to be part of short series, and leave so much in the air that I find it annoying that publishers take so long to put out the next book. Seems to me that western series started in the 00's are lucky to get two published a year, which frustrating for the reader who wants to find out what happens next while it's still fresh in their minds.

Leisure's Cheyenne series had a prolouge in each book outlining the story so far, it was then the readers choice as to whether to read it or not. I thought this worked very well, particularly as there were so many regular characters in that series.

Cheers, Steve

Mister Roy said...

As this was my first reading of this series, I welcomed the backstory parts which from my perspective seemed quite brisk. I enjoyed the way the action was interwoven with poetic descriptions of the nature and landscape of the west, and thought the characters (good, bad and inbetween) were nicely fleshed out. And the visit to Las Vegas was fun!

Will look for Jory Sherman definitely.