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Tag: William w. Johnstone

February 2nd, 2015 – Book- “The Last Mountain Man: Savage Territory’ by W.W. Johnstone

by on Feb.02, 2015, under Books

Savage Territory (Matt Jensen: The Last Mountain Man, #4)Savage Territory by William W. Johnstone

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I’m reading these in order and this is the fourth in the series. After a bumpy third book, this one gets more on track of the first two with similar quality and story telling. This is not as good as the first two, but still, involving story telling better than most all of the rest of the Johnstone Clan written books.

Seems this is the same writer as the other three books, for, again, there is an interest in trains, a Perry Mason-type trial and attention to detail missing in most Johnstone books. The writing is very good. The characters well written, as usual.

This is the first of the four where the outcome is pretty obvious from the start. The writer keeps the reader guessing as to just how the obvious ending could possibly occur with so many characters going in so many different directions. It all works well.

Bottom line: I recommend this book. 8 of 10.

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January 31st, 2015 – Book: ‘Last Mountain Man: Purgatory’ by W.W. Johnstone

by on Jan.31, 2015, under Books

Purgatory (Matt Jensen: The Last Mountain Man, #3)Purgatory by William W. Johnstone

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

As I read the Johnstone Clan’s The Last Mountain Man series from the start to this third in the series it becomes very apparent that the crafter of the tales is a far better storyteller than those handling the other parts of the series I’ve read so far. These three are all complex with interwoven threads that bind to make a solid story.

However, this one is not as well written as the first two. Specifically the first few chapters that are a mish-mosh of trying to retell the two previous books and start telling this one. One reason for this may be that this book came out the same year as the last and the one previous to it came out only months earlier. Chug-a-lugging these books seems to have strained production values.

The bulk of the book is still good, lacking the depth of the first two. The characters are especially well explained. Excellent work is done with a secondary character that is law enforcement that, over the course of the book, realizes what is really going on.

Despite the poorly written first chapters –
Bottom line: I recommend this book 7 of 10

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January 27th, 2015 – Book: ‘Matt Jensen: the Last Mountain Man’ by William Johnstone & pals.

by on Jan.27, 2015, under Books

Matt Jensen: The Last Mountain Man (Matt Jensen: The Last Mountain Man, #1)Matt Jensen: The Last Mountain Man by William W. Johnstone

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

As I have found the first books in a Johnstone Clan series are dynamite and this is one, too. A thoroughly satisfying western with a great underlying story with typical protagonists, lots of action and a very good ending.

Before this I read a book by L’Amour. The difference between the two writers, to me, that L’Amour was a literary writer and the Johnstone Clan tell simpler stories with a knack to craft characters the readers can care about. I’ve found myself not caring much about L’Amour characters. The Johnstone characters I usually want to know more about which pulls me into more novels in the in numerous series.

Bottom line: I recommend this book. 7 of 10.

(side note: I happened to find this book during my travels and started it the same day. that has almost never happened. Hundreds of books writing to be read and I prop open a novel the same day I buy it. This happens to be a first of a series I’ve wanted to start, I hadn’t ready a Johnstone this month and I just finished a book and needed to start one all got me to read this immediately.)

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November 23rd, 2014 – Book: ‘Sixkiller, U.S. Marshall- Day of Rage’ by William W. Johnstone

by on Nov.24, 2014, under Books

Day of Rage (Sixkiller: U.S. Marshal, #2)Day of Rage by William W. Johnstone
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This is a good western tale of John Henry Sixkiller by the Johnstone Clan. It’s a bit more complicated than most Johnstone Clan books with far more developed side characters. This is second in this series and both have far more plot development and far more attention to setting. Overall this story of gold, bad guys and banks is one of the better entries in the entire Johnstone Clan library.

Seems to me the dialogue, though other wise written well for reading was a bit dogged with a lack of authenticity to the times.

Bottom line: I recommend this book.

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July 31st, 2014 – Book: ‘Invasion U.S.A.: Border War’ by William Johnstone.

by on Jul.31, 2014, under Books

Border War (Invasion USA, #2)Border War by William W. Johnstone

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

‘Invasion U.S.A.: Border War” is the second book of, so far, a two book series. This second book is far superior to the first, that is also very good. This one is far better written with a much more involved plot.

Whereas teh first was chock full of gun play and explosions, this one is handled very differently. There’s more setup to explain the gun play and explosions. With the more involved plot there are more involved characters. Something the Johnstone Clan excels at is characterization. That occurs here even better than the first book.

This one does have less tension with the first. i was literally on teh edge of my seat with the first. This one I had to read much more carefully as the plot unfolded in more intricate and well written detail.

