Tuesday, 22 February 2011

Matt Jensen: The Last Mountain Man #6

By William W. Johnstone, with J.A. Johnstone
Pinnacle, February 2011

Twelve years ago, newspaperman John Bryce saved an innocent man from the hangman’s noose. That man was Matt Jensen. In gratitude, Matt gave Bryce four gold nuggets and told him, “If there’s ever anything I can do, just let me know.” Now, that day has come. As editor of the Fullerton Defender, Bryce has become the target of a powerful – and ruthless – English lord. A feared master duelist, his aim is fixed on the Dakota Territories. His weapons are intimidation and violence. And his hired guns are the most sadistic and deadliest prairie rats Matt Jensen has ever known….

Having read the first book in this series I had fully intended to read each new one as it came out, something I failed to do due to having so many books and not enough time…. Reading this, the sixth in the series, I wondered if it’d contain any spoilers for those I have yet to read, and as far as I can tell it doesn’t.

The book is written well, making for a very enjoyable read. There’s plenty going on to keep the reader interested from beginning to end. The author uses the technique of switching from one set of characters to another effectively, giving the reader a number of different threads to follow, that, of course, all come together eventually. Throughout the book the action and tough talk is neatly balanced by many humorous moments, be they through words or incident.

The story is filled with memorable characters, such as Lord Denbigh, hired assassin Meacham, and the small killer Butrum, all these, and others, proving to be challenging adversaries for Matt Jensen.

Matt Jensen doesn’t appear that much in the story’s first two hundred pages or so, instead the author uses these pages to develop his plot and characters, making the reader anticipate the arrival of Jensen and the justice he will surely bring with him, and when he does arrive the action moves up a gear. The final shootout is both tense and surprising, bringing everything to a very satisfying conclusion.

Reading this makes me really wish I had managed to find the time to read the other four books.

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