Sunday, November 27, 2016

Last Mountain Man #02 - Return of the Mountain Man

William W. Johnstone's 1986 sequel to "The Last Mountain Man" proves to be a little underwhelming considering the raw intensity and power of the first book. Once again the author brings fast-draw protagonist Smoke Jensen into a wild west full of gunpowder and iron fists. "Return of the Mountain Man" is the second installment of the long-running series and marks a turning point for the character. 

After the violent events of the series debut, our hero lays low for a year or two mourning and planning his vengeance. Soon, he straps on the iron and sets out for the town of Bury, Idaho where three outlaws - Potter, Stratton and Richards - are running the town from money stolen from Smoke's father and brother. 

The narrative explores Smoke's fame after events from the debut novel. Due to his notoriety, he changes his name to Buck so he can secretly ease into town. Once there, he settles in as the average citizen while plotting a plan of attack to eliminate the three outlaws. Smoke's mentor, the elderly mountain man Preacher, makes an appearance and readers see a new love life in Smoke's life, a young school teacher named Sally (a mainstay series character). But, this book is about revenge and that's what Johnstone delivers. 

After the "Last Mountain Man's" epic presentation, this successor is fairly simple. Buck hits the town, bangs up the baddies, rides home and settles in with Sally. While traditional, it left me desiring a little more. However, true to Johnstone's style, the book is filled with fast-draw showdowns on the streets of Bury and a cinematic finish. Overall, a decent early entry to a series that can deliver better stories.

Buy a copy of this book HERE

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