Wondered about giving it five stars, but the writing isn’t up to the par of a Faulkner or Slaughter.

Bottom line: i recommend this book.

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July 1st, 2014 – Book: ‘Courage of the Mountain Man’ by William W. Johnstone.

by on Jul.01, 2014, under Books

Courage of the Mountain Man (Mountain Man, #10)Courage of the Mountain Man by William W. Johnstone
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

As usual the writing is good and the characterizations are very good. It’s just that it’s much same plot as so many of the Smoke Jensen series. Town taken over, Smoke comes to save the day. The bad guy is getting really repeated as another who kills puppies and eats children, or something along those lines.

What’s really disappointing is not even a twist in the story. There are a few alteration of characters, but that is all to lead to a conclusion we ‘Mountain Man’ readers know too well. Seems to me one alteration was Smoke in general. Smoke, seems to me, acting very different in this book from how he handles the bad guys and the interaction with other characters. This could be a sign of a different ghost writer.

Another trouble is the length of this one. I think about a third could’ve been cut out and focus more on the sheriff and Smoke and make this a tighter volume. There’s way too much nearly identical narrative and dialog from other books.

The volume before this, ‘Pursuit of the Mountain Man’, was a terrific diversion from this town takeover template and I hope the other volumes I’ve hunted down take more the ‘Pursuit’ trail.

Bottom line: Well, I see I need to have two.
1) If you’ve been reading the ‘Mountain Man’ series – No, don’t read it. This is more of the same.
2) If you haven’t read any or little of the series, Yes, read it.

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February 11th, 2014 – Book – ‘The Brothers O’Brien’ by William W. Johnstone

by on Feb.11, 2014, under Books

The Brothers O'Brien (The Brothers O'Brien, #1)The Brothers O’Brien by William W. Johnstone

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is one Hell of a good book. Not much for using “Page turner”, but page turning I was. Don’t know who in the Johnstone Clan wrote this, but this is the best I’ve read of the twelve or so read so far. The ghost writer really got the idea of early Johnstone books of defining characters and fleshing out story. Seems this might be a writer that had not written any of the other books I’ve read so far. Very good work.

One of the best things of this book is that the plot that develops in the second half of the book is very different from the other Johnstone books. There are some characters that are very different and even a bit of a sorcery angle spilled in. There is a cat in this book that is really well placed. Was never sure just how this book would end, except that this is still another series and that the brothers would survive. That’s something else in this book, as was the case with earlier Johnstone novels, mot everyone survives. There are some who meet their fate in ways very unexpected. Really like the levels as they get built throughout the book.

After a series of mediocre to bad Johnstone books, this charges me on to the dozens of others I’ve collected over the past year.

Bottom line: I recommend this book!

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December 10th, 2013 – Book: ‘A Lone Star Christmas’ by the Johnstone Clan.

by on Dec.10, 2013, under Books

A Lone Star ChristmasA Lone Star Christmas by William W. Johnstone

My rating: 1 of 5 stars

Am I ever surprised that i found a book worse than the last Johnstone book I read a couple weeks ago. This is the 4th out of the last six Johnstone books I’ve disliked, this one being the worse. This is one of the worse I’ve read in a decade. I better check reviews and be sure to dip into a good one of the Johnstone clan or it’s going to be real difficult to continue with so many books I still have ahead of me in the various series.

This book is atrociously written. One thing that writers are taught is to cover the who, what, why and how in a story. However, don’t actually use the words. This book is full of the ‘w’s and ‘how’s. Throughout the book the rhythm changes constantly. The ending is completely ridiculous as suddenly out of the 15 or so Johnstone books I’ve read, a supernatural silliness occurs. Then their are all sorts of historical issues involved.

This book raises questions for me such as how many writers were involved with the project? The book’s writing style swings from heavy romantic to violent gunfights. Neither of those two written the same way. There are many scenes that have other styles. The supernatural scene suddenly finds no one asking “who”, “what, “why”, etc, when then it just might fit. The dialogue of Smoke Jensen also changes throughout the book depending on scenes. Apparently this was a collaborative effort gone real wrong.

Was there a continuity check? The usual setting descriptions are nearly gone. The only character who seemed to stay the same as in other books is Sally Jensen.

The book appears to have been planned with an ending in mind that, based on the 15 books I’ve read, is a real easy , simplistic plot device, that has to have the reader wonder if there are other astral entities floating about in the series not yet revealed. Is Smoke so fast because he’s really an alien from another planet? Will that be a plot in a future Johnstone entry? When a series suddenly breaks out into fantasy, readers have to wonder what the heck is going on.

The underlying Christmas theme is spotty and otherwise dreck.

Something that may not be helping is that just before this book i was reading one of Nancy Atherton’s Dimitry series books that is beautifully written. Coming to this is a major let down.

I almost took a further step down. This morning I thought i would start Rite Mae Brown’s ‘Santa Clawed’. Got three pages in and realized that I was about to read something worse than ‘A Lone Star Christmas’ and, for the first time I can remember, put the book down. I’m pretty sure cats and dogs are not thinking such trite, shallow human thoughts as applied by Brown. Yuck!

I feel pretty cheated by ‘A Lone Star Christmas’. However, I’ve had fun in this past year tracking down the Johnstone series and don’t want to give up on it. The next book I read will be selected carefully and I sure hope for far better results.

Bottom line: Don’t read this book.

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July 10th, 2013: Book – ‘Law of the Mountain Man’ by William W. Johnstone.

by on Jul.10, 2013, under Books

Law of the Mountain ManLaw of the Mountain Man by William W. Johnstone
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

‘Law of the Mountain Man’ follows the trail of the four books in the series before it and tends to rehash most of those plots. Either Johnstone was trying to best the books before ‘Law of…’ or the publisher asked for more of the same. There are some definite differences and it’s still a good book, but the fundamentals are way too similar. For someone reading just this book, the novel is very, very good.

The writing is very good as a whole, but there are some obvious missteps that even a bad editor should have caught. Seems to me that Johnstone found himself in the midst of starting this series along with pumping out other books in different genres and ran into trouble.

A huge gold star goes to Johnstone in having a ton of characters in this book and being able to discern who is who. Something I had trouble with in the book I read before this by Louis L’Amour.

I’ll continue on from here and hope for better in that this series has continued from this 1989 book to now, 2013. I’m getting pessimistic, though.

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June 23rd, 2013 – Book: ‘Revenge of the Mountain Man’ by William W. Johnstone

by on Jun.23, 2013, under Books

Revenge of the Mountain ManRevenge of the Mountain Man by William W. Johnstone

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I figured if I kept reading books made by the Johnstone clan eventually I’d find one with kinks. This one had three that bothered me. One was having the main character disguised in a way that made little sense and did not fit the character already established in the three previous books. Also the overall plot was much like the last two. The story outside the rehash made it all worthwhile. The third is something I really like about the five Johnstone clan books I’ve read so far, but can’t mention here without giving away story secrets.

I otherwise recommend the novel. It’s exciting and fun to read as the other Johnstone clan books I’ve read so far. It moves the story of the Jensen family along and begs the reader to move on to the next in the series, which I will do as soon as I find the next one! 🙂

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June 10th, 2013: Book: ‘Home Invasion’ by William W. Johnstone (et al)

by on Jun.10, 2013, under Books

Home InvasionHome Invasion by William W. Johnstone
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Wow! I liked this book a lot! I like how the characters are written, the plot, the pull of the story, the story, the writing, the plot twists, the ending, etc. I short the book a star due to a few items that bother me.

The book is about a small city in Texas taken over by a very large entity and more that will have to be discovered while reading. The great thing is that none of the takeover takes place right away. The story has number of threads and it takes a bit to tie it together. The reader knows it’s going to tie together and that is one of the things keeping you on the edge of your seat trying to figure how that will happen. This book starts on one level and ends up in a very different place. I love when i can’t figure an ending out and that was pretty impossible here. Another great things is that every character is expendable, which is typical of the Johnstone westerns I’ve read. Love how that worked out here. Made it all so much more realistic.

These days, in our current political atmosphere, the plot seems possibly not far off from possible. Staunch liberals will hate this book. People opened minded will greatly enjoy it. I sure like that conservatives are put in a good light here. I read so much contemporary mess where the conservatives, Republicans, patriotic people are evil. Though this book flips the favoring, it is still less strident than sooooo many authors I’ve read.

My concerns are mostly technical. I’m not a lawyer, but I believe there are some pretty big holes in how the court case early in the book is handled. Though I like the ending, I don’t quite believe everything would go so quick back to normal considering the premise of a fixated populace.

Besides a great story, I’m also amazed at the level this book is considering it’s coming out of the Johnstone mill. The amount of books pumped out a year by Johnstone and company would lead one to believe the books are just rot machine gunned out by ghost writers. This is the second book recently produced by the mill and am staggered at it’s quality. I really expected a loosey-goosey mess of a non-stop battle involving what I figured might be the “Invasion” before reading the book. As I read I discovered how very wrong I was. Have to almost wonder if some of the ghost writers are long-time professionals filling in some economic gaps by producing these.

I highly recommend this book.

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